BC ACORN

BC ACORN started organizing in 2005, starting with our first chapter, Surrey. Since then we have built up six more chapters across the lower mainland (New Westminster, Burnaby, Tri-Cities, Whalley, Guilford, and Newton). Some of our biggest victories include: Canada’s first living wage policy in New Westminster; the introduction of a healthy homes bylaw in Surrey; regulation of payday lending; and many local victories against slumlords!

Despite losing our office in an explosion in 2013, BC ACORN is stronger than ever and continuing the fight for healthy homes, disability rights, and closing the digital divide!

Want to be part of the fight? Join ACORN!

 

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Tenants in New Westminster Stand up to Slum Landlords

ACORN Canada members in BC were at it again, going after problem landlords and holding them accountable as part of our larger Healthy Homes Campaign.  This time in New Westminster, ACORN members had city inspectors out to inspect their building and at the same time held an action to demand their landlord, the Sahota family, clean up their act.  

You may remember from previous BC updates that this isn’t the first time a building owned by the Sahota family has been in the news.  Less than two months ago, a member in Surrey won a precedent setting fina against the family for failing to maintain a building in Surrey.   Moving forward ACORN will be laying out reforms to the Residential Tenancy Act, and reforms to how the act is enforced, as well as turning up the heat on the Sahota family and other slum landlords who think having families live in hellacious conditions is acceptable. Stay tuned for this as our members have no plans of stopping until everyone has a healthy home!

CTV: New claims of neglect made against infamous landlords

BC ACORN rallies for Healthy Homes in New Westminister.A notorious B.C. family of landlords is facing new allegations of neglect from tenants in New Westminster who say they went without running water for two weeks.

Residents of the building at 1210 Cameron Street say they've also dealt with mouldy floors, leaky ceilings and rodents, but owners Pal and Gurdyal Sahota aren't doing enough to fix it.

"There's mice in just about every unit. They're in the walls; you can hear them. In the basement, there's rats, there's various bugs, silverfish, cockroaches, bedbugs," renter John Dykema told reporters at a tenant rally Thursday.

The Province: Sahota landlords fix up New Westminster apartments prior to media tour

John Dykema takes part in a rally in New Westminster on April 26, 2012. Residents are upset with the condition of their building, which owned and run by Sahota-family-owned Waterfront Developments. Problems were fixed in the building the night before a scheduled media tour   Repairs come hours before media tour of probems

In a surprising move, renters at a New Westminster apartment block owned by the Sahota clan got quick and timely repairs.

The ink was barely dry on a press release announcing a Thursday rally and tour of the run-down Waterfront Developments property on Cameron Street when workers descended and fixed the most obvious of the building’s shortcomings.

“They were working here until midnight patching holes in the walls, dabbing paint around, and returning our water,” said renter John Dykema, who joined other ACORN members with a rousing call and response — “Who are we? ACORN! What do we want? Healthy homes! When do we want them? Now!”

The Record: New Westminster tenants protest living conditions

Tenants of a rental building in New Westminster are rallying against appalling living conditions.

ACORN Canada organized a rally at 1210 Cameron St. on Thursday to highlight tenants' living conditions, which include mold, mice and a foul stench caused by a sewage leak.

"My cat has caught some mice - about three or four," said tenant Mary Cappell. "It's very stressful."

According to ACORN Canada, the apartment's owner was recently fined $115,000 under the Residential Tenancy Act for failing to fix leaks at a Surrey building.

B.C.’s worst landlord leaves New Westminster tenants without running water

Tenants at 1210 Cameron st. in New Westminster held a rally today to protest poor building maintenance by a notorious slum landlord who was fined only last month for poor maintenance of another building.

For over a week tenants have been without running water, had to deal with rampant mold, mice, and have suffered through a foul sewage leak.  

Despite the historic reprimand and $115,000 fine levied by the Residential Tenancy Office a month ago, the Sahota family remains unwilling to bring their properties up to the legal code.  

“These guys (the Sahotas) are a joke; the guy they hired to fix the water is a carpenter!” – Tenant Dan Watson

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." 

The Province: Vancouver city councillor wants slumlords to face criminal charges as well as fines

New provincial fines for delinquent landlords are great, says Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, but for best results charge them criminally.

Jang was pleased with a $115,000 fine imposed Tuesday on notorious landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota, a slumlord millionaire who has been the target over the years of a number of Vancouver city crackdowns.

Sahota, who owns tens of millions of dollars worth of properties, was singled out for the first administrative penalty handed out by the provincial Residential Tenancy Branch.

“From our perspective, it’s about time,” said Jang. “I’m glad to see that the Residential Tenancy Branch is stepping forward. But we used to just impose a fine – that didn’t work.”

Jang said the city has found it’s most persuasive to get a court order enforcing the city’s standards of maintenance bylaw.

“If they fail to comply, it’s essentially contempt of court,” said Jang. “It’s a criminal offence – it’s not just a fine. 

The Province: Surrey landlord slapped with $115,000 penalty

Rotting walls, a collapsed ceiling and decayed deck railings at a Surrey residential building have earned a notorious B.C. land-lord the first administrative penalty under the Residential Tenancy Act.

Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company, Waterford Developments, have been handed a $115,000 penalty for deliberately failing to abide by a May 2011 agreement to address a chronically unattended leaking roof that affected up to six units at Kwantlen Park Manor in North Surrey.

The penalty includes a maximum one-time fine of $5,000, plus $500 for each of the 220 days of non-compliance since a June 2011 deadline.

Sue Collard, a one-time building manager at Kwantlen Park, still lives in the dilapidated three-storey building and said Tuesday's penalty "was warranted." 

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