from Vancouver lodging The crisis has gotten so bad an urban expert says it’s hard to tell whether a dodgy ad posted online claiming to offer a $999/month pickup truck with “benefits” is actually an innovative rental opportunity or the someone’s idea of a prank.
The “Unique accommodation: Van Life!” An advertisement appeared on Craigslist on Friday stating that three separate furnished vans are available for hire in the parking lot of a West End rental property from December 1. The ad contained photos purporting to show two different van interiors.
The poster boasted of having “a special relationship with management to provide 24/7 showers, toilets and a sauna in the building with additional storage space”.
“Living in a van allows you to live spontaneously,” the ad reads, adding that the vans have newly installed electric heating and are located in a “very safe driveway”.
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On Saturday, the ad disappeared with a message that the post was “flagged for deletion” appearing in its place.
“I think it really exemplifies the kind of desperation that some people are facing in the city of Vancouver,” SFU City Program Director Andy Yan told Global News in a Sat interview.
“When you have this difficulty in identifying the difference between parody and reality.”
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Global News visited the building’s address listed on the ad and saw a van in the parking lot, although its interior does not appear to match any of the photos in the original Craigslist post.
Neither the poster nor Terra Crest Property Management, which manages the Park Bay rental property, responded to inquiries on Saturday.
The City of Vancouver is investigating whether living in a rented van parked on a building lot complies with local bylaws, but said it may not have an answer until Monday.
“I think it’s a number of maybe legal issues — not just with land use, but also with ICBC and insurance,” Yan said. “It’s ambiguous at least at this point.”
Van life is possible in city parks as long as Vancouver Park Board regulations are followed.
Last month, residents of camper vans that have taken up residence in the Spanish Banks car park received notices of leaving or at risk of being towed away because overnight parking is prohibited.
“This is for a large population that is really struggling to find adequate and affordable housing,” Yan told Global News.
Aviation student Jacey Humchitt is now one of them, after his boat sank in the recent windstorm. Humchitt, who lived on the boat, said it was temporarily anchored at False Creek while it searched for anchorage throughout the Lower Mainland.
“My boat was supposed to be my savior in this rent crisis and unfortunately it just didn’t work out,” Humchitt said Thursday.
Humchitt said he was now navigating the insurance process and wanted to make sure his boat was not one of the many abandoned vessels in Vancouver’s waterway.
“I took care of my boat, I loved my boat and it was a very unfortunate accident,” Humchitt told Global News.
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