Notify First, then Cut
Ms. B had a complaint about Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS). One day, she was awakened by knocking at her door. Since she was resting after a medical procedure, she did not answer. She then heard chainsaws in her backyard. She found that workers contracted by the City had pruned her tree and left the debris piled in her yard. She said that the previous year, MLS had ordered her to prune the tree, which she had done. Upset, Ms. B called an MLS supervisor, who explained that the division had to respond immediately because of the danger posed by the hanging branch. The supervisor said MLS staff knocked on her door before starting the work, but she did not open the door. He agreed to give her a bill for the labour associated with the branch removal. Instead of a bill, however, she received a notice from Revenue Services that a charge of $886 had been transferred to her property tax. Ms. B thought the charge, which did not include debris removal, was too high. She also said it was unreasonable that she had not received notice of the violation, as MLS had done in the past.
What We Did
We contacted MLS, who agreed that the matter was not handled appropriately. Despite the “emergency” situation, MLS should have given Ms. B a notice of the violation before taking action.
MLS took the $886 charge off Ms. B’s property tax and did not charge her for the work.