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Chilliwack ready to fine landlords if tenants grow marijuana


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CHILLIWACK (CBC) - The British Columbia city of Chilliwack is poised to bring in a bylaw that would fine landlords $10,000 if they don't notice that tenants have set up marijuana growing operations.
Landlords say the bylaw would unfairly penalize them for being duped by unscrupulous renters.

Municipal officials in Chilliwack, located about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver, say local police are shutting down an average of two growing operations every week. Still, they don't seem to be putting a dent in the $7-billion industry.

The new bylaw, which councillors will vote on Monday night, requires landlords to check on tenants regularly to make sure the property is not being used illegally.

"The lawyers are saying it will absolutely hold up," said councillor Sharon Gaetz. "If they don't pay the fine, it goes on their property taxes, and if the taxes aren't paid, the house is sold."

The head of the Lower Mainland Municipal Association, Terry Smith, said it's not fair to target landlords who already pay a steep price for renting to marijuana growers.

"If you have a grow op in one of your rented homes, it may cost you $30,000 or $40,000 to return that to some sort of habitable condition," he pointed out.

A $10,000 fine on top of that cost is too heavy a burden for landlords, Smith said.

By contrast, most marijuana growers are fined just $1,200 when they're caught -- and police say many consider that just a cost of doing business, not a deterrent.

canada news
Monday, Aug 16, 2004
© the CBC, 2003
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