Pubdate: Fri, 16 Dec 2005
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Emmy Pang


The Editor,

Re: "Weapons cache confronts cops," the News, Dec. 9.

Please do not infer realtor = landlord = grow-op.

Having just read another article about yet another realtor who owns a
property used for a grow-op, I feel compelled to write back in defence.

The number of recent articles with similar content puts realtors in a
negative but undeserved light. First of all, it is a skewed view
because realtors probably have more than their fair share of rental
properties. Realtors are also not likely to trek out to their various
properties to check out their tenants, as opposed to someone who owns
one rental property. That does not make a realtor a bad landlord,
simply that there are various factors and biases involved.

Being a realtor is simply an occupation, it is not related to the
underworld of crime. Why not say the owner was of some race or some

According to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords must first
provide 24 hours written notice, then come out again to inspect the
property. Twenty-four hours is enough time for certain people to clean
up and clean out, leaving a landlord with wasted time and effort. Even
if any landlords, whether realtor or not, do their due diligence when
looking for tenants, what can we do if provided with false

What avenues do we have for checking people? The RTA provides privacy
protection to tenants, but provides landlords with nothing.

Why is the government punishing owners? If I rented a car from a
dealership, and I trashed the car, who would be responsible? Should I
just leave the car at the side of the road and have the dealer/owner
pay for the repairs while I walk off scot free? Do you ask dealerships
to check up on lessees every month to make sure they are driving the
car properly? It hardly seems fair to blame the landlord/owner,
especially when the Residential Tenancy Act leans heavily on the side
of the tenant.

Not only that, the government recently passed a new grow-op bylaw this
summer, but hardly anyone at the city seems to know what it's about
nor are they willing to provide much help in the matter. Since I
recently had to deal with obtaining a re-occupancy permit for a
property, I would like to share some of the fun memories of my
experience. First, playing phone tag with certain people, somewhat
understandable as they are often on site and not in the office.

Then, using the automated system that gives an error message in the
end after painstakingly choosing through several options. Upon finally
reaching a human voice, to be told to call this person, who told me to
call that person, and so on and so forth until about the 10th number I
got a little annoyed.

Meanwhile, each person kept passing me onto another, all of them
insisting that what I was asking was not in their jurisdiction, funny
that it eventually turned in a circle with people passing me onto the
same people I started with.

Finally, I researched on my own through alternate avenues and found
other cities and municipalities with similar bylaws and with somewhat
more experienced and helpful people. They provided me with a couple of
numbers, some leading to dead ends, and some leading to scientists who
felt disdain at my futile search for answers.

Do not get me wrong, of course everything was eventually taken care
of, so there were people who knew and people who helped. Most of the
people I dealt with face to face were in fact very helpful, very nice,
and well educated in their particular field, but it was just getting
my foot in the first door that I found difficult.

But no matter, it is done. I chalked it up to experience. In future, I
wish that if the government is going to pass a bylaw, they should
provide some sort of support or educate their staff before rushing to
bring in cash flow from victimized landlords and homeowners.

Emmy Pang

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