Albertans struggle to find a place to rent: survey

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Albertans are struggling to find a place to rent as the province is inundated by a river of newcomers.

The time spent looking for a rental place is more than six months for one in six renters, according to a Rentals.ca survey. But even fewer are spared the frustration of searching for one: Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed say getting a place has been very difficult.

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The survey was conducted among 600 participants in Ontario, BC and Alberta by Rentals.ca, a platform for rental listings.

Alberta had the highest proportion of renters looking for housing for the first time, at more than 29 per cent, while 21 per cent were looking for a place because they had moved to a new city. In addition, just over half of the tenants were single, and for almost two-thirds of those surveyed the rental price of a space took precedence over its location.

These findings reflect a changing landscape in the province forced by unprecedented growth in interprovincial migration, a shortage of affordable housing and higher interest rates, which have reduced supply and increased rental prices.

Rental prices in Alberta soared 20 per cent year-over-year in March, the largest increase in the entire country, bringing the average one-bedroom rent in Calgary to $1,711 per month.

Increased demand has reduced Calgary’s vacancy rate to one per cent, driving up rents even in shared apartments.

Despite big increases in rental prices, Alberta cities still retain the appeal of affordability compared to other major centers like Vancouver and Toronto, where renting a one-bedroom costs an average of $2,653 and $2,495 a month , respectively.

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However, the decrease in available spaces may have caused bad experiences when finding accommodation. Two-fifths of respondents were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the rentals they had seen, although 22 per cent were very disappointed.

An overwhelming majority of participants responded negatively to questions about housing availability, affordable options in their preferred location, and the challenges of finding a place.

“In the face of rising inflation and affordability challenges, residents in rent-controlled markets are inclined to remain in their current accommodations, benefiting from minimal rent increases,” the survey stated.

However, Alberta does not have any type of rent control.

The Alberta NDP recently introduced legislation (Bill 205) calling for a cap on annual rent increases and the creation of affordable housing. The second reading of the bill was postponed to March 11.

In addition to rent and vacancy control, the legislation would require the minister responsible for housing to publish minimum targets for the construction of social and affordable housing units each fiscal year, including single-family residences, multi-unit apartment buildings and social housing for different groups, such as seniors, which would then be published in the province’s annual report.

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The UCP has made clear its opposition to the bill, saying it increases the risk of homelessness and hinting that landlords may find legal loopholes to evict tenants.

“Leaving people out of the rental market and discouraging new construction is not the way forward,” Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services Jason Nixon said in the legislature on March 11.

Alberta NDP housing critic Janis Irwin, who introduced the bill, said in a statement issued March 11: “My office has been inundated with stories of Albertans who have had their housing taken away. price of their homes and have been forced to choose between food, utilities and rent payments. and other basic needs.

“I sincerely hope the UCP changes its position and supports this legislation as a tool to make this province more affordable, because skyrocketing rents are hurting Albertans.”

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