Vancouver Island college students caught amid hovering rents as return to campus looms

Weeks away from the beginning of the semester, many post-secondary college students are struggling to search out inexpensive locations to reside amid excessive prices of residing and low emptiness charges in Vancouver Island’s rental market.

Within the final month, Eva Dillon and Abigail Stephen, third-year college students on the College of Victoria, mentioned they’ve responded to greater than 50 on-line housing advertisements 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 mentioned. “It’s a ton of competitors … and there’s a lot demand.”

Throughout their housing search, the 2 ladies, together with one different buddy, have skilled all the pieces from scams, aggressive presents, impersonal group showings and homes that weren’t as marketed.

However this summer time isn’t the start of their housing struggles — as an alternative, they check with it as “simply one other episode.” Over the past two years, they’ve lived in 5 completely 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 short-term sublets and Airbnbs whereas attempting 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 the start once more is difficult,” Dillon mentioned.

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

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

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

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

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

Dillon and Stephen mentioned they’ve additionally developed “main belief points” after landlords pit them in opposition to different potential tenants to safe the most effective 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 informed them they had been as an alternative going to hire to a household who had supplied the primary three months’ hire and $1,000 extra per thirty days. Stephen mentioned it instantly took any college students who had utilized out of the working.

“We are able to’t provide that when college begins in three weeks,” Stephen mentioned. “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 hire, all of that provides as much as a giant 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 think about a actuality the place they don’t reside with their associates and simply hire out single rooms in numerous spots.

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

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

“It’s both you reside with your folks, otherwise you reside 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 checklist for single-bedroom listings and take into consideration that risk.”

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

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