Rental crisis hits close to home

Now is not an ideal time to be a renter on the West Shore

Across the region, examples of an increasingly scary housing situation are everywhere.

Couples are bringing in a roommate (or more) to help cover the cost of rent. Recreational vehicles are being used as full-time residences outside of designated RV parks. Young professionals are moving back in with their parents. Landlords are fielding more queries and applications from tenants than they know what to do with, and the difference between finding a job and finding an apartment is becoming increasingly difficult to discern.

And that’s without even mentioning Tent City.

As Malcolm Hall, owner of many rental units on the West Shore through his company Lifestyle Ventures, told the Gazette, he “wouldn’t want to be a renter” in this market.

In this issue we talk to a couple who had a difficult time finding a place to live, not because of price, but due to specific requirements when it comes to their living space.

Housing isn’t exactly an issue that’s hiding under the surface, yet here we are anyway, where renters of all budgets are being squeezed out and left scrambling for a place. The most frustrating aspect of this ongoing crisis is the lack of a readily available solution.

More subsidized housing could have an impact, as it would take families out of the competition for the more affordable two-and three-bedroom rental units. Naturally, any major initiative is going to take commitment from all three levels of government.

More rental stock seems a viable solution, but is West Shore infrastructure ready for continued growth? Ask anyone who has travelled Jacklin Road in the afternoon rush and they’d likely give you an emphatic “nope.”

The good news, Hall points out, is that this is a cyclical problem. Builders are capitalizing on a hot market now and with demand for a limited supply of suites at a high, it’s only a matter of time before the reverse is true. It takes a shift of just a few percentage points in the vacancy rate for a market to cool, leading to stabilization or even regression in rents.

In the meantime, West Shore bylaw officers may have to keep a watchful eye on seemingly vacant RVs.

Just Posted

Saanich Police looking for information relating to suspicious death

The body of a man was found on Crease Avenue just after 9 a.m. on Saturday

250th Free Little Library installed in Victoria

Greater Victoria now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

Urbanists hope to see Victoria’s unused rooftops, parkades, parking lots become usable green space

Downtown Residents Association says city dwellers should have access to parks

For the love of fibre: fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Cemetery tour explores Metchosin’s early history

A tour with grave consequences for those wishing to explore Metchosin’s history takes place Aug. 25

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read