University students compete for rentals as September nears
It’s never been tougher to break in to Victoria’s rental market.
Then again, with September right around the corner, the situation could get worse for post-secondary students scrambling to find a place to live.
“More than ever, we’re seeing a crunch for students trying to find housing off-campus,” said Ben Lukenchuk of the University of Victoria Student Society.
The crunch reflects record-low levels of housing in the city, with just a 0.6 per cent vacancy rate.
Many renters of all kinds are now turning to the internet in desperation, and one of the city’s leading online classified sites say people are stepping up their game to find housing.
“Ads used to be ‘here’s my apartment for rent,’” said Lacey Sheardown of UsedVictoria. “Now we’re seeing families writing compelling stories on why they’re looking for a place and why they should be chosen by landlords.”
While social media can help renters find one of the few spots available, experts say the long-term solution lies in construction of more rental buildings.
“We haven’t seen much construction of purpose-built rental over the last, literally, 35 or 30 years, and fortunately we’re seeing some now,” said David Hutniak of Landlord B.C.
Victoria’s rental vacancy rate is so bad that it’s been the butt of jokes in the last several months.
A mock ad posted to UsedVictoria last month with the title “Perfect for staving millennials” made waves with a $1,500 per month price and a picture of a tiny, jail-cell like room.
In the next two years, about 1,500 rental units are expected to be built in the city.