Tight rental market bad news for renters, good news for landlords

Jason Pitre from P.E.I apartments sits in his office in downtown Charlottetown and discusses the cost of housing prices and lack of vacancy. Emily Walsh photo.
Jason Pitre from P.E.I apartments sits in his office in downtown Charlottetown and discusses the cost of housing prices and lack of vacancy. Emily Walsh photo.

By Emily Walsh

Sept.16, 2015

When Devin Wagner returned to school this year he decided to move to town.

It would make the trip to school every day easier,

He never figured the rent and other bills would add up so much.

The third-year UPEI student is not alone, the numbers of apartments available are picked over with little to rent.

“It’s much easier to be close to school and not have to drive so far, but the cost of everything adding up quickly is not cheap,” said Wagner.

Making rent every month is tough when you’re only being able to work a part-time job and while going to school Monday to Friday, he said.

“It’s challenging, that’s for sure, even with have roommates to lower the cost of things.”

Wagner lives with four roommates. One, Clara Harvey, doesn’t go to school, but she works two jobs to afford living away from home.

She doesn’t know how her roommates are able to do it.

“I find it hard enough to make rent and pay extra bills with working two jobs, I can’t imagine the stress they have at the end of each month with bills due.”

The thought of housing cost going up scares Wagner and Harvey.

But the demand for apartments is good news for landlords.

Landlords like Jason Pitre don’t think the lack of available apartments available is anything new for this time of year.

“It’s not uncommon for this point in the year with students coming back to school.”

There are three reasons for the lack of apartments, he said.

The older generation is ready to retire, sell their homes and move into the city. More immigrants are moving to P.E.I. And people from rural areas are moving into the city.

Rent increases are up to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. Two years ago, Pitre didn’t increase his rent, but because he has no vacancies now, he will be increasing it this year by as much as the board will allow.

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