Jane, whose name has been changed, has lived in Revelstoke for several years. She still hasn’t found the ideal home. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Jane moved to Revelstoke seven years ago and says she has yet to find a place she wants to live. She likes Revelstoke, but it’s hard to make it work.

“I came here like everyone else, to ski,” says Jane, who asked to remain anonymous as the community is small and she doesn’t want to burn bridges when it comes to finding accommodation.

It’s not easy in Revelstoke. When a post appears on Facebook pages like Revy Rentals, responses are like a tidal wave.

“You all pretend to be perfect. Friendly, clean, outgoing. Everyone is frothing at the mouth appearing to be amazing. Everyone puts on an act,” says Jane.

When her friend started to rent out her home and Jane came to the 3 p.m viewing at 3:02 p.m, she was already behind 10 people.

“I started to well up,” says Jane. “It’s just too hard.”

This is one of the Facebook posts from Revy Rentals. According to it’s author, the post his fake. They wanted to see how many people “would jump at something ridiculous” (Facebook)

Still, Jane got the home and says it’s a good, peaceful and happy spot – by far the best she’s had in Revelstoke.

She hasn’t always been lucky.

Last winter, Jane and her partner lived in another great location, but it came at a high price.

Jane says the landlord purposefully miscommunicated in regards to the rented space and did not include his intentions of coming to stay often. Although he lived in Fernie, he was usually in Revelstoke.

“He was there as much as we were.”

At first, Jane thought they had the whole basement suite, but says they had to stay in the spare room when the landlord came so he could stay in “his space”, usually without a day’s notice.

Sometimes he would stay for a week, party and be the loudest person in the house.

“He called it his Rev-Cave.”

Jane says he would resort to name-calling and insults about their age and home province.

“There’s a line in this community. Between us and them.” The ones who rent and the ones who own.

According to the B.C. tenancy branch and under the Residential Tenancy Act, a tenant is entitled to quiet enjoyment, which includes, but is not limited to, exclusive possession of the rental unit.

“If a tenant feels that their right to quiet enjoyment has been breached, they have the right to see a remedy, such as compensation from the landlord, or a rent reduction, by filing an application for dispute resolution at the Residential Tenancy Branch,” says Lindsay Byers, spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The problem, says Jane, is they never signed a lease.

“I wanted to sign a lease because of his apparent lack of communication and general vibe. I had a bad feeling and was hoping to entitle myself to some rights. He refused to have us sign one.”

And so Jane wasn’t entitled to compensation. When the winter was over, the couple left. Jane says she would have moved out sooner, but finding a home in Revelstoke in the winter is impossible.

Although she wants other renters to find safe and happy homes, she says another reason she wants to remain anonymous is even though her previous landlord manipulated them, “he’s still a part of this community and he doesn’t deserve to be outed.”

Now is the first time Jane won’t be living with the landlord. But she doesn’t know how long she’ll stay in the community.

“I’d love to own a place here, but it’s just too hard.”

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