Fresh graduates, young professionals feel left out of the Kingston real estate market

Young adults, recent graduates and young professionals are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing in Kingston. They say they are pressured by rising rents and limited options.

They also claim that they do not have opportunities to become roommates in affordable multi-bedroom homes near downtown Kingston and around the university district because they are not students.

A 25-year-old young adult took to social media to explain the struggles he faced finding a suitable place to live in Kingston.

“I am not currently attending Queen’s University nor am I attending Saint Lawrence University; I have been excluded in many ways from the constantly posted roommate opportunities on the Kijiji marketplace or Facebook or other related platforms, ”wrote the user.

In response to the post, some users found that moving in with seniors, mature students, and graduates was an option when looking for affordable rents and costs of living.

Lindsey Foster, president of the Kingston Rental Properties Association, explained that while landlords can expect to rent their space to students, they cannot discriminate against anyone other than students, except for rentals that are student residences.

“In my personal experience, if you go outside the university district, the accommodations are more (affordable), and there are less expensive and more reasonable (however). They’re not going to be six-bedroom houses, either, ”Foster said.

Foster also shared that Kingston currently has one of the highest vacancy rates right now, and in this situation, renters have more options to choose from. He encourages prospective tenants to do more research and not give in to high rents if there are other options.

However, recent graduates argue that there are less affordable rental locations for young adults due to family rents, military living arrangements, and student rentals. They say Kingston should rethink its housing priorities as the city continues to attract new talent.

“I am a student, not a recent graduate, but I graduated two years ago, I had to move for a job. I recently got a job offer in Kingston and had to turn it down mainly because of the high rental prices, and not many rentals are made for young professionals, whether for students or military, ”said Jacques.

“Most of the apartments I found when I looked at it were basements or rooms in a house, very expensive for what they are,” said Jaques.

Foster added that the province also froze rents due to the pandemic and, as a result, it did not increase in 2021.

Rent is expected to increase by 1.2% in 2022 and Foster says it is necessary to keep up with the rising rates of repair, maintenance and insurance of rental units with rising inflation rates.

Foster admits that there are some landlords who are taking advantage of tenant vulnerabilities and needs.

“There’s no question about that. Some landlords are taking advantage of a situation that they shouldn’t be, but tenants can walk away from those situations and say, I refuse to pay that much money, and then prices will go down south,” said Foster.

“Tenants have a lot more power to negotiate the places they want, and especially if they go outside of the University District, there are many more options for young adults,” added Foster.

While housing remains a problem for most, young professionals face unique situations. Some young professionals also expressed that most owners list students only or ask if you are a student when you express interest and if you say no they will ignore you or tell you that it is not available to you.

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