Surrey Now: First to be fined, landlord must pay $115k

A Surrey landlord has been fined $115,000 under the Residential Tenancy Act for failing to repair rental property at Whalley's 31-unit Kwantlen Park Manor apartment building, despite repeated orders from the Residential Tenancy Branch to do so.

Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company, Waterford Developments, has until May 15 to pay the fine.

It's the first-ever administrative penalty to be levied under the act.

Besides a flat fine of $5,000, the landlord was also fined $500 each day for each of the 220 days he failed to comply with the branch's order to repair tenant Sue Collard's leaky ceiling and do other repairs to the building.

Collard used to be a manager at Kwantlen Park Manor, where she has lived for the past seven years in a second-storey suite. She's also the chairwoman of Surrey City Centre's chapter of ACORN, a group that fights for tenants' rights. 

"Sue's case started when she was pushing her landlord to make repairs, he got fed up with it and tried to evict her," said lawyer Scott Bernstein, of Pivot Legal Society.

Bernstein called the fine a "landmark decision" and a "good step forward." 

 

"It brings more attention," he said, to the issue of tenants' rights. "It's probably the most important outcome out of this."

Collard said her landlord served her with four eviction notices.

Collard has been fighting to have her repairs done for two years now.

"Is this going to be the end of the story?" she said of the fine.

"I sincerely doubt it. "I don't figure my suite will be repaired at any point in time."

She said the fine, though welcome, "doesn't do justice to the experience of the tenants living in the building."