Owners of abandoned houses like this fire-damaged one in Langley Township would have 30 days to make them inhabitable again or face demolition under new rules proposed by Township Councillor Charlie Fox.

Get tough with owners of derelict homes, says Councillor Fox

He is proposing stiff fines if abandoned homes are not torn down within 30 days.

It’s time to get tough with owners of uninhabitable houses who let them become magnets for squatters, vandals and illegal activity, Langley Township Councillor Charlie Fox said Monday.

Fox is proposing new rules that would fine property owners $500 a day starting 30 days after a house has been declared uninhabitable by police, fire or Township inspectors.

If a property owner fails to act, Fox said the Township should exercise its existing legal authority to designate a derelict property a nuisance and have it demolished at the expense of the owner.

Fox introduced the proposed new regulations at the evening council meeting, saying they are aimed at developers who buy up properties to build new projects and leave the existing houses to fall apart.

There is one example not far from his own home, Fox said.

“Over a year ago, there was a fire in a house and the house is still standing [unrepaired],” Fox said.

Other councillors were reluctant to go as far as Fox wanted.

“I just find this a little heavy-duty,” Councillor Bob Long said, suggesting Township staff should see what other municipalities are doing.

Councillor Kim Richter agreed, saying she would like to know if the policy was legally feasible.

Councillor Bev Dornan wondered whether the 30-day time limit would be too short to be enforceable.

Long and Richter convinced a majority of council to delay a decision on the Fox proposal until staff could investigate further.

Fox and Councillor Grant Ward voted against the delay.

Councillor Steve Ferguson was not present in council chambers for the vote.

Neighbouring Surrey mounted a campaign against derelict houses six years ago, giving owners the choice of repairing them or having them demolished.

During one three-month period in the summer of 2007, the city applied to tear down 40 such homes.

A Surrey city staff report pointed the finger at some developers, saying the  number of derelict houses in the city had “risen significantly with the increased development of properties [that] are purchased, then sit vacant while the prospective developer proceeds through planning, rezoning and development permit processes.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley Field Naturalists offer free zoom presentations

Group, focused on conservation and education, meet on the third Thursday of each month

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Langley woman’s Halloween spirit

Tanya Reid posted a pair of videos offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

Federated Co-op says members should not be concerned after private Mountain Equipment sale

Jack Nicholson, Otter Co-op’s CEO, will always remain in Aldergrove to serve the community

Accident at 27nd Street and 28th Avenue in Aldergrove reignites crosswalk safety concerns

Township made motion to install stoplight at the problem intersection last March

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read