One overwhelming and very stressful situation that pushed my need to take the purposeful break from all aspects of my life involved another move.
While I was in the midst of my melanoma surgeries and still no indication the outcome would be the best case scenario possible, my landlord gave me notice that they were taking over my suite for personal use.
The housing situation in Victoria is crazy. There is a shortage of inventory. Overseas buyers are snapping up whatever they can and there has been a frenzy of home owners placing their home on the market to cash in on the ridiculous prices that home owners are receiving for their properties. My realtor is so busy. She told me she lists a home, has one open house the first weekend and then accepts all offers Monday morning. People aren’t even doing home inspections or placing any conditions on their offers. My realtor has been getting anywhere from 14 to 21 offers at once on a property. People are paying well over the asking price to make sure they win the bid.
As a result, the vacancy rate for rentals in Victoria is 0%. People are selling their homes to take advantage of the market and then renting hoping the market will either slow and they can buy back in or they are continuing to rent and just investing their money elsewhere.
I spent the 2 months after I received notice trying to find whatever I could as a place to rent. As a result of the rental demand not only have prices increased but landlords can be way more picky with tenants. I am not the ideal tenant as I have a dog, 2 cats (pets posed a problem for me even before the market change), 2 kids and no employment income.
Again, I had to rethink whether I could even stay in Victoria. If I were alone, I would definitely not still be here but my reasoning for staying the next 4 years is that I didn’t want to move my youngest daughter away from her dad, sister, friends and dance studio. Therefore, to find a place to live I was looking well out of the school catchment for my youngest daughter prepared to commute unreasonable distances just to keep her life as stable as possible. I had a hard talk with both my girls about options we needed to explore including them living with their dad at least temporarily until we found a place, placing the pets in foster homes and moving back to Ontario. Even my kids were trying to come up with ideas suggesting they would talk to their dad about him moving in with Janice and then us taking over his place and that Janice could have pets at her place so she could take them temporarily. They suggested staying on the island but moving up north 1 1/2 hours. In the end, they said, “Mom, we don’t care where we live but we want to stay the 3 of us together and the pets have to be with us.”
I investigated every referral from friends, searched online 4 or 5 times/day, placed my own advertisement, told anyone I met I was looking for a place, looked at places to camp and to stay over the summer for the interim and even planned out ways to exist as a homeless family. I tried to see if I could buy something even a trailer. I asked the landlord if we could stay at least a month longer and I tried to fight the eviction as well through the BC Tenancy Act dispute process to buy us more time. God was being clear; I needed to move on yet again.
Through a lot of prayer and perseverance, I found a place to move to 6 days before my eviction date. I found the ad on my 4th try that day on UsedVictoria. My daughter suggested I change my search to include smoking properties. I thought that would limit my search but it actually opened up this one property that didn’t care if we smoked or not in their unit. I knew from losing other places that I had to be aggressive. I called the new potential landlord, sent an email and although the ad was placed with no address, just the street name, I tried to drive by and find it from the photos as I planned to knock on the door to speak to the landlord. I couldn’t find it by driving by as I only had photos of the back of the house. When they called back they said it was too late for me to come by that night (I still asked). They were showing it at 10 the next morning. I asked if I could come at 9. I came with an application filled out, a letter about me, a page of referral names and numbers and a cheque to fill out for damage deposits and first month’s rent. They actually were planning on renting it July 1 but I said I would take it for June 1 as it was vacant and I didn’t care about any of the work they planned to do to get it ready. My dog was almost a deal breaker but I pleaded and asked if I could bring him by to meet them. I went and got the dog immediately and while I did that they called some of my references. We must have won them over because they accepted us.
$1300 in moving expenses and a lot of exhausting help from friends packing and moving boxes and hard-to-pack items over in advance confirmed again that I don’t want to keep going through this process. I have been getting rid of more and more stuff again as I am now renting less space for more money. More confirmation that the universe is telling me to lighten my load significantly. I better start abiding or I suspect I will be forced again to move and to get out of my comfort zone and lose more possessions. I am being prepared for something I am certain that is going to involve me leaving everything behind.
Right now, my youngest daughter and I are sharing a room. My older daughter is sleeping in what we call “the Harry Potter closet” as her tiny room doesn’t even have a window. My kids have never complained once about our new living environment. In fact my older daughter is the one to always say things like, “I lived in a dorm last year sharing a room and having less so this is no big deal,” or “we need to just be grateful we got a place”.
I am very grateful every day. I came back from the break refreshed, refocused and with a renewed energy and purpose. I have a lot to do and I am doing it.