Tue. May 17th, 2022

Vancouver has the highest rental rate of any major Canadian city, a new report from University of British Columbia researchers has found.

The survey, published this month, also contains condemnatory results for the province: 10.6 percent of BC tenants reported being evicted within five years, more than any other province or territory.

In contrast, less than four percent of tenants were evicted during that time frame in Manitoba, Quebec, and Nunavut.

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The author used data from the 2018 Community Housing Survey to make estimates over the five years prior to data collection, and found delays related to “poor health and financial hardship.”

“Among the respondents in the study, tenants whose last step was an eviction have lower self-reported levels of health and mental health than other tenants,” wrote Silas Xuereb, a graduate economics student at UBC.

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“These tenants also reported lower levels of life satisfaction, increased difficulty meeting their financial needs and were more likely to have a core need.”


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The report, called Understanding Exposures in Canada through the Canadian Housing Survey, was funded by UBC’s Balanced Supply of Housing Research Cluster, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canadian Institute for Health Research, Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Statistics Canada.

The research was overseen by Andrea Craig, an assistant economics professor at UBC Okanagan, and Craig Jones, research coordinator for UBC’s Balanced Supply of Housing Research Cluster.

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While BC’s COVID-19 moratorium on deferrals has expired, the province recently extended the emergency freeze until the end of 2021.

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In the report, Xuereb said that postponements were “widely recognized” as a public health problem during the pandemic, but in general little is known about who is most affected by postponements in Canada and what the consequences are.

“Because of that, it’s hard to know what a healthy eviction rate is, what a normal eviction rate is,” Jones, one of the study’s advisors, told Global News.

“As far as I know, this is the first national attempt to get there, and precisely the fact that BC in particular was much higher and significantly different from other provinces, I think is worth examining through a political lens.”


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In total, the report estimated that 1.3 percent of Canadian tenants were evicted the year before the 2018 data was collected, and in general, men are slightly more likely to be evicted than women.

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Ejections are further concentrated among adults between the ages of 45 and 54, it said, in addition to single parents and people who identify as First Nations.

“Although inaccurate, I estimate that 12.3% experienced an eviction within 5 years,” Xuereb wrote of tenants identifying themselves as First Nations.

After checking other sociodemographic characteristics, he added that he was aged 45-54, lived in BC and spent more than 50 percent of his monthly income on shelter “risk factors for exposure”.

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Jones said he hopes the report’s discovery that “something else” is happening in British Columbia deserves further discussion. Results from the Canadian Housing Survey for 2020 will be released in the coming years, he added, and the team will update its research at that time.

Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, said the study is evidence of the “insecurity” tenants face and the challenge Vancouver citizens face when it comes to “putting their roots” . “


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“One in ten – I think that’s a pretty serious number – was eventually forced to relocate for various reasons,” he said in an interview.

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“I think at the same time that when you have this kind of eviction and relocation, if you try to find a similar unit, it typically means that there will be a 20 percent increase in rent.”

The majority of Vancouver residents have rented their homes since 1971, he added. It’s a city “of tenants,” he said, but it’s not necessarily a city “of tenants.”

The report sheds further light on the challenges many Canadians face when it comes to saving for retirement, Yan said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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