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Court issues highest fine ever relating to a minimum property standards offense in Saint John

14-Apr-2011

A property owner has been issued a total fine of $11,120 – the highest fine ever for a violation relating to the City’s Minimum Property Standards By‐law.

The fines were issued to 1135963 Alberta Ltd, a company that owns several buildings in the City, as a result of a charge of non compliance of a court order. The company failed to do court‐ordered repair work to a building in the City’s Old North End. This is the second time the company has been fined for non-compliance of a court order for this building. The first fine was $2,500. The company has until the end of April to repair and secure the building’s interior and exterior.

The same company has also been issued a fine of $3,160 in a separate ruling, as a result of failing to make repairs to a building in the City’s South End.

Over the past several years, in a coordinated effort, Common Council, the City’s Department of Buildings and Inspections Services, the Saint John Fire Department and the City Solicitor’s Office have undertaken measures to ensure building standards promote the safety, health and well‐being of those who live in and use properties; that is, everyone who lives in the City.

These measures include making changes to the Minimum Property Standards By‐law to incorporate enhanced enforcement provisions, using Fire Marshal’s Orders to incite action on the part of vacant building owners in order to help with the City’s stock of vacant and dilapidated buildings and providing more resources for enforcement.

In 2010, 33 formal Notices to Comply were issued for Minimum Property Standards By‐law violations. A total of $12,500 in fines was issued as a result of non‐compliance with a Notice and/or associated Court Order. In 2011 a total of $17,280.00 (including the April 9 fines) has been issued to date. Six cases are pending. The City receives a portion of the recovered fine amounts.

Since January 31, 2011, by issuing Fire Marshal’s orders, two buildings have been demolished by their owners and two cases are pending. This coordination of effort by the Fire Department and BI has seen a number of dangerous buildings repaired or demolished over the past two years.

In January, Common Council also approved additional resources to enhance to enforcement of the Unsightly Premises and Dangerous Buildings By‐law. This will allow the City to target a greater number of buildings meeting this condition.

The City is also working with the Department of Local Government to make changes to the Municipalities Act that would further enable municipalities to address conditions associated with vacant and unoccupied buildings.