Some condo owners who live in The Main residential complex on Cleveland Avenue say the municipality has unfairly slapped them with hundreds of dollars in utility bills.
According to two residents, the District sent out a letter demanding about $730 in payments for utilities.
The unpaid utilities date back to May 2020, which the residents say was well before the units came into their possession.
These residents say these payments were for utility usage that the units' previous owners incurred.
This billing is a mystery to the residents, as before buying the units from their previous owners, they said they ran background checks to see if there were any outstanding taxes or money owed on the condos.
They say their notaries found no outstanding debt on the units.
The District is threatening interest and penalties, but the residents say they will not pay the amount.
Amy Kristensen bought her unit in April 2022. The Squamish Chief contacted her notary, who confirmed there was zero balance on the taxes and utilities on it at the time of purchase.
In September, Kristensen received a letter from the District stating that she owed the municipality money.
"The District of Squamish has been informed that the utility charges, based on occupancy, that were originally sent to the developer were actually to be charged to the purchaser," the letter reads. "The developer and your lawyer or notary determined that the purchaser would be responsible for the utility charges. Your purchase documents were adjusted to reflect this decision."
At first, Kristensen thought she was being scammed.
But after a visit to Municipal Hall next door, she was told that the letter was real, as was the balance the District was trying to collect from her.
She said that it's been very difficult to get ahold of someone at the District to help work out their concerns
"People are trying to reach out and talk to them and they're not being very responsive," said Kristensen. "It's very disappointing, to say the least."
As a result, she and several residents have sent a petition to the municipality stating that they will not pay the $730 being asked of them. She said they may consider other measures if the District doesn't back down.
Tyler Clements, the petition organizer, emailed the document to the District on Nov. 29 and publicly copied The Squamish Chief in the message.
There are 12 e-signatures on the document.
In a written statement to The Squamish Chief, the District confirmed that it issued utility bills to The Main strata units for developer unpaid utilities that dated back to May 2020.
"Purchase documents for The Main units stated that the purchaser is responsible for payment of these utilities owed to the District," wrote spokesperson Christina Moore.
"The District has been investigating this situation more deeply over the past several weeks, and an update is expected to be available before the end of the year. We will be corresponding with the owners at The Main at that time, following a discussion with council on the matter."
Clements is another resident of The Main who also received a bill for about $730 from the District and plans on fighting it as well.
Clements and his wife bought the unit in March 2021. At the time, he said his notary informed him that there were no taxes owed on the unit. His notary declined to confirm the information with The Squamish Chief, citing legal reasons.
However, Clements showed The Squamish Chief a copy of the property tax certificate that showed no tax was owed before he bought the property.
"I'm incredibly angry — and the amount of work I have now. I've got a newborn daughter [with whom] I'm trying to spend my very little time off from emergency services," said Clements, who works as a paramedic.
"And that free time is now being knocked by the stress in battling the District. You know, I'm sitting here having to contact lawyers, I'm having to draft letters, get everybody in the building together…eating up all of my free time and [it] just makes an incredible amount of stress. That should never have been."
He said the District had taken the wrong approach in this case.
"I mean, realistically, they should have been going after the developers and the original owners. And that's [whom] these are due from."