With the start of the academic year just one week away, students without housing have to face the time crunch.
Student housing has been a key concern within the affordable housing crisis in Peterborough.
Being home to both Trent University and Fleming College, the city currently accommodates upwards of 12,613 students. Residential living spaces provided by both institutions require the students to move out following the end of their first year, and start looking for accommodations off-campus.
But it seems there’s more to the crisis than just a shortage of accommodations. Provincewide eviction laws could be the reason why some landlords in Peterborough are skeptical about renting to students.
“It’s a very, very expensive process,” said Jean-Guy (J.G.) Francoeur, chief executive officer of Visture Property Groups, a local property management office in Peterborough. “If something goes wrong.. It would take five to 10,000 dollars to evict anyone.”
The difficulty in evicting a tenant could make landlords wary of students, says Bob Babcock, registered condominium manager and paralegal at Babcock and Robinson in Peterborough.
“In most cases we’d be looking for someone who has an income that is attached if they didn’t pay. Students often are looking for a nine-month rental deal, and of course a student doesn’t typically have much of a credit history.”
Both Babcock and Francoeur say the process of evicting a tenant in Ontario could take anywhere from three to five months. In other provinces, they said, a troublesome tenant could be out the door in a month. They say if you’re a landlord, taking a chance on a student who has hefty bills to pay probably wouldn’t be their first option.
WATCH: Tent city residents in Peterborough worried about eviction
Still, popular rental site Kijiji is littered with student ads requesting accommodations, with most students asking for price range between $400 to $700 per month in the city. The issue is, that’s a lot less than what the landlords are willing to accept. Some rental ads on the site are going up for close to $1,300.
That gap in pricing may be attributed to how expensive it is to obtain a rooming house licence, Babcock and Francoeur confirm.
“You have multiple clients in there,” said Fancoeur. “So as a result, you have multiple demands, you have multiple profiles to manage, you have multiple rents to collect.”
Babcock added: “There’s not necessarily that many landlords gearing towards that kind of business of renting to students because of the new government tape that’s been added there, or the red tape that’s been added to the whole process.”
One Peterborough property manager — who declined to be identified — told Global News Peterborough he was getting out of the rental business for good. He cited parking requirements, fees, restrictions, fire regulations, and building inspections that are so “dizzying, they weren’t worth the hassle.”
Such a frustrating process might explain why ads for individual rooms are listed for prices, and why the students that these ads target try to cram as much of themselves as they can into one dwelling to cover the rent.
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