And the rent goes up again

houseI have lived in my current home for over eight years. In that time, my landlord has increased the rent every year. This year is no exception.

When I first moved into my place, I rented two of the three rooms while the person I sublet from kept the third room. My portion of the rent was $750/month including utilities and cable. It was a nice neighbourhood and walking distance to shopping, transit and my daughter’s school. In the back of my mind, I thought of that third room as income, either as a foster parent or with a roommate.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the gal did not tell the landlord she was subletting to me. Honestly, I was so happy to have slipped through the cracks that I didn’t push her on why she didn’t ask to do a credit check, obtain a month’s rent in addition to the security deposit or charge me a pet deposit. I had just ended a marriage and didn’t yet have a job; I wasn’t going to push my luck.

In the past, every rental increase notice spurs me into a house-hunting frenzy. It’s the only thing I haven’t cut back on from being in poverty. Has the perfect property become available? Can I be more accommodating with location and amenities? My application at BC Housing is one of 13,000 and housing co-ops require credit checks. My odds aren’t improving.

This year, I’ve decided not to go crazy about housing. Yes, it’d be awesome if my rent was subsidized as it would drop my rent to below $500/month. However, living in a neighbourhood where an updated 3-bedroom can cost $2000/month, I recognize my good deal of $1100/month. That third room currently houses a roommate.

Could my situation be better? Sure. It’d be great to have a landlord who cashed the rent cheque in a timely matter or who dependably (and without much reminding) upgraded the house and its environs. I would love a better layout of my place or even real hardwood floors instead of the fake paper version. But I couldn’t ask for better neighbours and my daughter’s high school is just as close as her elementary school was and I’m able to keep my two cats. I continue to update my files with the co-ops and BC Housing.

I don’t have a land line or a TV or a car anymore. But I do have a safe place to call home.

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at

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