Polishing up the ol’ rental resumé

In her rental resumé, Robyn describes herself as an engineer who enjoys camping, hiking, surfing, cooking and reading. Her roommate, Kaila, is described as a human resources manager who likes hiking, cooking and skiing.

They are both quiet, non-smokers, have no pets, and work professional jobs with a combined income of more than $100,000.

And yet, despite having ideal tenant qualities — and a printed resumé outlining them — the two struggle to get viewings of apartments in Vancouver.

A post would go up online, and one hour later it would be taken down, Robyn explained, as she divided a growler of craft raspberry beer into four glasses for a group of us girls last week.

Or a suite would look promising, but other renters desperate for a home would outbid them in price.

One place on Victoria Drive and East 15 Avenue had 40 groups go through it in one day, with visits scheduled every five minutes.

“How are all these people going to be housed?” she asked.

They also had to watch out for the nice looking, affordable places. Those posts were usually just fronts for illegal Airbnbs.

Robyn had invited the three of us over to her friend’s stuffy one-bedroom East Vancouver apartment to help her unpack her things in her new home — aka her friend’s living room — where she is staying until she and Kaila find a place of their own.

This apartment — featuring the original fireplace, kitchen and bathroom from when it was built in 1980 — is a steal of a deal, at only $1,000 per month, Robyn told us. The only reason it is that cheap is because her friend moved in three years ago, before rental prices went crazy.

And not surprisingly, Robyn was not the only millennial at the table with rental woes.

Alex’s boyfriend was just transferred out of town for work, meaning she now has to pay $1,200 rent for their one-bedroom apartment on East Broadway by herself.

Taryn, who also lives on her own in East Van, quipped that there should be a tax credit for single renters in the city.

“You basically have to be in a relationship to get by in Vancouver,” she said.

As for me — the black sheep of the group who doesn’t live in the city — I, too, am feeling the effects of the rental crisis out here in the Fraser Valley.

My roommate and I have lived in a basement suite in Clayton Heights for over a year, but recently the house was sold.

The new owners informed us they would be raising our rent by 50 per cent. When we explained that, by law, they couldn’t do that, they evicted us on the basis that they need the suite for their business.

While we have three months to find a new home, a quick look at listings online already has me in a panic.

I am astounded by how much rent has increased in Langley and Surrey in the past year.

On PadMapper, there is a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Yorkson advertised at $1,935 per month, and it will cost $1,800 per month for a two bedroom, two bathroom at the Varsity apartments in Langley City. In Clayton Heights, a tiny two bedroom, one bathroom basement suite is going for $1,100.

And even more maddening, when searching for “Langley” apartments in PadMapper, 19 of the 28 listings were for Airbnbs, not long-term rentals.

It’s no wonder one-third of Canadians aged 20-34 still live with their parents, according to 2016 census data. I hope my roommate and I don’t become part of that statistic.

But if I even hope to be considered for an available unit, it may be time to start polishing up my own rental resumé.


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