TNRD dealing with people using RVs as houses

More people are parking recreational vehicles on rural property in the TNRD and calling it a home

  • Aug. 21, 2019 1:30 a.m.

You’ve heard of tiny homes, but now there’s an insurgence of RV homes.

More and more people are parking recreational vehicles on rural property in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and calling it a home or cabin.

TNRD director of development services Regina Sadilkova estimated 100 RVs are permanently parked on rural property throughout the region, primarily on lakes.

Sadilkova called it a “perfect storm” of high fuel and housing prices, mixed with larger RVs built in recent years now on their last leg.

Instead of fixing old RVs or getting rid of them, people have instead been dragging the onto rural property.

“They’re using them like a house,” Sadilkova said.

It’s causing a headache for the regional district, with concerns including: improper septic services, loss in taxation, decreased value of neighbouring properties and safety, due to carbon monoxide and electrical risks.

Sadilkova said the law around the issue is “black and white.”

For one, living in an RV is a TNRD zoning violation, with a vehicle not considered a “dwelling.” RVs do not meet standards of the BC Building Code.

Improper septic services could also violate environmental regulations. Sadilkova said living in an RV has never been allowed in the TNRD and the TNRD is amping up enforcement, sending order letters to violators, ticketing in the range of $150 to $250 fines and eventually taking the most egregious violators to court.

Sadilkova estimated the TNRD juggles a couple RV-home cases per year.

In one case, 13 RVs had been previously parked on Nicola Lake next to a million-dollar home. Sadilkova said the TNRD won and the homes have since been replaced with proper dwellings.

“This is fairly straightforward,” Sadilkova said. “It’s a house or it’s a vehicle.”

She advised those who want a house or cabin in the region to conform to the TNRD zoning, get a building permit, meet building code standards and file with Interior Health for a septic field.

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