Advice Regarding Renting In Vancouver, Please – “Unfortunately, the Vancouver rental stock is absolutely atrocious. It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income.”

“..reading this blog I’m glad to see there are many others like me who eschew real estate and prefer to rent. My wife and I are in that camp. We moved from TO to Vancouver about a year ago, so our perceptions of the Vancouver rental market are pretty uninformed. Currently, we are looking to upgrade our rental from a small 1-bedroom, downtown apartment to something larger (a detached or 2+den apartment >1,000 sf) and within good distance of rapid transit (or at least what qualifies as transit in the rainforest). Unfortunately, the Vancouver rental stock is absolutely atrocious (at least compared to what I was used to in Toronto). Just browsing Craigslist or Kijiji becomes depressing – a large number of “garden” (re: basement) suites, or just places in serious need of some TLC. It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income (so much for their faith in real estate appreciation, eh?). Another challenge for us is finding a place that will except our small dog – our own doing, but she’s part of our family. Love to hear how others are fairing in their rental hunt.
Where do you guys look to find good rentals in the city? Do you use an agent? Any blogs you can recommend for people like us to share our thoughts on the rental market?”

rent_vancouver at VREAA 11 April 2013 11:01pm and on

90 responses to “Advice Regarding Renting In Vancouver, Please – “Unfortunately, the Vancouver rental stock is absolutely atrocious. It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income.”

  1. I agree the rental stock is atrocious! Very poor quality. I would never live in a basement suite. If you have a cat, forget about it. I was living in an apartment building that was actually pretty good until I was renovicted. Then the next building was owned by Pinnacle International. That building had no heat and hot water for months at a time during winter. The other tenants told us that the problem had been going on for many years. Heat was supposed to be included in our rent so in order to meet their contractual obligation, Pinnacle offered all the tenants space heaters. This was a big building with everyone using space heaters and open over doors to heat their units. I think it was a huge fire hazard. Actually, a fire did break out in that building and when it did, no one knew about it until after the fact because the fire alarms did not work. I took Pinnacle to the RTB and I won a monetary judgment against them. But it’s not money I was after. I just wanted a decent place to live. So I moved again. I finally found a half decent condo owned by a private landlord. She’s actually a friend of ours so that’s how we got this place. It’s good if you know someone who will rent you their place. She lets us have our cat. The rent is quite reasonable, definitely cheaper than if we were to buy this place.

  2. I was looking for rental in 2008 and recall the same disbelief: rents that sounded exactly like mortgage payments and had nothing to do with reality.

    One guy downtown wanted me to pay $1400 for the privilege of being his room mate. That’s right: a $1400 bedroom.

    I emailed him and asked if he was flexible on the price, and he responded with an stressed and angry diatribe in which he laid out his costs. The 2-bedroom apartment was costing him $4600/month to keep, and that’s why in his mind $1400 for partial use of it was more than fair. He felt that I was looking for a free ride by not being willing to shoulder my portion of his financial burden.

    I suggested that the only room mate he was going to find who had $1400 cash to rent a bedroom but couldn’t afford a place of his own was going to be a drug dealer. No response.

  3. Craigslist has unrealistic prices. Lots of desperate amateur landlords that will never get their ask prices.

    Why not rent through a professional property management company?

    • UBCghettodweller

      Best advice in this thread.

      I know far too many people who have had horrible dealings with amateur landlords caught in mortgage payments the couldn’t make. The few people I know who rent from property management companies have not had any similar experiences.

      • Maybe I just had really bad luck but when I rented an apartment in a rental building dealing with the property management company was a nightmare. In the time I lived there we had 3 different property management companies and trying to get anything fixed was like pulling teeth. We eventually moved to a condo suite owned by an amateur LL and have no complaints asides from not being able to have a pet. The building and suite are newer so in 2 years I’ve only had to call them once and they fixed the issue right away. That said, I was very picky when searching for a new place to live and looked for well over a year.

        I also was originally searching for a 2bdrm but had to settle on a 1bdrm + den because of the prices. And I know others are in the same boat. I remember going to an open viewing of a 1bdrm + den and a woman there was measuring the small den to see if it could fit her kid’s bed.

    • LOL, there are a few townhomes for rent and sale at Kingsway /14th Ave in Burnaby….listed on MLS and Craigslist for last two years !!! Always overpriced for the hood of Edmonds ( after a year on the marker) they reduced the rental rates to $1600/month ( I think they were dreaming of $1800).You can rent 2bd app for $1100/month just down the street. Good example of developer unable to sell and holding in hope of better market…’s going to be a long wait.

    • Real Estate Tsunami


  4. My wife and I with a small baby just looked for a house over the last few months. We ended up in North Vancouver spending $3000 per month for a full small house. More than I wanted but at least it’s unshared. We’re extremely frustrated with the housing prices but think it’s better to rent for now that buy. $30K+ for one year in rent is not sustainable for us.

    This decline seems to be losing steam but I believe pricing will really started to tumble down 10-18% around October. We plan on buying then.

  5. Look east, look waaaaaay waaaaaay east and you can find a liveable detached for less than $1,500. But then you’re in Langley or Coquitlam. I agree, nice rentals are hard to find anywhere. We rent our place from some acquaintances, good landlords, get right on it to fix anything that we let them know about. I don’t think rental was in their minds when they installed hardwood through the whole upstairs though. We have two toddlers in the upstairs unit and I wouldn’t trade places with the people downstairs for all the tea in China.

    • I’ve not looked at rental rates in the TriCities for quite some time, but my recollection is that $2000 was about the bottom for rent on a decent house. You might be able to find a decaying shitbox for $1500, but nothing liveable, unless things have changed. You’ll have to go a lot further east than Coquitlam for that price I think.

  6. kagurazakaman

    Perhaps the external pressures to prices will be renters leaving Vancouver as well? A friend of mine bought a Cambie corridor 80 yo bungalow for $1.5 mil, renovated the “garden suite” and listed this dank, dark 2 bedroom suite for $1,800 / month. Students will like it he said, 6 months later, no takers and he isn’t budging on price. What student pays $900 / month on rent?

  7. Advertise your availability as a premium tenant, quiet, clean, reliable, respectful, long-term etc. (You are, right?) There are long-time owners with a good suite who are more concerned about quality of tenant than maximizing revenue. Not many, and most of them have their tenant already, but they do come up. Finding the right tenant is a big concern for them, they don’t really need the income so they can be picky, and advertising means they have to somehow wade through hordes of undesirables to find their diamond. Taking the initiative and advertising yourself will help.
    They are out there. But you can’t have mine!
    Be fully prepared to pay two rents for one month, that lets you take your time with no pressure to find a place, any place as the end of the month approaches. It also makes for an easy no-pressure move.

  8. CCRA has done NOTHING to address rental revenue fraud and tax evasion taking place in BC ( and I’m sure other provinces as well). Rent is taxable income….I don’t know any home owner who declares it.

    • They’re probably under strict “don’t ask don’t tell” orders from Carney.

      You don’t generally let strangers from Craigslist live in your basement unless you really need the cash flow.

      If CRA shows up in town and assess a few (hundred) thousand households for unpaid backtaxes, it would just be an extra (bale of) straw to break our camel’s back.

    • Because any rental income can be offset by expenses like interest and maintenance on the portion of the dwelling being rented out, as long as the rent is expected to at leas cover those costs. If you rent at a loss then you can’t claim the expenses and the entire rental amount is taxed.

      However, given the cost of enforcing this vs the benefits, and the fact that there are far more targets with much higher $$$ values, this probably doesn’t even appear on their top 10 or 20 lists of tax frauds to pursue.

      I have seen a lot of expert interviews on TV that claim that CRA will not go after a case unless the return on cost is 300%!! So rental income tax evasion from amateur landlords generally does not appear qualify on that part alone. Also there are way more tax cheats with higher values like construction contractors who makes $100K+ in cash over the last few years on side jobs on top of their paid jobs but didn’t pay any taxes, people who dodge taxes using offshore tax havens, all those satellite families who live in $2M+ house and drives $100K+ cars and declare no income, etc, etc.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Don’t forget that the capital gains on the portion of the property that’s a rental become taxable — that’s the non-trivial tax leakage.

      • Rental income can be offset by the appropriate % of mortgage interest, utilitites etc. But considering some of these landlords have huge mortgages, they actually may show a loss on thier tax return and that loss can, from what i remember, be applied to employment income. Which can result in a significant tax refund. That maybe why the CRA doesnt look into these.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        CRA won’t consider it a business if there isn’t a reasonable expectation of profit, in which case the expenses aren’t deductible. Keeps the horsey set from buying a spread in the country with a few ponies, calling it “farming” and writing off the losses against other income. But that doesn’t make the income non-taxable.

      • No capital gains if its also your principal residence.


        “You have a rental loss if your rental expenses are more than your gross rental income. If you incur the expenses to earn income, you can deduct your rental loss against your other sources of income.”

        I remember when i worked at a accounting office, that people were getting significant refunds because of this. But this was about 5 years ago. But most people would probably think otherwise and not declare the rental income.

  9. I gave this advice earlier to people looking for rent in Vancouver.
    We sold our place late 2009 when I thought the bubble has peaked and moved into a rental place.
    The landlord has “selected” us as renters through a mutual friend and we got it at a half-decent price, the TH was actually in good shape and close to transit but still a family friendly neighborhood. The agreement was that give that we received a rent which was slightly under the “market-value” as the owner put it, I will do small repairs as needed. The owner reimbursed me for materials but I did change a couple of faucets, painted a couple of doors, things like that. No problem with that.
    A couple of years later however he had a change of heart and suddenly demanded a lot more money. I was fully aware that he is not allowed to raised it by that much and let him know that such request is illegal. His answer the following week was a notice that basically gave us two month to get out on the grounds that he, the owner or his daughter was moving back into the place. Total BS of course, he just wanted to get more money for the place. I could have taken him to court after a new tenant moved in but with a small 2.5 year old child that was not what I was looking for, I just wanted a decent place to rent.
    Of course moving with a small child was a total headache and my wife was devastated that we have to move yet again. That’s when I started looking more into options and found Co-ops. When it comes to Co-ops people think subsidized housing for low-income earners. Not true. Some of the Co-ops are for low income people but others are not, in fact to get a place in those you have to have a decent income.
    It takes a bit of work to get into a Co-op, you need to apply and sometimes wait for month but not always. I was told by some people that I shouldn’t even try to apply because it takes years to get in. Not true. I applied to several of them and got interviews from 3 of them within a month. Out of the 3 we got offered a place in two of them and selected the one that worked best for us. A month later we moved in and couldn’t be happier.
    You have to do some work, map out the Co-op that work for you, in the area you are looking for, close to transit … Drive by and look at the buildings, talk to the people who live there. People who choose Co-op living are usually more open, willing to share information. They usually know if there are vacancies or if something is coming up shortly. Apply to those that you like best.
    Yes, there are some things about Co-op living that some people classify as negatives:
    1. You need to put down an amount, usually 1-3K to purchase shares in the Co-op. This gives you voting rights, you have a say in what is going on. Yes , you need to tie up this amount for as long as you live there but you do get it back in full when you move out.
    2. You are required to help out in maintaining the Co-op. This can be anything, they usually have committees that you can be part of and you can clean the hallways if you want or just do paperwork, or gardening or organize the recycle bins on pick-up days, or interview new applicant … the list is long and you’ll find something you like to do for sure.
    3. A couple times a year you are required to participate in general meetings to elect the board, vote for eventual increase in the monthly rent.
    We don’t see these as negatives. We love getting to know our neighbors, and we enjoy living in a place where people help out each other, organize events together (Christmas, Canada Day, Birthdays, Easter, events for kids …)
    The place is also well maintained, any issues are taken care of by the Maintenance committee or the outside contractor if needed.
    The thing I like about it most is that there is no landlord that can kick you out or raise your rent (rent raises are voted for by members and the monthly fees are kept at a certain % bellow market rates always).
    Not all Co-ops are created equal and yes, it does take some work to get into a good one BUT we couldn’t be happier now and it is absolutely worth it to have our piece of mind now. We love it, and our son loves it, he made lots of friends and plays with them daily (the Co-op has a great playground and grassy area, all fenced in for kids).
    We will stay here as long as prices come down to fundamentals, our low monthly fees allow us to save a lot of money and it is nice seeing our DP grow.
    One last thing for you, most Co-ops will also allow you small dogs or cats.
    Good luck.

    • Mike is quite right, some Co-ops are great. Due diligence of course, same as strata you are on the hook for any major repairs that come up. Contingency funds, inspections, pro-active maintenance, actively involved members…

      • You can ask them for information such as how much they have in contingency funds available before you accept to move in. Co-ops fund lots of repairs using grants available to them. For example the one we live in got hundreds of thousands in grants and roof, piping and some other things were completely re-done from grants. They have lots of money in the bank to maintain the building.

      • Well, hold on. Are you really “on the hook”? In the event that catastrophically expensive repairs were required could you not sell (or, at worst, abandon w/o repayment) your share in the co-op and sever all ties? It’s not like a strata in that respect at all. A business owner can’t be compelled to inject personal capital into a business – the remedy would be insolvency of the business or organization.

      • If there are major repairs the coop needs to refi , charge a surcharge, or default. Liability extends to the land, structure, reserves, and shares. Residents may choose to pay the repair bill or they can abandon. The lenders have no recourse against coop members.

        Coops usually get a higher finance rate because of their structure. Governments do not support new ones much, with a few exceptions, so it is difficult to form a coop that’s competitive in the market. Most are legacy from past policy directives of previous governments no longer in force.

        The waiting list is true — many coops will interview quickly after application, if you are going to apply ask around online and elsewhere to get under the hood of what they’re really like. It is not a rental, those who treat it like one end up displeased.

    • Mike, thanks for all this helpful information!

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Condense your post.
      It’s toooooooo long!

  10. So true…..I can totally relay.

    I lived in Kits for 4 years in a house owned by an amateur landlord (so bad). I had an awesome roommate for the first 3.5 years and rent was cheap ($700).

    He moved out and I went through 2 other roommates…..disaster.

    I decided to look around for another rental.

    What a piece of work….but got lucky.

    I came across an awesome 1 bed room apt in the South Granville area company owned and professionally managed.

    They did a credit check, called my current and previous employer, called my last 2 landlords.

    I guess they were a bit skeptical because of the way I look. (Dreadlocks and facial piercings).

    I will never look back….planning on staying there for a very long time.

  11. I think I can help. Go and have a look through the listings at Kijiji Vancouver. There are about 1500 listings there tonight and some are pretty decent by the looks of it. The sort function works nicely too.

    Kijiji Vancouver

    About those horribly high rental prices…..well you will probably have to just take it in stride. It is going to take time for the trickle down effect to take place where accidental landlords acknowledge that there are not enough tenants to fill all the spaces available.

    These guys (ex-flippers and speckers who could not sell) will be the slowest to take price cuts. The reason is that they are setting rental rates according to what they need and not what the market will bear.

    So they will hold out despite their places being empty month after month. Does not matter to them because mostly they are too stupid to do the simple math that would tell them it is better to rent for less with full occupancy than to rent for a high price and have the place go moldy.

    But that education is a slow one and honestly it can take a couple years even without economic stress to get them motivated to think differently. Keep in mind rents are sticky just like home prices. In the US the big drops in rents did not appear until unemployment was peaking. It was only after many tenants ran into financial difficulty or became slow payers and a large numbers of vancancies came on the market that landlords began to budge on price.

    In other words, it was crisis driven. We don’t have a crisis.

  12. I live in South Surrey and I rent a house. Do not accept their asking price always negotiate. We recently renegotiated our down 16%. The house next door went up for rent at a much lower price when they had a hard time finding someone to rent it out. We explained to our landlord that we were kindly asking for a rent reduction because we could rent the house next door for $700 less. So many folks bought rental or speculation homes over the last few years that there are a lot of vacant rentals and empty homes for sale. Remember they want good tenant as much as you need a home to live in. I found our rental on Craigslist. Renting through an agency will add hundreds of dollars to your rent as these agencies get about 10% of he rent.

  13. I See Dead Sheeple

    Hey VREAA,

    Looks like Berlin real estate is being “Vancouverized” as it’s now seen a a safe haven for international capital, or as our friend Cam McNeill call it “A Swiss bank account of international real estate.”

    I have a feeling Berlin’s politicians won’t sit back and let investor money steamroll a generation of their citizens the same way ours have.

    • I wanted to buy a flat in Berlin 5 years ago but my wife would not go for it. A few years ago the Danes were pouring into Berlin RE and now it is the Italians, trying to protect their Euros.

  14. @ VREAA

    Why do my comments never make it through moderation?

    I never use profanities and am rarely belligerent. 😉

    • HD -> You’ll note I’ve released your comment as soon as you brought this to my attention.
      I have no idea why it was held up. Definitely nothing personal.
      I don’t fully understand the mod filters yet — as I’ve said before, some of my own comments get held up at times…

    • Dimitri Tishchenko

      It must be the dreadlocks and piercings 🙂

  15. I asked a professional rental management company to help me find a rental. I like their website and the type of listings they attract. She said that it was a conflict of interest with her clients. The best was when she said “You are a customer, landlords are my clients”. I suggested that getting to know the renter base might help her to serve her “clients”. This view was somewhat accepted, but rather than the open-ended relationship I had proposed, we reverted back to, “Which listing do you want to look at?”

  16. By the way, if anyone is looking for a two-bedroom main floor of a post-war house in North Vancouver I can help. Old but well kept, 900 sqft + garage and attic storage; huge, flat, grass yard and patio. About $1400, not sure if landlady is raising rent. Gas fireplace and all new windows. Good for kids. Contact me on twitter or here.

  17. Cyril Tourneur

    Get over your transit obsession. Buy a car and look in the burbs. Lots of beautiful homes available for rent at reasonable rates once outside of Vancouver proper.

    • prepare to die in a hail of fixed gear bikes and black thick framed glasses

    • Quote “Get over your transit obsession”

      Amen. Transit is like CostCo: it’s only cheaper if you assume that it’s cheaper and don’t run the numbers.

      A bus pass for me would be costlier than my fuel bill, which is not a trivial amount. Transit is also not cost-effective when you consider the huge amount of extra time spent per year: possibly hundreds of hours, depending on what you use it for.

      Transit *should* be taxpayer-subsidized proletarian transport, but has instead swollen to an unwieldly, unaffordable, and powerful institution that now even owns an armed police force.

      During the last 10 years, Vancouver wages and purchasing power have been basically flat, but the price of taking the bus has been increased by a huge amount (I can’t remember — perhaps 50%?) to pay for all this expansion.

      And fare increases notwithstanding, there is still not automated fare enforcement (fare gates). The stand-ins for a few fare gates are legions of polar-fleeced, ticket-writing, fare checkers. (The Security force they own that works alongside their police force, not to be confused with the third force that are just patrollers.)

      Is paying all of those union salaries, benefits, severance, and pensions actually cost effective relative to putting in fare gates? Never mind that, single mother who takes the train to work, and please fork over $170/mo ($2040/year!) for your bus pass.

      Improve your life by boycotting this powerful and wasteful institution: Spend $5k on a Toyota Echo that will last you 5 years, change the oil and keep the tires inflated, and you will forget all about proximity to transit.

      Freeing yourself from transit also frees you from living in a neighborhood that is (statistically) populated by undesirables. Define that term as you wish!

      • …”that now even owns an armed police force.”…

        That made my day, BB.

        “All your TransitTokens (remember those, DearReaders?) are belong to us. Papers please.”

        [NoteToEd: I thoroughly enjoy public transit but I would vastly prefer armed passengers to roving SwatTeams of RetiredVPD. Needless to say, the trick – as regards CCW – is excluding SubstanceAbusers, those requiring AngerManagement counseling or, generally speaking, anyone with poor hand-eye coordination and/or ReactionTime problems. Hmmm… if everyone could live close enough to their DayJob and suitable amenities to WalkTheCommute and/or essential domestic/social journeys we could just dispense with all that nonsense altogether. Couldn’t we?]

        Sam Campagna: Frank, The President sent his limo for you.
        Lilly Raines: Well, that’s the least he could do.
        Frank Horrigan: Good, I love public transportation.

  18. I find that in some walkable neighbourhoods, the best way is shoe leather. The landlords renting with a sign in the window at a reasonable price don’t want to be swamped with Craigslist applicants, because they are looking for people in-neighbourhood.

    Another place to look is Marpole/Oakridge. Still cheaper rents in some (not all) houses or apartments, but now has Canada Line.

    Cheapest rents in the city are Killarney and Fraserview.

    • ( Houses in Killarney often go for less than on North Shore, for example, and are in-zone if you’re commuting to work in Vancouver.)

      • pricedourfornow

        We looked at a house for rent a few months ago for $1750 per month (whole house, not just the top or bottom). It was a bad time for us to move so we didn’t (looking at the selection now, I regret it). I often see whole houses for rent there for $1800-2200 in that area. Sure, the houses are older (50-60 years), but you shouldn’t feel too bad about renting a house for $2000 a month that someone else would pay over $1 million for.

      • Personally, I like houses 50-60 years old best. Sometimes character, and so many built after the 80s are not much more than plywood tents. Not all, of course, but I’m not a builder! I like updated energy efficient windows, though.

      • ( The house I’m living in now is 90. I LOVE it, but I must admit the electrical sucks. )

  19. vamcouverbubbleman

    there are hundreds of empty houses on the westside that are owned by HAM. my wife and i rent a house for cheaper than anything west of renfrew st. i would go drop some notes in the mail slots of these homes. they will rent to you as they are all underwater now and actually want some money coming in- they dont advertise though

  20. Most professional management companies have web-sites that list all their available rentals – everything from store fronts to apartments to houses. At least by going through a company you know who to contact when things need to be looked after and you don’t have to deal with “accidental” landlords.

    • Correct. I am not sure why it’s so difficult for some people to browse through these websites… Way better (more reliable, safe and usually cheaper) than Craigslist.

  21. My advice, short and sweet.

    Leave Vancouver. There is nothing for you there at the moment. The city has lost its soul and unfortunately shows no sign of finding in the near future.

    • Ralph Cramdown

      As an outside observer, I’d opine that Vancouver still has its soul but has lost its wallet. But I agree with the bit about moving to greener pastures if you haven’t figured out how to make it pay well there.

  22. As a landlord, I can tell you it’s hard to find a good tenant. Even the one I currently rent to, he’s a student, but he has his gf and his mother over all the time (in a small 400 sq foot studio). I don’t mind as he hasn’t bothered me in the past few months and he pays his rent on time. I’m not raising his rent because he hasn’t bothered me and other people (workers) who have entered his suite has told me he’s actually kept it quite clean, better than most others. I’d rather make less than risk trying to find another problem tenant. Not that that extra 1000 a month really makes a difference for me. As soon as he moves out, I’m taking back the suite. Too much hassle for too little gain.

    • …doesn’t sound like a hassle at all. Unless you left out some big parts of that story, I guess.

    • Damn those young men wanting their girlfriends and moms to visit!

      • TeeHee!

        [NoteToEd: I woul imagine that from a LandLord’s perspective, tenants can be as Hit&Miss as AdultEducation. At first glance, what might initially look good on paper won’t always ‘read that well’. Discuss, SeñorCabellero!]

  23. Tut, tut, yes how do us poor beknighted residents of this transit-deprived “rainforest” ever manage to survive without the benefits of Toronto the Good.

    • Ralph Cramdown

      Look, I realize that Abbotsford would only be a few stops past Oakville or Burlington (or Downsview? WHERE are you guys again?) but you have to realize that in the current political environment, we have no money to build subways further out. Unless our casino gets approved…

  24. i rented in Toronto and Vancouver. and Vancouver landlords are so amateur and greedy, Vancouver is a very strange place, i’ll never get the people here… way too worried about money

    • Oh man….real estate is so confusing. From the Vancouver Sun on the same date as your article we have this lettle gem from Cameron Muir…..

      “Muir’s estimate is that with sales down for such a long period, there are enough potential buyers who have put off decisions that there is what economists call “pent-up demand” building in the market and “it’s not a matter of if, but when home sales rise above their current pace.”

      Yep…you read that right. Cam says there is “pent-up demand”. This after an 8% YOY decline in prices since last February and a crash (24% YOY) in the number of sales in that same timeframe for the region.

      Don’t miss the part where they also tell us that South Okanagan sales “crashed” 33% or that Dawson Creek was off a stunning 38%. But hey….it’s only numbers we’re talkin here. Nothing to worry about at all.

      Cam suggests buyers are revving their engines. Vroooom Vroooom!!!

      • I’ve never experienced “pent-up demand” in that context, Farmer…

        But if you’d seen the Russians tailing me tonight, you’d truly grasp that concept.

  25. Wasn’t there just a post here about renting a place for $2200 that would cost $4400/month in mtge payments? Isn’t it pretty much agreed that owners are subsidizing renters? I’m sure I’ve hear that, and based on the sales prices/rental income, it’s an argument that makes a lot of sense.


  26. I’ll be the first to admit, the lower end rentals are brutal. Basement suites, wood-frame walkups, etc. Most landlords don’t renovate or they try to do their own renovations *sigh*.
    However, on the higher end, $2000 and up, there are very nice units and some desperate landlords looking for renters.
    Go to viewings armed with your own credit report and even your pay statement. Negotiate on the spot. Asking rent is not market rent. As a landlord myself, I don’t mind rather shave $100/month off the rent to get a better tenant.
    For apartments, visit the building, at night. Identify the problem units. These are the ones where people are drinking and smoking on the balcony well into the night, having parties, and playing loud music.
    Anyway, I’ve been renting for 5-years now and when this condo gets old and beat up, heck I just move across the street to a newer one.
    Thanks home owe-ners!

    • …”These are the ones where people are drinking and smoking on the balcony well into the night, having parties, and playing loud music.”…

      I couldn’t agree more, K92. After all, what point is there in having lonely dullards for neighbors.

      Oh. You said “problem units”. My bad.

  27. Looking for a 5 bedroom westside home to rent for my large family but seem to be running into mostly student housing and HIGH prices. I would like to spend under $3600/mo. I saw one last week…$5000/mo and the owner keeps a room in the basement…not kidding. Rental agencies have been no help. Any thoughts? Prefer longer lease…seems everything is short term as they want to tear down and rebuild or for rent with a for sale sign in front of the house.

  28. Depending on the size of your family, I would strongly discourage you from renting SFH. Most SFHs are rented out by desperate amateur landlords.
    Thankfully, the apartment rental market has changed during the last few years. We now have high end rental building so you no longer have to live in a smelly apartment building with cheap white appliances.

    I live in a 2 level apartment with stainless steel appliances, crown mouldings, high end light fixtures, ensuite bathroom. I do not have to worry about being evicted because landlord needs to sell since it is a rental building. I always have visitors ask me if it is a condo building and they are shocked when they learn these are just apartments. I do not have to put up with shady characters you would find in the traditional cheap apartment building – place is full of working professionals. Even our underground parking with Audis and Beemas is an indication that these are people who rent out of choice and not because of a lack of cash or poor credit.

    Luckily my family can make do with a 2 bedroom apartment. Most apartments only go up to 3 bedrooms. Those with big families really do not have that much access to quality rentals since they have to get a SFH.

    • Kids shared rooms for centuries they can bloody well do so today if need be.

      • Pricedoutfornow

        Doesnt work so great when u have kids who are in different age groups and also different sexes (we have a toddler and a preteen-no way they can share).was browsing bc housing Site-even their policy allows for separate rooms for children of opposite sexes over age 5.COntemplating how those in this social housing have more space than many in my condo building (owners,mostly) who are often sharing 5 to a 2 bed condo! The things people will do so they can ‘own’!

      • “No way they can share”

        Sure they can. Children should be made to suffer, it’s an important part of growing up.

        Housing bubbles seem to be the modern-day adult equivalent. This blog highlights the complex.

      • blahblahblah

        Can I interest you in some co-housing?

    • Would you mind naming the rental company you rent from? I am looking for a nice 2 bedroom.

  29. Can you leave more details on which rental management company you used or the website? I also will be looking for a place to rent soon.

  30. VREAA,
    I have compiled a very extensive list for down payments, amortizations, GDS ratios, and various loan programs of the years dating back to 1918. There is a lot of info, so I did not want to paste the whole article. But I know there are many people who would like the info. Many data junkies will like this. Feel free to use as you wish.

    • UBCghettodweller

      Again Kevin, great work…. or maybe it’s my data junkie-ism speaking.

      • Thanks. I have been working on it for the last month. Without a doubt, the time period of 2003 until now, has been a time of very easy lending criteria. For anybody who thinks that lending is too restrictive right now and should be eased, knows nothing of mortgage lending history in this country.

    • Ralph Cramdown

      That IS great. I didn’t know that the 35 and 40 year products were allowed to be non-amortizing for 10 years — maybe that’s what the BK from a few days ago meant when she said she’d been paying her 0/40 for five years and hadn’t paid down a dime of principal.

      Another related tidbit: I inquired several years ago about putting 20% down for a conventional mortgage and Scotiabank, unprompted, offered to do it as a HELOC instead — which would have been a non-amortizing readvanceable loan at 80% LTV, essentially an option ARM. If I recall correctly, they were offering a mortgage at 4.25% or the HELOC at 4%

      I haven’t heard too many people decrying the recent tightening who weren’t plainly talking the real estate industry’s book, or pointing out (rightly in my opinion) that if buying slows down, building will slow down, and there’s a LOT of people employed building.

  31. We are in search of a new place for over two years!! We stuck in this so called “garden level suite “in north Vancouver, but I am telling ya, it is the worst nightmare we have ever had. The tenants upstairs are the worst people we have ever known. They party all the time, walk like giants, scared of being alone, have friends visiting them every single day , no need to mention there are some deals going on with strangers visiting in the late nights. And if we complained once, we got harassment once.
    Our landlord doesn’t want to do anything for us, not helping with the noise and harassment problems nor fixing the house up.
    This is an old house with some kind of black coloured mold going on, carpet is like many years old and has lots of things in it that we spend twice a day to vacuum it with a 500 dollars vacuum, and it is still disgusting.
    The fence is falling down, the garage has a rat nest because of the other tenants leaving all their garbage in it.
    Our landlord only wants to receive the rent on time every month without wanting to pay any responsibility as a LL.
    Along with having a fur baby living with us as a family member, it makes it even harder, just type in dog/ cat allowed on CL jacks up the price for few hundred right away and the condition of the suites is usually pretty trashy.
    The situation got so bad with the other tenants that the cops have to get involved, and the LL still keeps silent and avoid talking to us. We had to call them for so many days before we succeeded in dropping off a written note of ending tenancy notice.
    Now they are trying to rent out the place as soon as they can and of course the rent is way too much for what it is.
    The LL is not being honest about the suite and living situation in the ad, and I am worry for the people who will be renting this suite after us.
    For what it is, it makes me so insecure with the whole living situation in Vancouver. It seems to me there is no security if you don’t have a bit of extra cash with you to spend for everything that is all over priced here.
    Somebody started a website for the LL for bad tenants report, but how about a bad LL dot com or something for us who care to have a chance to find a good place with some responsible LLs?! The whole situation is really depressing!!!

  32. Whipmaster~kerthwack

    OP comment – “It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income (so much for their faith in real estate appreciation, eh?). ”
    …. OP, you have a bad attitude. Could that be part of the problem? If so, it’s your problem.
    Also, for the rest of you…”over priced” asking rent is sometimes used as a way to weed out undesirables…. are you one of them?

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