Young family left homeless in hot housing market

For the past week, Morgan Besant and his family have been living in a house, but it's a house they don't consider a home.

Morgan Besant

Morgan Besant

For the past week, Morgan Besant and his family have been living in a house, but it’s a house they don’t consider a home.

The family was recently kicked out of a house on Robertson Street in Fairfield, following a weeks-long battle with the owner.

It’s a situation Besant, his wife Jade and eight-year-old daughter Ellery never imagined they would be in, in a million years.

It all began in June, when the landlord of the Fairfield duplex the family had lived in for the past 13 years decided to sell. With Victoria’s vacancy rate sitting at roughly 0.6 per cent, Besant knew it would be difficult to find a place to rent that was affordable, could accommodate both his family and his father, who was going through health problems, and was in the same neighbourhood so his daughter wouldn’t be uprooted from her school and friends.

After searching for weeks, desperately trying to find a house that would fit the bill, Besant, a landscaper by trade, met a man who offered to let him stay in a three-storey, four bedroom plus den, 1906 Victorian home he had recently purchased as a holding property in Fairfield.

“We thought this could be the answer we had been looking for,” said Besant, noting there were a number of major renovations that the owner said would be complete by the Nov. 19 move in date.

Shortly after, they signed a lease and Besant packed up his family’s belongings and was ready to move into the home. But on the move in day, he entered the house and was shocked by what he saw.

The house was uninhabitable, according to Besant. None of the rooms were done to completion, the floors of the upstairs rooms had been torn up and only partially floored and painted, there was construction debris both inside and outside the house, there were no fixtures in the upstairs bathroom and the bathtub was in what was to be his daughter’s room.

“I was shocked with the condition,” Besant said.

Besant moved his father’s belongings into the shed on the property, as well as his plants, while his family moved into a friend’s place until the renovations were to be complete.

A few days later, Besant met with the owner, who served him an unofficial letter, which said since the family didn’t move in on the agreed date, and did not pay him rent or a damage deposit, that constituted a break in the tenancy agreement and that the tenancy had ended. However, when Besant signed the initial tenancy agreement, he said the owner assured him he didn’t have to pay a damage deposit until 2017.

For now, the family is staying with a friend in Fernwood and has plans to move into a neighbour’s house, who’s going on vacation for a week-and-a-half. They’ve looked at dozens of houses in the last week, but haven’t found anything they can afford.

Besant hopes his story will act as a cautionary tale to renters hoping to changing their living situations.

“It’s a bit of a warning to others to think very hard about this situation and where they’re currently in, in terms of what the prospects are out there,” Besant said.

Besant plans to take the owner to arbitration and apply for an order of possession for the house to allow them to move in.

An online fundraising campaign has since been started by a friend to support the family. As of Monday, more than $3,300 has been raised.

For more information about the campaign visit youcaring.com/jadeandmorganbesant-697995.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Jimmy Fallon joked that a woman’s 4.5-star review of a Langford jail is “the most Canadian thing you could do” in The Tonight Show Jan. 21. (Screenshot/YouTube)
VIDEO: Jimmy Fallon jokes Canadian jails are basically hotels following woman’s 4.5-star review

Woman gave handwritten card to police following stay in Langford cells

Sidney's Beacon Wharf
Pontoon company piqued at prospect of public-private partnership around Sidney wharf

Seagate approached to submit proposeal for public-private partnership

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)
BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read