***For Immediate Release***
May 16, 2022
VANCOUVER, UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES
The VTU conducted a rent survey in Fall 2021 in order to talk face-to-face to renters living along the Broadway Corridor and determine the potential impacts of this new infrastructure on affordability in the area. Surveys from 293 households across 41 purpose-built rental buildings were collected by members, which provides a stark picture of vulnerable tenants whose homes will be targeted over the next several years.
The highest rent minus the lowest rent in a building, what we’re calling the ‘Delta Rent', is a simple measurement that puts a number on the upward pressure on rent within an existing building. When averaged across all buildings in the survey area, this number is an increase of:
- $243/month for studios
- $431/month for one bedrooms
- $421/month for two bedrooms
In other words, today, the average landlord of a building in our survey area could expect an 18-20% increase in income on their lowest paid units if they’re able to find some pretense to evict that tenant.
With the impending up-zoning and redevelopment of the survey area, the ‘Rent Gap', defined in this report as the difference between Median Market Rent and the Median Surveyed Rent, represents the dramatic upward pressure on rents, and therefore the incentive to evict.
- For a studio - the median market rate is $1925 and the median surveyed rent is $1167, which is an increase of $758/month
- For a 1 bedroom - the median market rate is $2200 and the median surveyed rent is $1379, which is an increase of $821/month
- For a 2 bedroom- the median market rate is $3200 and the median surveyed rent is $1885, which is an increase of $1315/month
In other words, a landlord can expect a 60-70% general increase in rental income across all units if they redevelop their building and replace all of their tenants.
“The Broadway Plan is essentially a rubber stamp process to signal a green light to developers, landlords, and investors,” said Mazdak Gharibnavaz, organizer with the Vancouver Tenants Union. “That’s why today we’re launching ‘Renters Plan’, to mark the beginning of a tenant resistance movement against transit-oriented displacement”.
One-in-five survey respondents said that even their current rent today is unaffordable to them, and 51% of respondents expressed that they would not be able to remain in their neighbourhood if they were evicted from their current tenancy.
“Renters have built their homes and these communities along Broadway, and without these renters, they would be decimated,” continued Gharibnavaz. “There are some exciting possibilities when it comes to building housing and communities along public transit, but in the hands of real estate interests it is a weapon against poor and working-class communities across the city. We support decommodified housing for all. We support public transit for all”.
The report wraps up by including 3 Key Principles and associated policies:
Right to Return with Dignity
Right to Financial Protection
Right to Remain
Rent Control Tied to Unit
Cease Public Subsidy of Private Landlords
Right to Organize
Right to Strike
- The average length of tenancy of surveyed tenants is 6.7 years, and a quarter of the respondents have lived in their apartments for a decade or longer.
- The average bedroom per person is sitting at 0.7, as more tenants seek common cost-cutting strategies by sharing with roommates or moving to smaller places.
- 19 surveyed tenants had even received illegal rent increases during the moratorium.
- Overall nearly 60% of households in the Broadway Plan area are renting their homes.