Renters in Greater Victoria face more harsh challenges, a new study shows. While renters living in the region consider Victoria home, 77 per cent said they would stay if they had a choice, but with high rent and low availability 76 per cent said it is somewhat likely they will be forced to leave due to housing pressure.
“People feel that even if they have housing, their number will soon be up,” says Cameron Welch of Victoria Tenant Action Group. “And when it is, being forced out into this housing crisis is like being thrown to the wolves. So they’re stuck, they’re always stressed out, and they’re vulnerable to being exploited.”
The study by Community Social Planning Council of Victoria and the Victoria Tenants Action Group revealed the tight housing market in Victoria means renovicitons, demovictions, discrimination, living in poor quality housing and increased vulnerability for renters.
Taking the survey online and in-person round-tables, 500 renters took part highlighting the critical impact of affordability and lack of availability has on renters, the high levels of discrimination and feeling trapped in poor conditions.
More than 90 per cent of participants reported high rent as barrier to finding housing, 55 per cent cited and increasing cost as a threat to remaining in their current home and 47 per cent did not ask for repairs out of fear it would negatively impact their tenancy — one participant noted than after telling their landlord they needed pest control, an appraiser was called.
Nearly half of the participants felt they had been in a living situation in which their rights were violated, only one eighth had chosen to go through dispute resolution as most renters lack confidence they’ll be protected under the Residential Tenancy Branch. Citing impacts on life, unpredictability of outcome, uncertainty about the law and time as reasons for their reluctance.
“The CSPC did this study because the real experiences of renters are lost in policy dialogues, meaning well-intended policies are often misaligned,” says Diana Gibson, Senior Researcher with the Community Social Planning Council. “Anyone engaged in housing policy and planning will want to look at this data.”
The report includes policy priorities indicated by renters and a call for more action by the municipal and provincial governments.
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