They're facing the realities of a landlord's market
With the vacancy rate in Victoria 0.3 per cent, there's limited affordable housing available. (They are actually 0.5% which is a whopping 0.2% or 60% difference than what's stated... and they aren't reflective of the secondary market, which is where the majority of students find rentals).
The average rent for a room in a house is around $400, while a one-bedroom apartment is around $750. However, many listings have rooms starting at $700, or one-bedroom apartments higher than $1,000.
...the eviction of 13 students from a 4,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom house because of a Saanich bylaw which prohibits more than four unrelated residents to share a dwelling.
The three had a hard time finding a place, but rented a house for $2,800 a month.
Year-long leases are a problem for students, unless they are intending to stay in town over the summer or rent a place for more than a year.
To be fair, the piece is newsworthy, students do have a hard time finding a place to live in Victoria every September. That's why the smart ones look in May and get jobs in the ultra-low unemployment area that is Victoria.
It seems to me there are two things happening in the Victoria rental market:
- Long-term landlords are enjoying consistent return on their long-paid off properties and are being picky about tenants, which is their right; and,
- Short term landlords and recent Uvic/Camosun grads with huge mortgage payments believe that rents should pay at least 50% of their mortgage, so they ask for $1500 for a dumpy two-bed suite.
Because of the way CMHC calculates average rents and decides what constitutes a "rental," vacancy rates, much like inflation numbers, are notoriously low. If a property, or property manager/landlord, doesn't have three "units, " it's not counted. So every new basement suite in GH and Langford isn't counted. And students have a hard time getting rentals because they generally tend to party, move 13 kids into a house for a year (which isn't living, it's partying), move frequently, don't look after stuff, cause problems for landlords with their neighbours, run out of money etc. Their main problem is not that Victoria has low vacancy, it's that they are students with student lifestyles.
I feel for people looking for rentals. It is difficult to be picky. I have been lucky in this market because of two things: a really good network, no pets and never putting myself in a position to have to make a rushed decision. My only tip for would be renters in Victoria? Do the same. Establish a network, don't do things/have things that make you an undesirable tenant, and never, ever, ever, put yourself in a position to have to make a quick decision, like say, decide to move in September.
What are others seeing in the rental market right now?