Pensioners in the Metro Vancouver area looking for housing are going through a difficult time, regardless of the fact that many of them are going beyond to pay rent rates that are four times higher than the average rental rate.
According to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), nearly 370,000 senior citizens living in British Columbia are going through a rental squeeze. Just about two years ago, the vacancy rate for seniors across BC was 6.3% but this figure has reduced by 10% this year, with the rental vacancy rate for seniors’ standing at 4.7%. Similarly in Metro Vancouver, the vacancy rate which was at 9% a year ago has plunged to 4.6% of the 7,586 available private seniors’ rental housing.
In the past year, there was also a short supply of new homes for seniors across B.C with only 500 newly erected buildings, stated the CMHC.
At an average, pensioners within the age of 82 are putting in close to $3,009 per month towards rent but this figure increases to $3,600 in Metro Vancouver.
Miserably, these high rental rates are way higher than the average apartments in the real estate market with the average rental rate in B.C and Metro Vancouver at $1,099 and $1,400 respectively.
Yet, according to the CMHC, the rental rate in Metro Vancouver is driven up as a result of the fact that a fifth of seniors residents are in need of medical and housekeeping aid.
Candy HO, vice-president of communication at Element Lifestyle Retirement Inc. which is in charge of Vancouver’s only new senior’s complex, the Opal on Cambia Street noted that the demand for senior’s apartment is very high whereas as there is lack of supply.
Opal is a luxurious pensioners’ apartment with rental rates ranging from $5,980 for a one-bedroom and $9,300 for a two-bedroom unit. The habitation is yet to be functioning as it took 5 years for Opal to go through Vancouver’s development permit process.
Although the residence was set to open in 2019, Ho is doubtful whether the present rental rates will not spike up before the project completes.
Senior citizen’s rental rate increases are not covered under the B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Act which implies that this year there is expected to be a 3.7% increase in rate.
J C Loum