Yesterday I received a letter from the City of Surrey essentially saying fess up or pay up if I'm hiding a rental suite. If I had a secondary suite in my house (which I do not Mr. By-law Officer), I am required to fill out the form they attached to the letter and advise the City of Surrey of its existence.
To give you a little history, Surrey Council changed the zoning in 2010 to allow secondary suites in single family homes in Surrey. There was a little time lag, but following that approval in 2011, a secondary suite fee of $495 per year was introduced. Given the failure to disclose a secondary suite will soon be subject to a $1,000 fine, you essentially pay triple if your unregistered suite is sleuthed out by a By-law Officer. The math is you pay $495 if you disclose your rental ... but you pay the fine of $1,000, plus the $495 fee (grand total of $1,495) if you do not.
The City has two "suite" detectives (i.e., By-law Officers) specifically assigned to outing secondary suites. One of the most common ways they have of learning of a secondary suite is by neighbours reporting it. Neighbours often complain anonymously given noise, pets, and the most common trigger of all --- parking.
There are more that 24,000 registered suites in Surrey right now. If you have a secondary suite and have not reported it, I recommend that you take heed of their "grace" period and report it by January 31, 2014 or pay the piper. The $1,000 is per rental suite, not per home. So, if your house has two rental suites, the non-disclosure fee could be $2,000.
Here's the "fess up" form provided by the City of Surrey.