Would you pay $1,000 a month for a room in a house with 20 other tenants?
How about to sleep in a tent in the backyard?
In yet another sign of just how tight Vancouver’s rental market is, that situation is exactly what one renter says she’s putting up with, and she says she’s at her wit’s end.
Christina Monaco has been living in the 13-bedroom home at 511 West 65th Avenue since last year, when she said she was told she’d be sharing it with just a few people.
“Only two to three roommates… And turns out there’s more and more,” she said.
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She told Global News that she and her boyfriend are among 21 people who live in the house, where rent averages $1,000 per month per person.
It’s an extreme squeeze, but one Monaco feels like she has little choice but to accept given competition int he rental market; according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) latest figures, Vancouver has a 0.9 per cent rental vacancy rate.
“There’s one person that lives here, he– there’s three people in a room, and they pay $1,200,” Monaco said.
“[The landlord] wants to rent to [people] from other countries, because they don’t know English, they don’t know the law.”
Monaco stopped sleeping in her room and moved into a tent in the backyard because she said the house is dirty and noisy, and she was fed up with sharing common spaces with so many people.
But while she may not have four walls and a roof, Monaco says she’s still being charged the same rent as everyone else.
“I still pay $1,000 for staying out here,” she said.
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The property manager wouldn’t go on camera, but disputes Monaco’s claim that 21 people live in the house.
She said there are actually 14 or 15 occupants, most of them international students with working visas who are doing short-term rentals.
Asked about permits for this situation, she said she wasn’t clear about it.
She added that the home — like several others she owns and operates — is scheduled for demolition in the next few months.
The City of Vancouver said it’s aware of the house, and that it is “currently undertaking enforcement action under the zoning and development by-law.”
“A property use inspector will visit the home to determine if there are any additional bylaw violations to be addressed,” it added in a written statement.
Back in May, the city said it was investigating more than 1,500 illegal short-term rental listings that were in violation of its new regulatory scheme.
However, an investigation won’t do much in the meantime for Monaco, who said she plans to put up with the situation because she, her boyfriend and her cats have nowhere else to go.
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