A Surrey homeowner with multiple secondary suites in his home has lost a court bid to have two convictions and resulting fines quashed.
Sudarshan Rana, who owned a home near 134 Street and 80 Avenue, was charged in 2011 with having suites in excess of the number permitted, and with obstructing bylaw officers from inspecting.
He was convicted on both counts in 2013, fined a total of $1,300 and ordered to remove any excess secondary suites. (Surrey only allows one suite per home.)
Rana subsequently appealed the conviction and sentence.
On appeal, he argued enforcement was only justified by the city when there was a public complaint, which he said there was not. He also contended the city was obliged to work with him to decommission his suites and that resorting to prosecution was “improper.”
As for obstructing bylaw officers, Rana said he attempted to have an inspection re-scheduled, to no avail, so when an inspector showed up, entry was refused.
During the trial in 2013, the court heard the city received a complaint in spring 2011 about multiple suites in the Newton-area home.
A bylaw officer visited Rana at the home three months later, delivering a letter saying the suites were to be decommissioned and an inspection would be conducted in September 2011. By September, the suites had not been removed and the city proceeded with charges.
Rana did not dispute there were three secondary suites on the property or contest that he refused to let the officers inspect the home.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice James Williams dismissed Rana’s appeal.
“In my view, given the fact that there were warnings and further inspections before the prosecution was initiated, the appellant’s complaint rings somewhat hollow,” he wrote in his June 1 decision.
“In my view, none of the grounds for appeal which have been advanced by the appellant are meritorious. I find no basis to set aside the findings of the judicial justice of the peace; the justice’s verdict can be reasonably supported on the evidence.”