Surrey tenants want millionaire landlord to turn on the heat

Bob Dhillon owns an island in Belize and his Calgary-based company, Mainstreet Equity Corp. (TSX: MEQ), hit the $1 billion valuation mark in 2012, but ...

Bob Dhillon owns an island in Belize and his Calgary-based company, Mainstreet Equity Corp. (TSX: MEQ), hit the $1 billion valuation mark in 2012, but his company seems to be having trouble keeping the heat on at some of its rental properties in Surrey, say frustrated tenants.

About three dozen tenants from Mainstreet’s Pacific Park Apartments converged on the company’s Surrey office Saturday to hand-deliver demands to upper management to fix some of the problems plaguing the apartment complex.

They found the office closed, but vowed to continue to press for a meeting with Dhillon himself.

“We’d like to see the $44 million profits that he gets each year put back into this building,” Douglas Swan, a tenant at Pacific Park, told Business in Vancouver. “It’s bare minimum maintenance that we see in any of his buildings.”

Swan said tenants in his building went without heat from December 5 to 20. The landlord did try to fix the building’s boilers, Swan said, but even now the heat is spotty in the building. He added there are also mould problems in the building.

According to a spokesman for Acorn Canada – an advocacy group for low-income Canadians – problems with heat have been an ongoing problem with some of Mainstreet’s rental properties in Surrey.

“They own 20% of the rental stock in Surrey and every year at least some building goes without heat for at least a week or two in the winter,” the Acorn spokesman, who did not want to be named, told Business in Vancouver.

He added that tenants can seek rent reductions through the Residential Tenancy Branch when they go without heat, but it doesn’t fix the problem, which is why three dozen Pacific Park tenants took matters into their own hands.

Mainstreet owns eight rental complexes in Surrey. It also owns rental buildings in Abbotsford and New Westminster.

In its 2012 fourth-quarter financials, the company reported double-digit growth for the eighth consecutive reporting period. In 2012, the company hit the $1 billion valuation mark.

A spokesman for Mainstreet could not be reached for comment.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv

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