Vancouver’s rental crisis is seemingly worse than expected, as new data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2014 market rental report cited vacancy rates to be as low as 0.3%.
The study specifically mentioned the West End and Downtown. Last year, the rate was 0.9%
“We’ve seen that in the West End, where landlords have pushed longer-term tenants out knowing there are other renters out there hungry to take the suite at whatever price possible,” NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said.
“The incredibly low vacancy rate of 0.3% increases the number of landlords acting badly. They know they can kick people out and make more money.”
The situation is also putting long-term tenants at risk of losing their homes, Metro News reported.
“There’s all this competition for rental housing [from rents] and nothing is being built,” said Tom Durning, advocate at the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre.
“Anything under three per cent is not a healthy market. Supply is scarce; many landlords have the upper hand. It’s not a balanced housing situation in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson hopes to alleviate demand by building 1,000 rental units per year for the next four years, but studio units may come as high as $1,400.
A recent report from B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association noted that Canadians who can secure rental housing are increasingly struggling to make ends meet, with nearly half paying rent prices more than the recommended affordability limit of 30% of their gross income.
The data added 25% of renters spend more than 50% of their income on rent.

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