Rental crunch in Calgary
Published Thursday, July 11, 2013 5:28PM MDT Last Updated Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:56PM MDT
Finding affordable rental accommodation in Calgary has been a difficult task for years, but June’s flooding has potential tenants at the mercy of a hot rental market. Many people looking for an apartment say they're not getting a chance to make an offer before the property is snatched up.
“You find 50 people there or in some places you don't find the place at all, you go in and they go oh it's taken or they call you before you set your feet into the house and say it's taken,” says Thereas Tong, who was displaced from her home by recent flooding.”
Hundreds of people displaced by the flood say they’re unable to find new homes and, with thousands of people moving to Calgary, the competition for rental homes is expected to increase.
Many apartment buildings are still out of commission thanks to the flood. While units on higher floors may have been spared direct damage from flood waters, they remain inhabitable if the building’s boilers or electrical boxes on lower floors were wrecked.
The rental pinch is expected to get even worse over the next several weeks as post-secondary students move back to the city ahead of the new school year.
The rental market is similar to what it was a few years ago when Calgary was booming and there are few properties available for rent. The market favours landlords, and rental prices are jumping.
According to Calgary's Rental Assocation the current situation in the city is more than likely a false market. While it appears that supply is falling well short of demand, that situation could suddenly change.
“Most of those units are going to come back online,” says Gerry Baxter, Calgary Residential Rental Association. “They will be back but right now they are spoken for. There are tenants living there, they're just displaced for the time being. Those tenants will go home once they're ready.”
Some University of Calgary students who are moving to Calgary for the fall semester are struggling to secure an apartment to rent, but are hoping their prospects will have improved by September.
With files from Chris Epp