Apartment building evicts tenants after water damage near UBC Okanagan

Students at UBCO were given little time to vacate the building

Water damage at the U-Two building near UBC Okanagan, has led to a mass eviction.

Late Feb. 4, residents were evacuated from the building after water was found leaking throughout the building from what is believed to be a faulty sprinkler in a heated utility room.

Dana Nazarek, a resident of U-Two, said water damaged almost all the lower floors, including the common areas and bedrooms.

“The fire alarms were going off and everyone was evacuated. We were let back inside the building around midnight and there was water everywhere, dripping from my ceiling fan and light fixtures,” said Nazarek.

The damage was assessed by inspectors days later, said Nazarek, and soon after almost all of the residents of the building got the bad news they were being evicted.

UBC Okanagan’s student union provided resources to help students dealing with the eviction.

Nazarek has found living accommodations for himself since, but cannot speak to how the other residents have handled the news. The U-Two building houses a lot of UBC Okanagan students who are entering mid-terms, creating a serious complication for many considering the challenge of finding an affordable rental, considering Kelowna now has the sixth most expensive rental market in Canada.

According to a Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation report released late last year, Kelowna’s overall vacancy rate is listed at 1.9 per cent compared to 0.2 per cent in October of last year.

“New supply of purpose built rental apartments outpacing growth in demand has resulted in apartment vacancy rates increasing across all bedroom types,” read a portion of the report. “The increase in vacancy rate can be attributed to a significant increase in the number of primary apartment rental units, outpacing the increase in demand for rental units, between the October 2017 and 2018 surveys.”

However, two bedroom rental averages are higher than last year, at $1,267 compared to $1,151 in October 2017.

One bedroom apartments currently have the healthiest vacancy rate, with 3.5 per cent compared to two bedroom units at 0.9 per cent and studio apartments at 0.3 per cent.

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