Data collected by Jens von Bergmann shows Abbotsford-Mission has one of the greatest rent disparities between occupied and unoccupied units in Canada. Image: Jens von Bergmann/Twitter:@vb_jens

Kelowna has Canada’s highest ‘moving penalty’

Disparity between vacant/occupied units incentivizes renovictions & reduces mobility, researcher says

Swapping apartments in Kelowna comes with a high price tag.

Data collected by a Vancouver researcher shows the annual rents of occupied apartment units in Kelowna and other B.C. cities are considerably lower than those in vacant units.

That means that if you are looking to move to a different apartment building in your town, you’ll likely have to pay hundreds of dollars more.

The reason, according to the researcher, is relatively simple: landlords are only allowed to raise rents on current tenants by a few percentage points every year, but when someone moves away, a unit can be rented at whatever price the market will bear.

Jens von Bergmann, the researcher who collected the figures, has labelled the disparity the “moving penalty.” He stated a high disparity between rents in occupied units and unoccupied units has several negative consequences.

“It reduces renter mobility, so renters may be less inclined to downsize or move for a new job,” von Bergmann writes on his blog. “And it incentivizes landlords to evict tenants to bring rents in rent-controlled units up to market rents.”

The figures come from the annual rental market survey conducted by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

RELATED: City plots plan to get more affordable housing built as rental crunch continues

Von Bergmann first looked at the rental penalty at the end of 2018, when he found Victoria had the highest disparity in the country. The city was the only one in the country with a 20 per cent gap between occupied and unoccupied units.

Twelve months later, British Columbia’s three other census metropolitan areas – along with Toronto and Quebec – have all passed that 20 per cent mark.

At the top of the heap in 2019 was Kelowna, where average rents of occupied units was $1,213, but vacant units were being rented for $1,546 on average. That amounts to a 27 per cent gap.

Abbotsford-Mission had the third highest relative gap, at 23 per cent, with Vancouver at 21 per cent and Victoria at 20 per cent.

Vacant units aren’t always more expensive – if you live outside of British Columbia. In a little less than half of Canadian cities, vacant units were actually cheaper than those occupied. In Halifax and Trois-Riviéres, for instance, unoccupied units were, on average, 10 per cent cheaper than those with tenants.

Von Bergmann notes on his website that the mix of vacant units and the mix of occupied units may vary, so there is some wiggle-room in the comparison. But, he said, the figures still show the penalty paid in British Columbia by renters wishing to move – and the incentive for building owners to evict tenants, renovate units, and rent them out at higher rates.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

KGH Foundation establishes COVID-19 response fund to support frontline workers

Doctors, nurses and staff have been challenged to pivot operations to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Children of frontline workers to return to Central Okanagan schools

Approximately 500 K-6 students will return as 25 schools open doors on Monday

Four vehicle crash stalls traffic in Glenmore

The four-vehicle fender bender took place about 4:15 p.m.

COVID-19: Central Okanagan fire departments only responding to serious medical calls

The new directive from Dr. Bonnie Henry does not change the public safety response of firefighters

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Food support continues for Okanagan students despite school closures

Kids aren’t going hungry thanks to Kal Rotary and Starfish Backpack program

Emergency services respond to numerous incidents on Highway 1

Today there were multiple semi truck crashes on Highway 1 and a collision by the hospital

Large item collection events cancelled in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Concerns about spread of COVID-19 led to decision to cancel collection events

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Organizers hoping to hold Summerland Fall Fair

COVID-19 pandemic may result in changes to agricultural celebration

Most Read