Victoria’s hot housing market pushing out renters

Michael Stewart and his family are being pushed out of their rental unit after their landlords recently put the house up for sale.

When Michael Stewart moved his family to Victoria a year-and-a-half ago after being pushed out of the hot Vancouver housing market, he thought he could finally set up roots in the community.

Now, the family is being plagued with the same problem here in Victoria. They are being pushed out of their rental unit in the capital region after their landlords recently decided to put the house up for sale.

Stewart first moved to Victoria with his wife and two young children a year-and-a-half ago in search of more affordable housing.

After roughly a month of searching for a place to live, and answering dozens of ads and never hearing back, he stumbled across a three-bedroom rental unit  in Gordon Head.

It was an attractive property for the young family since it was located along a quiet street, offered enough space for his children to have their own rooms, a backyard to play in and was close to his partner’s work and city parks.

So they moved in with the intent of staying there long-term and building a life. The family’s home is now lined with their children’s artwork and streaks of marker. Stewart even installed a vegetable garden, a raspberry trellis and several fruit bushes in the backyard.

However, two weeks ago, the family received a letter notifying him the landlord put the house up for sale.

Stewart said he was disappointed, frustrated and demoralized.

“There doesn’t seem to be an end to this cycle. We were pushed out of one city and into another one and maybe naively thought it was going to stop here, but it isn’t going to stop,” he said, adding they’re worried it will continue to happen in the next place they live as well.

“We really wanted to put down roots and start interacting with community, but it’s almost impossible when you don’t know where you’re going to live in two years.”

Once new owners take over the property, they have a 60-day notice period to evict Stewart if they choose, leaving the family in limbo.

It’s a trend that Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday said is a growing issue that has affected some of his friends as well.

While real estate housing prices falls under provincial jurisdiction, Loveday said the city intends on advocating for more affordable housing.

“It’s definitely something we need to look at and figure out what action we can take and what’s working in other cities and see if that applies here,” he said.

As for Stewart, he isn’t holding out hope that they’ll be able to stay in their current place.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com