ACORN Canada, an advocacy group for lower-income families, is applauding a new City of Surrey bylaw intended to help protect the health and safety of renters.
Surrey council endorsed on May 28 a proposed standards-of-maintenance bylaw addressing the provision of basic amenities like water, heat, and light in rental properties.
The bylaw outlines the role of property owners, expectations around utilities and services, and penalties for any violations.
“We see this as progress for renters in Surrey,” Susan Collard, a Surrey spokesperson for ACORN Canada, said in a statement.
“Every week we hear of new cases of tenants lacking basic amenities in their apartments and the new bylaw will give them somewhere to go to get repairs,” Collard said.
The City of Surrey also plans to call on the B.C. government to provide funding to local governments for the work related to such standards-of-maintenance bylaws.
Surrey officials argue local governments are taking on responsibility for rental-property standards because of inadequate funding to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch.
“Unfortunately, we have renters who are living in unhealthy and unsafe housing conditions because landlords are not properly maintaining their buildings, and that is completely unacceptable,” Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said in a statement.
“The current dispute resolution process is not effective, so we want to work with the Residential Tenancy Branch to better protect and maintain affordable housing in our city,” Watts said.