College students caught amid hovering Larger Victoria rents as return to campus looms

Weeks away from the beginning of the semester, many post-secondary college students are struggling to seek out inexpensive locations to dwell amid excessive prices of dwelling and low emptiness charges in Larger Victoria’s rental market.

Within the final month, Eva Dillon and Abigail Stephen, third-year college students on the College of Victoria, stated they’ve responded to greater than 50 on-line housing adverts and visited practically 20 potential locations.

“We knew going into it that it was going to be actually arduous as a result of everyone’s in search of leases beginning in September,” Dillon stated. “It’s a ton of competitors … and there’s a lot demand.”

Throughout their housing search, the 2 women, together with one different pal, have skilled every little thing from scams, aggressive presents, impersonal group showings and homes that weren’t as marketed.

However this summer time just isn’t the start of their housing struggles — as an alternative, they seek advice from it as “simply one other episode.” Over the past two years, they’ve lived in 5 totally different properties.

In January, the basement of their promising five-bedroom home in Gordon Head flooded and Stephen received sick after black mould began rising in her bed room. With the owner unwilling to repair it, they’ve had no selection however to bounce round between momentary sublets and Airbnbs whereas making an attempt to safe long-term housing.

“We discovered one thing that had the promise of being so good, after which to have it ripped away and to really feel like we’re caught at first once more is difficult,” Dillon stated.

Camosun School scholar Sam Tyson stated he’s watched rental costs “enhance steadily” since shifting to Victoria in 2019. Whereas he used to see one-bedroom flats simply exterior town for $1,000 per 30 days, now it’s tough to discover a room in a shared home for much less.

He at present pays $1,000 per 30 days plus utilities for a room in a five-bedroom home in Gordon Head. He’s working two jobs to assist himself amid skyrocketing prices of dwelling.

“A strong half of the paycheque is simply going to paying lease after which I nonetheless have all of the accompanying payments, then I’m spending $100 to purchase one small bag of groceries,” he stated. “Then you definately solely have a pair hundred {dollars} a month simply to have a life with. It’s arduous,” he stated.

After encountering many landlords who enhance lease costs solely for private revenue, Tyson added the toughest a part of navigating the housing market as a brand new scholar is “figuring out who to belief.”

“It simply actually takes the wind out of individuals’s sails,” he stated. “That is their first impression of actual grownup life, to pay $1,000 to have some roommates in a home.”

Dillon and Stephen stated they’ve additionally developed “main belief points” after landlords pit them in opposition to different potential tenants to safe the very best value. They’ve attended showings the place the owner informs them of one other provide at $100 extra per bed room than the listed value and asks them to match it.

A landlord as soon as advised them they have been as an alternative going to lease to a household who had provided the primary three months’ lease and $1,000 extra per 30 days. Stephen stated it instantly took any college students who had utilized out of the working.

“We will’t provide that when faculty begins in three weeks,” Stephen stated. “The truth that it’s important to spend cash on books and pay your tuition and pay the harm deposit and the primary month’s lease, all of that provides as much as an enormous large quantity simply going out of your financial institution.”

Discovering an accessible location is one other main hurdle for the numerous college students who depend on public transit to get to class on time. Many student-oriented listings are in inaccessible areas of town the place the closest bus cease is a 15-minute stroll away and the place buses solely come each 40 minutes.

Dillon and Stephen have additionally began to contemplate a actuality the place they don’t dwell with their associates and simply lease out single rooms in several spots.

However with Dillon’s household in Ottawa and Stephen’s in Kuwait, having associates as an accessible assist system is important to their well-being.

“Dwelling with my associates and having those who I can depend on if I’ve a tough day and chat with on the kitchen desk is so essential,” Dillon stated.

“It’s both you reside with your pals, otherwise you dwell alone and simply undergo it,” Stephen added. “And that’s what it’s come to with housing and it’s so arduous to even put your self on the listing for single-bedroom listings and take into consideration that risk.”

READ MORE: ‘Glorified shed’ in Saanich renting for full one-bedroom fee irks candidates

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