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 dwell amid excessive prices of dwelling 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 adverts and visited almost 20 potential locations.

“We knew going into it that it was going to be actually laborious 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 every part from scams, aggressive presents, impersonal group showings and homes that weren’t as marketed.

However this summer time is just not the start of their housing struggles — as an alternative, they confer with it as “simply one other episode.” During the last 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 obtained sick after black mould began rising in her bed room. With the owner unwilling to repair it, they’ve had no alternative however to bounce round between momentary 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 first once more is tough,” Dillon mentioned.

Camosun Faculty pupil Sam Tyson mentioned 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 thirty days, now it’s troublesome 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 assist himself amid skyrocketing prices of dwelling.

“A stable 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 mentioned. “Then you definitely solely have a pair hundred {dollars} a month simply to have a life with. It’s laborious,” he mentioned.

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 pupil is “figuring out 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 one of the best worth. They’ve attended showings the place the owner informs them of one other supply at $100 extra per bed room than the listed worth and asks them to match it.

A landlord as soon as instructed them they had been as an alternative going to lease to a household who had supplied the primary three months’ lease and $1,000 extra per thirty days. Stephen mentioned it instantly took any college students who had utilized out of the operating.

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

Discovering an accessible location is one other main hurdle for the various 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 dwell with their mates and simply lease out single rooms in numerous spots.

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

“Dwelling with my mates and having folks 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 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 laborious to even put your self on the checklist for single-bedroom listings and take into consideration that chance.”

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

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