Langley float home owner in a jam after eviction

·3 min read
Ross MacLeod, 74, says he has nowhere to put his float home, following an eviction from a Langley marina. MacLeod claims he's been unable to find moorage in the region, despite an honest effort. (Rafferty Baker/CBC - image credit)
Ross MacLeod, 74, says he has nowhere to put his float home, following an eviction from a Langley marina. MacLeod claims he's been unable to find moorage in the region, despite an honest effort. (Rafferty Baker/CBC - image credit)

Ross MacLeod, a 74-year-old retired school teacher, bought into the float home lifestyle in 2015. MacLeod found what turned out to be a dream at Grants Landing near Fort Langley, about 50 kilometres east of Vancouver, in the form of a three-storey home floating on the tidal waters of the Fraser River.

For a few years, the lifestyle and community brought a satisfying mix of social occasions, peaceful relaxation and relative affordability while housing prices continued a dramatic rise in the Lower Mainland.

"I just fell in love with this place," said MacLeod, who added that he didn't even bother setting up his television for about a year after moving in — he was content to just look out the window and watch the Fraser River flow by.

Tug boats hauled barges past his patio, and once in a while a large sturgeon would appear in the water. He could fish right outside his door.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

But the peaceful life was disrupted at the end of May, when one of the new owners of Grants Landing knocked on his door and handed him an eviction notice. His annual lease would not be renewed and he had 30 days to move his home from the slip, where he was paying $1,100 per month for rent.

"I was shocked for the first two weeks. I couldn't function. I couldn't move. I couldn't wrap my head around what was going on," said MacLeod.

Not covered by provincial legislation

Float home owners don't have the protections provided by the province's Residential Tenancy Act or Manufactured Home Tenancy Act that land-dwelling renters have. Eviction notice can be given without cause if an annual lease has run its course.

The Minister of Housing's office sent CBC News a statement that said the only recourse in a dispute for a float home owner renting space at a marina would be a Civil Resolution Tribunal or the B.C. Supreme Court.

"I just felt so vulnerable, so powerless," said MacLeod.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

He said after the period of confusion, he got to work trying to find a new place to live. MacLeod said he began driving to marinas all over the Lower Mainland. None had space for his 25-by-50 feet home. He said he began calling every marina he could in the Gulf Islands and on the Sunshine Coast.

"There was nothing," he said.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

MacLeod even enlisted the real estate agent he worked with when he bought the home — a specialist in the float home market. She told CBC News that she has also been unable to find a place for MacLeod to go.

According to MacLeod, he had no choice but blow the eviction deadline.

He said the marina owner then threatened to cut off services — water, sewage, and electricity — a threat that turned into a reality at the beginning of September.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

"When I woke up and all my power was shut off, I had really lost some faith in humanity. I honestly did," said MacLeod, who is now staying in a friend's RV in Aldergrove.

CBC News reached out to the Grants Landing owner for comment on the situation, but none has been provided.

MacLeod posted a $1,000 reward on Facebook for anyone who can find him a spot to move his home, but so far no tips have come in.

He said the search for moorage for his dream home will continue, and even though he's hired a lawyer to address the situation at Grants Landing, he'll happily move out as soon as he can.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC