A Coquitlam couple is livid after the city slapped them with a $5,000 bill for searching their house for a grow-op -- even though inspectors found no such thing.

Selina and Bryan Prevost say the rules that allowed the search -- that the city can look at electricity bills to flag the high energy usage that usually accompanies grow-ops -- mean inspectors are targeting innocent people.

"They put a big red notice on the door that revoked our occupancy and they said it was based on evidence...that told them there had been a grow-op here at one time," said Selina Prevost.

That was news to the Prevosts, who had a six-hour house inspection done before they bought the property two years ago.

They were told their house was flagged because their electricity use spiked slightly last November.

The couple says that's because B.C. Hydro switched from averaging to reading their meter.

As a result, the Prevosts spend $2,500 on electrical repairs. But they got slammed with another surprise from the city.

"The city has told us there is a $5,000 inspection fee that they waived because there was nothing illegal," said Selina Prevost.

"But there is also a $5,000 re-inspection fee that we are at this point responsible for," said Selina Prevost.

"We're in limbo, we're still not supposed to be here, and we don't know what the next step is," said Selina Prevost.

Last year, the province made it legal for municipalities to access B.C. Hydro bills in order to identify grow ops. But the Prevosts say the new bylaw is a violation of rights.

"The city's making money, it's a PR thing getting rid of grow-ops and charging criminals but the problem is that innocent people are being victimized and there has to be some sort of way of stopping that," said Bryan Prevost.

The mayor of Coquitlam is promising to look into the matter.

"If there's nothing illegal that will cause harm to the resident, people will not pay fees," said Mayor Maxine Wilson.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jina You