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LETTERS: Added costs of abandonment
Vacant homes have been a concern in Vancouver west side for number of years, and the wave arrived at my neighbourhood here two years ago.
The situation is getting worse.
I live in Chantrell area, where many multi-million acreage properties are located. More and more baby boomers chose to downsize, and they sold their homes to wealthy foreign investors, mostly from Asia with hot cash.
Since many of these properties – valued at $2-7 million – are for investment purpose only, irresponsible buyers often leave the houses alone without regular landscape maintenance.
The result of this can bring negative impact to the community.
Garbage and yard waste brings bad feelings to those who walk by every day, especially the next-door neighbours. The entire standard of the neighbourhood is being dragged down to the worse point ever.
Since the standard of the community declines, it’s hard to say it won’t affect property values.
There are potential security problems; chances for break-ins rise and add risk to surrounding neighbours. Who knows what’s happening in the backyards?
There is also a challenge on social fairness: empty houses are treated as merchandises on shelves, a tool to boost personal properties. Those who really want to live and work in South Surrey have less selection while buying a “real home.”
I don’t know what the solution for this is – how to make these wealthy buyers develop a sense of being a responsible “homeowner,” not an “investor,” and how to fit in the Canadian’s social values.
Restrictions and regulations from the government might be able to help. The City of Surrey does accept complaints regarding overgrown property landscape, but I believe it has to reach the extreme level.
I hope this topic is able to be brought to people’s attention.
Jenny Lo, Surrey