SURREY IN FOCUS: Program certifies rental buildings

Crime free multi-housing designed to keep illegal activities off properties.

Crime Free Multi-Housing is a crime-prevention program offered though the Surrey RCMP.

Crime Free Multi-Housing (CFMH), a program offered though the Surrey RCMP, is a way for rental building managers to take positive steps to effectively manage their complexes, improve the health of the community and create an environment where crime cannot flourish, according to Tanya Wong, coordinator from the Surrey RCMP.

Wong said the city has 81 certified rental properties, which is more than 6,900 units.

“We probably only have 10 or 12 properties that are not certified in Surrey, so most have joined our program.”

Wong added that the majority of building managers find out about the program by word of mouth.

“Most importantly, it’s the results that the building managers have seen. So then they tell other building managers in their area and it snowballs from there.”

There is a one-day training session for managers which is offered about three times a year, said Ulrkye Weissgerber, the tenant programs and services supervisor with the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation.

“There’s certain minimum and standard requirements that landlords need to meet. They’re quite reasonable,” Weissgerber said.

Some of the requirements are secondary locks on windows and patios and landscaping. Trees cannot be taller than six feet.

At the end of the training, a “safety social” is held by the building managers as a way to get to know their tenants and neighbours.

“If you don’t know who your neighbours are, then you don’t know who the strangers are,” Weissgerber said.

During the meeting, managers and residents can address safety and security issues and share improvement ideas.

The meetings are held regularly to allow managers an opportunity best practices in crime prevention.

Building managers are taught the benefits of applicant screening, tips to strengthen rental agreements, the warning signs of drug activity, what to do if there is illegal activities and crisis solution and the eviction process.

On top of all that, building managers learn about an incident checklist, which includes recording date, time and location, suspect vehicle identification and suspect description.

When building managers complete the CFMH program, the rental property can display the CFMH sign and use its logo in its rental advertising.

Weissgerber said criminals are generally lazy.

“If they look at a property that’s got the crime-free signage that looks like it’s well-kept, they’re going to have an idea that ‘okay, this is an educated population and if I really want to get away with something, maybe I can go down the street and find a place that isn’t well-kept and is an easier mark’.”

There are reviews and annual re-certification to ensure that the certified rental property continues to meet the program’s requirements.

 

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