Langley Advance: Protesters call for tenancy protection

BC ACORN members rally in Langley for Healthy Homes.It's ironic that Sue Collard now lives in Langley, in the riding of local MLA and housing minister Rich Coleman, the activist says.

Collard was in front of Coleman's constituency office at the Langley Events Centre on Friday along with other members of ACORN Canada to rally for better tenant protection.

Collard became a high-profile face in the fight for tenants rights starting in 2010 after the former Kwantlen Park Manor resident petitioned the residential tenancy branch about disrepair in her home.

Landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota was slapped with a $115,000 fine for failing to maintain the water damaged apartment building in Surrey earlier this year.

The fine was waived in October, providing Sahota completes all repairs and helped resettle his tenants.

"My building is still in disrepair," Collard said on Friday.

Along with a group of other tenants and activists, she visited Coleman's office to deliver a letter and ask for changes.

They asked for government action against bad landlords, unhealthy conditions in apartments, and for action to preserve the province's rental housing stock.

One of the most efficient ways to improve things would be changes to the Residential Tenancy Act, Collard said. Members of the group talked to Coleman and will send him letters as a follow up about their concerns.

Outside, members of the group pledged that they will watch to see if there is any action from the government over the next few weeks.

NDP provincial candidate Shane Dyson spoke to the group, saying there needs to be more education for tenants about their rights.

He also said that groups like ACORN Canada will have to hold politicians of any party accountable on housing.

"It's all about respect and decency," Dyson said.