WATCH: It’s moving day for several UVic students evicted from their Saanich home because of an old bylaw. The rule says its illegal for more than four unrelated people to live together at the same address. But the municipality says it is set to review the rules. Luisa Alvarez reports.
They should be studying for midterms but several UVic students have been forced to worry about packing up and cleaning.
“That this is legal is insane,” said Emma Edmonds.
Since September, seven Uvic students lived in a spacious seven bedroom home but three were evicted for unknowingly violating a Saanich bylaw that makes it illegal for more than four unrelated people to live together.
On Friday morning, the three students, including Edmonds, were packing. They had to be out by Feb. 1.
“The landlord made the mistake but in reality, the landlord gets away with a $150 ticket and we are moving our beds in between classes,” said Edmonds.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes agrees the bylaw needs to change and on Monday, Haynes and Coun. Zac de Vries will table a motion to have staff look into it.
“To see how we can make it more relaxed. I think its less important about the number more important about the behaviour,” said Haynes.
Haynes says he hopes it gets done sooner rather than later.
“We’ve decided to go straight into a bylaw review. We aren’t going through public consultation. This shortens the process and to be candid we have just gone through a very big public consultation called an election and this council was elected on housing,” said Haynes.
And for the evicted students that change can’t happen soon enough. While on the hunt for where to go they confirmed what they already knew, Greater Victoria is in a housing crisis and availability is slim to none.
“Some of the girls only found a place to move to as early as this week,” said Mary Catteral, mother to one of the students forced to move.
However, moving elsewhere won’t change them being at odds with the bylaw.
“We are moving to a less nice, more far away, more expensive place that is still at the end of the day illegal under this bylaw,” said Edmonds.
But what would make going through all the stress worthwhile says Edmonds is if nobody else has to.
“If us going through this situation can prevent a lot of students or people living in group homes or people on low-income housing from this happening to them then it will be worth it for us,” said Edmonds.