Pitt Meadows has amended its bylaws regarding secondary suites as the city deals with a large number of rental properties.
Pitt Meadows will now allow owners to use property management companies to oversee rental of both the main resident and secondary suites in homes.
The change comes after Pitt Meadows initially recognized secondary suites and began issuing licences in 2011.
That bylaw required the owner of the property be the primary tenant of the residence.
Now the city will allow more than one rental suite in a property without the primary tenant residing in the home, and for a private company to manage them, providing it’s licensed to do business in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, or Port Coquitlam.
The company must also handle all complaints by residents and neighbours.
But the city has a long way to go if it hopes to get property owners to start registering rental suites.
Kim Grout, director of operations and development services, said only 47 of an estimated 900 properties in Pitt Meadows have registered their suite properties with the city.
Coun. Bruce Bell said he supports the idea of having a bylaw in place that will provide property owners more flexibility when it comes to managing their rental properties.
He said anything that holds property owners accountable is a step in the right direction.
“It would be good to have a property management company you can get a hold of as opposed to a truant landlord,” he said, noting that many homes already circumvent the current bylaws in place.
“If you have the right rules in place for a management company, we can have this so they are taken to task, and that they are available so that they can follow the rules we have here in place in Pitt Meadows,” said Bell.
Coun. Janis Elkerton was the lone voice of dissent, saying she doesn’t believe a amending the bylaw put in place in 2011 is going to prompt property owners to start registering their secondary suites. She believes council should focus on the bylaw put in place in April of this year that escalates fines on an annual basis for those found in violation.
“In the past, we were always concerned about property managers that wouldn’t be on site, that there would be lower input put into keeping these homes up to date, she said.
“I think we have a new bylaw put in place that’s about fining residents that don’t properly declare their suites, and I think that might be adequate, and it might be a good time to see if that route works first, before we put inane allowances for property managers that could actually be detrimental to the neighbourhood.”
Now, owners who fail to register have their water, sewer, and garbage fees double and continue to increase by five per cent every year for a maximum of five years.
The city will also only collect one garbage can from homes with a secondary suite, unless a valid garbage tag is purchased from the city.