Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

B.C. couple ordered to demolish house extension, laneway rental

Owners said demolition of the unpermited structures is wasteful and drastic in light of the housing crisis in B.C.
A judge rejected the couple’s arguments for keeping the structures.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered a couple to demolish their Surrey house extension and laneway structure he said they constructed without regard to laws or regulations.

The City of Surrey petitioned the court for their demolition and removal, in the 8000-block of 148th Street.

The city said the structures’ square footage greatly exceeded bylaw allowances, that setbacks were not observed and structures were constructed without any building permits or required inspections.

“I accept that the public interest favours the demolition of the structures as opposed to condoning unlawful and potentially unsafe building and rental practices,” Justice John Gibb-Carsley said in his Oct. 24 decision.

Owners Jagmohan Singh Sidhu and Gagandeep Kaur Sidhu admitted that the structures offended city bylaws both in the manner in which they were constructed and their size and location on the property.

However, they argued that given the housing crisis in the Lower Mainland, ordering demolition and removal is wasteful and too drastic a remedy.

They asked for the opportunity to retroactively legalize the infractions so that the structures can continue to be rented to tenants.

Gibb-Carsley rejected the married couple’s arguments.

He said they “built the structures in flagrant violation of the city’s bylaws in where the structures are located; by grossly exceeding the square footage allowed on the property; and by not obtaining any permits or inspections during construction.”

He said because Sidhu is a realtor and had obtained permits for initial building construction, he should have been aware of the bylaws.

The city first confirmed the presence of unpermitted construction on Nov. 15, 2021. City officials went to the property several times and letters were sent. Stop work notices were subsequently posted.

Gibb-Carsley said the couple had rented out portions of the buildings but had not obtained occupancy permits for the rentals.

“The respondents’ actions are flagrant and deliberate,” Gibb-Carsley in ordering the couple to obtain the appropriate permits for the demolition work before carrying it out.