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Property Use

Surrey residential neighbourhood.

Property use issues impact living conditions for residents, businesses, and visitors to our city. Unsightly properties, noise, and graffiti can impact neighbourhoods and the general enjoyment of our community.

The City of Surrey passes property bylaws on safety, maintenance, beautification, liveability and sustainability to establish standards for all property owners to follow. They pertain to the following:

By-law Enforcement responds to complaints from the public and other government agencies, and identifies property use issues but does not respond to civil issues. Information regarding the complainant is kept confidential, unless the complaint ends up in the court system.

For anything listed below, you can make a complaint online using our Report a Problem application or call 604-591-4370 to make a complaint.

 

Business licensing

A business is defined as a commercial or industrial undertaking of any kind, or an individual or team who provides professional, personal, or other services for profit. The City of Surrey regulates businesses by issuing business licenses.

How City of Surrey Enforces Business Bylaws

In addition to the regulations of the Business License By-law, by-law enforcement officers ensure all businesses operating in Surrey follow the Zoning By-law, and if needed, other bylaws such as the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers By-law and the Scrap Metal Dealer Regulation By-law.

Officers may work with other departments, the Surrey RCMP, and other government agencies to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation.

 

Graffiti

Graffiti is defined as one or more letters, initials, symbols, marks, slogans, designs or drawings permanently made on a sidewalk, wall, building, fence, sign or any other structure or surface. Graffiti does not include marks made accidentally or placed by the property owner.

How the City of Surrey Enforces Graffiti Bylaws

Once a complaint is received, a by-law enforcement officer

  • Inspects the property,
  • Explains the by-law to the property owner or occupant, as well as what must be done to remove the graffiti,
  • Sets a deadline for the removal of the graffiti.

If the graffiti has not been removed by the deadline, the City may have the graffiti removed at the property owner’s expense. The cost of the clean-up will form a part of the property taxes of the property if the owner does not pay.

Currently, there is a program available to assist elderly and disabled residents. Paint vouchers are available from By-law Enforcement to reduce costs on paint for residents removing graffiti.

Create beautiful spaces with your community members and the City's Beautification initiatives. Reach out to get help with your community beautification project - we'd love to work with you to promote Surrey activity, spirit and pride. Get in touch with our City beautification planner at beautification@surrey.ca to create an opportunity to beautify your neighbourhood.

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Noise

Noise is defined by the City of Surrey's Noise Control By-law, 1982, No. 7044 as any sound in or on a public or private place which disturbs or tends to disturb the rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of any person or persons in the neighbourhood or vicinity. Such sounds can include loud music, animal noises (including barking dogs), street vendors or alarms.

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, a by-law enforcement officer:

  • Conducts an inspection
  • Works with the property owner to reduce the noise levels to an acceptable standard or eliminate the noise entirely

Construction noise

Construction Noise is defined as constructing, erecting, reconstructing, altering, repairing or demolishing any building, structure or thing or excavating or filling in land which disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity.

Construction Noise is permitted between 7:00am and 10:00pm, Monday through Saturday, including statutory holidays. No construction for profit or gain is permitted on Sunday. This means property owners can do construction work on Sunday on their own property, but cannot hire any trades to do construction work on a Sunday.

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, a by-law enforcement officer:

  • Conducts an inspection
  • Works with the property owner to gain compliance with the regulated hours.

 

Overweight vehicles on private property

An overweight vehicle is defined as any vehicle with a licensed gross vehicle weight exceeding 5000 kilograms.

Overweight vehicles are not permitted on any residential property in Surrey.

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, a by-law enforcement officer:

  • Conducts an inspection
  • Explains the by-law to the property owner or occupant if an overweight vehicle(s) is parked on the property
  • Informs the property owner what must be done to bring the property into compliance by removal of the overweight vehicle(s).

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Secondary suites

A Secondary Suite is defined as a second dwelling unit (self-contained living quarters including cooking equipment and a bathroom), located within the structure of an owner-occupied single family dwelling.

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, an inspection is conducted by one of the City's by-law enforcement officers. If it is determined that that a secondary suite (or more than one secondary suite) exists where a secondary suite it not permitted, the by-law is explained to the property owner, as well as what must be done to bring the property into compliance. Follow up inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with the by-law.

The by-law does not address who the occupant of a secondary suite is or whether the suite is occupied at all. This means that whether or not the secondary suite is occupied by family, rented out or vacant makes no difference in determining if a secondary suite exists. The existence of the cooking equipment and bathroom are the only considerations as to whether or not there is a secondary suite.

Currently, the City of Surrey uses a cost recovery program for utilities associated with secondary suites. For properties containing one secondary suite, additional water, sewer and garbage rates are applied. This does not authorize the secondary suite as a permitted use.

 

Smoking

Smoking means to inhale, exhale, burn or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah pipe or other lighted smoking equipment that burns tobacco or another substance.

The City of Surrey prohibits smoking in many places, such as:

  • In buildings where the public is invited (for example shopping centres, office building, etc.)
  • In a customer service area (for example restaurants or pubs, including patios, balconies or yards, whether or not they are enclosed)
  • In a taxi
  • On a bus
  • At a bus shelter
  • Within 7.5 metres near any point of opening into any building (door, windows, air intake, etc.)

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, an inspection is conducted by a by-law enforcement officer. If it is determined that smoking is occurring where it is not allowed, the by-law is explained to the property owner or proprietor and/or persons smoking, as well as what must be done to bring the property into compliance. If further complaints are received, municipal tickets may be issued or court proceedings may occur.

No smoking signs may be obtained from a printing company using the No Smoking Sign document.

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Unsightly properties

Properties within the City of Surrey are required to be maintained at an acceptable level. The Surrey Property Maintenance and Unsightly Premises By-law, 2007, No. 16393 sets acceptable levels of maintenance and defines what is considered unsightly. Accumulation of junk, discarded materials and garbage, dead landscaping, uncontrolled growth of landscaping, and deterioration of fences, buildings or other structures are examples of items contained within the definition of unsightly in the by-law.

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, an inspection is conducted by a by-law enforcement officer. If it is determined that the property falls within the definition of an unsightly property, the by-law is explained to the property owner, as well as what must be done to clean up the property. A deadline for the clean-up is set by the by-law enforcement officer after the property owner has been notified.

If sufficient clean-up of the property has not taken place after the deadline has lapsed, the City may have the property cleaned up at the expense of the property owner. If the owner does not pay, the cost of the clean-up will be added to the property owner's property taxes.

 

Wrecked vehicles

A wrecked vehicle is defined as:

  • A vehicle that is wrecked or disabled so that it cannot be operated by its own power
  • Are the parts of a wrecked or disabled vehicle
  • Appears to be wrecked, that may be able to operate by its own power, but is not displaying a current license for operation on a highway (street).

Enforcement procedures:

Once a complaint is received, an inspection is conducted by one of the City's by-law enforcement officers. If it is determined that the property contains wrecked vehicles, the by-law and what must be done to bring the property into compliance, either by removal of the vehicle(s) and/or properly storing them, is explained to the property owner or occupant. A deadline for the removal or proper storage of the wrecked vehicle(s) is set by the by-law enforcement officer after the property owner has been notified.

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