Demolitions ordered after illegal construction crackdown
Officials are successfully shutting down projects without permits.
- Surrey’s Illegal Construction Enforcement Team was formed in 2022.
- It’s mission is to enforce its bylaws and target residential construction that is done without permits, inspections, or compliance with safety standards.
- Six demolitions were ordered after a recent enforcement blitz.
The Whole Story:
Surrey’s Illegal Construction Enforcement Team has been cracking down on unlawful construction work.
The city recently launched successful legal actions against six property owners who have illegally constructed buildings without permits, and in many cases have occupied the structures without permits and violated the BC Building Code. In all court cases, the building structures were ordered demolished.
“Building without proper permits is not only illegal but extremely reckless as it endangers the builders, occupants and neighbours,” said Mayor Brenda Locke. “The Illegal Construction Enforcement Team was put into place in 2022 to ensure construction projects comply with BC building safety codes and zoning regulations. The City of Surrey will continue to enforce its bylaws to the full extent whenever necessary. Property owners who engage in illegal construction should be aware that they may face legal action, demolition costs, and insurance problems.”
Here are the six cases:
Case 6 – Two property owners built an extension and laneway house that violated lot coverage, density, and setback restrictions. The structures were constructed without any building permits or requisite inspections and despite a stop work notice posted by the City. A court decision was made on Oct. 24, 2023 ordering the structures be demolished within 60 days of the city issuing a permit for demolition.
Case 5 – The property owners built an addition to their home and added a secondary suite without permits. The court order prohibited occupancy or use of the addition and secondary suite. The owners subsequently breached the court order and found them in contempt and ordered the owners to pay a fine totalling $6,000, plus a contingent fine of $13,000, and pay the City’s legal costs. A new hearing was set and heard on October 18, 2023 and the owners were ordered to demolish the home additions built without permits.
Case 4 – The property owners built an addition to their existing home without a permit. The property owner agreed to a consent order that required them to demolish the addition by December 16, 2022.
Case 3 – A property owner-built structures without permits, dumped fill on their land, and damaged trees. The court ordered them to vacate all the structures, demolish them within 90 days, remove the fill, and plant 16 new trees. The court order was issued on June 24, 2022.
Case 2 – A property owner added a second storey to their existing home without a permit and occupied the addition. The court ordered them to stop the occupancy, apply for a demolition permit within 30 days, and demolish the addition within 60 days after getting the permit. The court decision was made on July 18, 2023.
Case 1 – A number of property owners built a detached building on their land without permits and allowed someone to live in the building. The court ordered them to stop the occupancy, apply for a demolition permit within 15 days, and demolish the structures within 60 days after getting the permit. The court decision was made on July 11, 2023.
In 2022, the Illegal Construction Enforcement Team was put into place to enforce its bylaws and target residential construction that is done without permits, inspections, or compliance with safety standards. Beyond seeking compliance in court, the City of Surrey has also increased fines for illegal building activities.