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Housing horror stories are not uncommon in Whistler, but Monday’s video presentation to council presented graphic evidence of how desperate the housing situation has become. The Bylaws Department showed a video of a "suite" put on the rental market by Phil and Sara Penny that was no more than an unfinished crawlspace. Two tenants were charged $10 per person, per night to live in a space with no bathroom, no running water, no windows, only one exit, bare framing for internal walls, exposed fibreglass insulation and a partial floor of plywood. The rest of the floor was bare ground. Evidence that the Pennys advertised trailer space for rent in the driveway of their Emerald Estates home and rooms within the home was also presented. Ads for the room included the words "prefer Japanese." "I think this is disgusting," councillor Max Kirkpatrick told Phil Penny, who was present at the Show Cause Hearing. "We were just trying to give them a break," Penny said in his defence. "We didn’t think $10 a night was unreasonable. It’s cheaper than a hostel." Penny added, one of the tenants originally stayed in a room in the house and did work around the house. It was his idea to move into the basement, Penny said. Bylaws Superintendent Calvin Logue told council the two tenants, who no longer live in the suite, had to call the RCMP to the house before they could retrieve their belongings. The municipality’s only legal recourse against the Pennys is through zoning and building bylaws. A notice on title was registered against the property and the Pennys given 30 days to bring the house into compliance with bylaws. "All we can do is impose order against title. If we had the authority I would demand you pay them back," Mayor Ted Nebbeling said. "I’m feeling embarrassed being in Whistler."

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