Below is a statement from Sue Collard, ACORN Canada leader & plaintiff in landmark case that has led to $115,000 fine against Surrey Slumlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota.
Friends, yesterday in a precedent setting decision, my landlord - one of the most notorious slumlords in BC - was fined $115,000 for failing to comply with orders of the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) to properly maintain and repair my building.
This is the first time the RTB has ever exercised its power to lay a fine against any landlord.
This victory was only possible because of the support and hard work of ACORN Canada members across the Lower Mainland, the heroic efforts of Scott Bernstein from PIVOT Legal Society, and the incredible hard work and dedication of advocate Kirsty MacKenzie from First United Church.
This will be bittersweet if we don't win the change that BC tenants need to have properly maintained and healthy homes. BC ACORN is calling on the Province to:
- Adopt provincial minimum housing standards
- Increase the number of Residential Tenancy Branch offices across the Province
- Increase funding for legal aid to help tenants with their tenancy and other issues
- Amend the Residential Tenancy Act to remove loopholes that allow slumlords to skirt the law.
BC ACORN is also calling on the City of Surrey to expedite the development and implementation of a Standards of Maintenance bylaw - so no other Surrey tenant goes through what I did.
Over the past decade housing conditions have deteriorated as rents have continued to rise - and the Provincial Government bears a significant responsibility for failing to crack down on landlords who fail to maintain and repair their properties as they are legally required to do.