Need to know if a Surrey home was identified as a drug operation?

Are you trying to decide if you should accept a listing for a Surrey property that you suspect was a drug operation (e. g. marijuana grow-op or drug lab)? Or are you trying to find out if a Surrey property your buyer is interested in was identified as a drug operation? There are at least two ways to research the property’s history.

In 2006, we published a story in NewsReal which explained that the city flags the tax certificate of any identified drug labs or grow-ops permanently with notations referring to bylaw infractions and any outstanding charges related to those infractions. You can order a tax certificate from Surrey’s Finance department at city hall or order it through BC Online.

The Board’s Government Relations committee recently learned that there is another way to find out if a property has been identified as a drug operation.

Call the City of Surrey’s Bylaw Complaint Line (604-591-4370) to ask if the address has ever had the Controlled Substance Property Bylaw applied to it. In particular, you can find out:

  • Has this address ever had the controlled substance bylaw applied? (yes/no)
  • If Yes, has this property been professionally remediated? (yes/no)
  • Will the city provide the company name of the remediation contractor?

You can get this information over the phone free of charge. However, the city recommends that you request a “Comfort Letter” from the Planning and Development department to ensure that you also have written documentation on the city’s response. This request could take five to 15 days to be processed.

Here are examples of the fees the city charges for a Comfort Letter related to a former drug operation:

  • Grow-op: $175
  • Residential (including No Final Occupany): $175
  • Multi-Residential/Commercial/Industrial (base): $250 | Per Unit (additional): $140
  • Environmental: $190

Note: Since not all drug labs and grow-ops have been identified by the city, the lack of information on a property’s past drug production history available from the city is not a guarantee that the property has never been used as a drug lab or grow-op.