“I’m an international student. When I moved here I asked for advice about the best place for me to live. I needed something close to my lab at VGH and also near to UBC, and Kitsilano sounded great. I was told to search on Craigslist, even though I’d heard it could be a bit sketchy. I thought, ‘How bad could it be’?
“The first apartments I viewed didn’t work out. They were closets downtown, or rooms separated in half by curtains. Then I found this house that seemed almost too good to be true. It was a great location, and the ad said that there were a few international people staying there. I never had a chance to Skype with the landlady, but we talked over Facebook Messenger. She seemed nice, and said that I’d have to pay a deposit right then. I did.
“When I got there, I found that there were more than 10 people living in the house. It was the smallest place on the street, and it didn’t look like it could hold so many tenants, but somehow it did. I think there was supposed to be five bedrooms, but the landlady had made plywood or fake walls, and then pushed a lot of people in a big basement. During one month I was there, we had 14 people staying. It was cramped, but I’d paid my deposit so I thought I’d stick it out.
“The first few weeks were okay. Everyone there was really nice. No one locked the doors, and people didn’t steal from each other. It was quite hippie, but nice. The landlady wasn’t around a lot, and that was cool. But then it started getting weird.
“She started moving more and more of her stuff into the house, even though she didn’t live there. She kept taking things from us. At one point, we had a washing machine and a dryer, and then all of a sudden it vanished. We got a new one that we paid for, but she told us we couldn’t have it because the neighbours were complaining. I have a suspicion she took it and sold it.
“She kept pushing more and more people into the house until it didn’t feel safe. Out of nowhere, six new international people would suddenly show up. Some would just stay in a van on the front yard, and she would charge $500 a week just for the sake of having them somewhere. Every now and again, a random person would wander in, and when we asked them who they were, they said they were there to view a room. The landlady wouldn’t say they were coming round, and after we tried to call her, she’d tell us to show them the house even though we didn’t know which room they were meant to be seeing.
“What pushed me over my limit was when she started doing odd renovations and spray painting everything. I’d go down and look at the basement, and the whole place would suddenly be bright pink, and the door would be sprayed gold. Then half the bathroom would be silver. It was just so strange.
“I found out she wasn’t technically the landlord, but was acting as a property manager. The weird thing was that I paid rent to her 16-year-old son. He would meet me on a street with two big dogs, and I would give him an envelope of money. She didn’t want to have any electronic transfers or any documentation of the rent. I don’t think she wanted the money to be able to be traced. We didn’t know who owned the place, but it looked like she handed over the rent to a guy who would randomly pull up in a van about once a month.
“I was there for five months. I definitely stayed too long, but it was tough because everything else I saw wasn’t even a room—it was a wardrobe with a curtain—or it would be really far away from my work. It was hard to find something.
“I was glad when I finally left. I haven’t been by the house since, but it’s tempting to walk past and see if it’s still standing.”
– whole story from Renters of Vancouver: “I paid rent to her 16-year-old son”, Kate Wilson, Georgia Straight, 10 Mar 2018
What a sad commentary on life for a good tenant. The RTA gives tenants and landlords proper rights and responsibilities, but a bureaucratic process, lack of real enforcement and a brutal market for rentals gives landlords all the power.
I always wonder how people who conduct business like this live with themselves, then I remember the tendencies of the sociopath that equip people for success in the CEO’s office. All people can do is try to move on, no easy task as this person’s search experience has shown.
In my years as a landlord, we rented out a suite in our aged East Vancouver at a rate modestly below market. People would line up to rent our place, and send us emails begging us to rent to them. It was an indication of the brutal rental market people face.
There is some rental stock coming on the market, for the first time in over twenty years. Some is market priced, some is at the city of Vancouver’s pretty laughable “affordable” rates which seem woefully ignorant of wages and salaries in this part of the world. We will see if it turns out to be a drop in the bucket, or whether the renter situation sees some kind of improvement.
Guy stayed 5 months. I wouldn’t have stayed 5 minutes.
The Vancouver rental market is not brutal because of genuine, healthy demand. It is brutal because of the absurdly inflated cost of buying. Prohibitive prices artificially force would-be buyers into renting.
Of course, all of this is temporary.
And yes, Keith, if you price anything below market, expect to see strong demand.
“Temporary”? People in this city earning a living wage are living in their cars to save on rental costs. Do you foresee a mass exodus from this region? And btw, it wasn’t mere strong demand, it was desperation.
What this article underscores, if it is to be believed, is the hyper desirability of Vancouver. It would be nice if the piece were fleshed out a bit. Is the photo of the person in fact the teller of this tale? If so, where is she from, and why choose to come here? Are there no schools worthy of her intellect in her neck of the woods? What did she expect to find here? Did she do zero research? Did she have parents that gave her guidance in life? It’s freakin’ expensive to be a foreign student – just tuition is 40 large for one year. Who paid? Guessing it was daddy-o. Parents screwed up raising this one.
Bears repeating, Arnie is a sociopath.
Ninja: the Sour Grapes Troll.
Missed out on one of the greatest runups in real estate in the history of the world; in one of the greatest cities in the world. Completely missed the boat.
Worried about getting evicted from his basement suite with his SPCA mutt. The Sour Grapes Troll. Bitter. Lashing out.
Edited for accuracy:
Ninja: The Bullsh*t Destroyer.
Smartly sidestepped one of the most egregious speculative bubbles in the history of the world; in one of the most mediocre cities in the world. Invested instead in fundamentally sound enterprises, now semi-retired and not facing imminent financial apocalypse.
Totally unworried about getting evicted from his single family home in beautiful Palo Alto. The Bullsh*t Destroyer. Happy with life. Dropping truth.
What do you call someone who hates animal shelters and “mutts”? A sociopath. That’s what.
It’s remarkable how, in the deluded & intellectually challenged minds of bulls, temporary price increases confer attractiveness to a place. Backwards logic. Like attributing intelligence to a lottery winner.
I toured one just like that when I was in University.
The basement had been made into a honeycomb of rooms using 3/8ths plywood.
I think it was in Kerrisdale but I can’t remember.
would’ve used 1/2″ at least – wasn’t me … https://tinyurl.com/ybfo5nho
Ninja has his terms mixed up. That’s not called sidestepping. It’s called twerking. Ninja and his dog – shaking their tails in their basement rental in Vancouver. Good times until the landlord kicks them out.
Chile-con-Arnie’s “comebacks” are the best.
Why are you people even trying to move to Vancouver and Victoria BC? The insane real estate prices and other living expenses will destroy your soul along with whatever social life you aspire to, because you will not be able to afford any. The job wages are cheap and crappy compared to the expense level. Do all of you enjoy paying more to get back less compared to other Canadian cities?
3248 22nd Ave E: new listing – $600K over assessed. A caca cacophonous location. A despicable typical vile Van Spec. Bought in 2015 for $800K under current ask. Two loser agents sharing their one and only loser listing. Just one has her mug shot – seriously weird-looking. The other doesn’t post their mug. Thumbs up to that.
hello fellow carnage contagion cosmologists … btc tending to be leading lately … if prev low goes out, maybe signaling something more significant … glta