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Thread: Crawlspace rental units
11-10-2009, 04:48 PM #1
Crawlspace rental units
The Winter Olympics are coming here in February. Short people will have an advantage.
A crawl space to call home in Whistler
A severe shortage of rental accommodations has forced some residents in the resort town of Whistler, B.C., to get down on their knees to find a home — literally.
Residents like Warren William have been living in crawl spaces under condo units, happy to have any place to call home.
"You gotta duck in to get in," says Williams, "I have a four-foot-tall door."
Even such tiny quarters aren't cheap.
At $650 a month, including utilities, the crawl space where Williams lives is inside the Nordic Vistas townhouse development, and he considers the price a steal.
"When you step inside, it's got pretty low ceilings, but it's pretty spacious. Like a one-bedroom apartment."
Many of the low-down suites have heat, water and power, and some have been occupied for at least a decade. But that does not make them legal.
Rob Whitton, Whistler's fire chief, says the suites are illegal and unsafe. That's why he has issued eviction notices last month to people in seven such suites, including Williams's home, and he is looking for more.
"The potential dangers with the crawl spaces are the size of the doors, the access and egress, the number of windows and the size of them," says Whitton.
Tenants ordered removed
Whitton says the suites are a threat to life and property, and has ordered the immediate removal of all tenants.
"Some units didn't have any windows except at one end. And there were small windows that didn't meet safety code or fire code for secondary means of egress or ventilation."
Alternate living arrangements have been provided for the tenants, and the suites' owners will be held responsible, says Whitton.
Cramped and crowded rental housing is common in the resort community, where real estate prices are among the highest in Canada. Every winter, thousands of young people in low-paying resort jobs struggle to find homes.
In 2002, a single home was shut down after it was found to contain nearly 80 beds, with 24 in the attic.
11-10-2009, 11:09 PM #2
Re: Crawlspace rental units
A few years back, I inspected a POS house that had about a 5' high crawlspace at one end. That section of crawl was semi- converted into living space, and was rented out at the time I inspected it. The tenant hung out while I inspected the crawlspace-- weird feeling.