With a rental vacancy rate of less than one percent, Saanich Council is giving consideration to allowing property owners to have detached secondary suites
Realtor Rajesh Chicher has seen first hand how difficult it is just to rent in the capital.
“It’s terrible. At my open houses I’ve had people waiting at the signs saying ‘are these people going to rent the place?'”
Chicher says more compassion needs to be given to people looking to become tenants.
“Just because they can’t afford to get a mortgage doesn’t mean they should be living in a financial-ganization area.”
With vacancy rates below one percent, Saanich Councillor Fred Haynes wants to start the conversation to allow detached secondary suites, which right now are not legal for much of the region.
“My own boys struggle to find residence in Saanich,” says Haynes.
“This is part of the motivation of all of us looking after our families.”
“But on the economic front, where are we going to put our young workers that want to come into Saanich.”
In a survey two years ago, two-thirds of Saanich residents responded saying Council should look at allowing detached suites.
Having laneway houses is common in other communities, and now Saanich staff is looking for guidelines to enable new housing.
“I’ve had emails from some people saying I’m worried about parking and traffic on my street, so one of the answers might be to put these detached suites closer to transit where there is no need for cars,” says Haynes
Saanich can look up island to Parksville for an example.
With a similar lack of rental availability, many home owners are renting out detached secondary suites.
“It seems to be working well, yeah,” says Parksville realtor Barbara Cooke.
“The people are buying bigger lots and looking to put in carriage homes.”
The full scope of detached suites becoming legal in Saanich won’t likely be known until next summer, so the rental shortage isn’t going away soon.