It seemed like an impossible deal by Lower Mainland standards: a four-bedroom home for just $1,600.
But according to one B.C. man, while it wasn’t impossible — it certainly wasn’t a deal either.
Instead, as Jason Jones explained to CKNW’s The Jon McComb Show, the Abbotsford home was more like something from “a perfect horror movie-type dream.” And he said it’s a sign of just how bad the rental market is getting.
Jones, his wife and their two kids currently have a home, but were hoping to find something more affordable for their family.
When he spotted the four-bedroom listing on Craigslist, he thought he’d hit the jackpot. That quickly changed when they went to have a look.
“The house is livable-looking form the outside, some garbage around and stuff in the garage from some old tenants but we thought to ourselves, ‘It’s OK, we can make an offer, we’ll clean it up,'” he said.
As he and his wife entered the home, things started to look worse — but he said they stayed hopeful, thinking that a little elbow grease could turn the place around.
That was before they saw the shag carpet — which he said didn’t appear to have been replaced, or even cleaned, since the 1980s.
“Obviously, with that type of carpet, we knew there’s something living in it,” Jones said.
“[I saw what] was, I thought at first, cigarette ashes or something on the floor, so I looked closely. It was poop.”
The condition of the home was enough to make another couple who were viewing it essentially run out the front door, Jones said.
But he said he and his wife weren’t truly shocked until they saw the bathroom.
“As you walk in, the smell gets you. It’s like something was living on the walls, just creeping over the walls,” he said.
“There may have been a three-square-foot chunk that maybe didn’t have mould on it. We actually looked again, thinking maybe it was wallpaper, but no, it was mould.”
Jones said he’d seen small amounts of mould in other rentals, but nothing that couldn’t be cleaned. He said in comparison, this house was in a league of its own.
At that point, Jones said he and his wife decided to confront the landlord, who allegedly responded by telling them that the house was in “move-in” condition, and that the family could just avoid the rooms with the mould in them.
Jones said that prices are so high in the Fraser Valley that you need a dual income to be able to afford the rent of many available homes, which is why his family jumped at the opportunity to rent a four-bedroom home for $1,600 a month.
He said he decided to share his story because he’s afraid that someone desperate enough in Metro Vancouver’s tight housing market might move in and end up with health issues as a result.
“For every one person looking for a house, there are 50 to 100 people right behind you,” he said.
Indeed, it appears someone else did take the place. The owner, who wouldn’t give his name but answered the phone number on the Craigslist posting said the unit has now been rented.
He defended the property by saying the portion seen in Jones’ pictures is from a different part of the house built by previous owners, and that the home overall was in good condition.