A lady recently made a comment to my mom that her place was such a ‘home.’ This was apparently a surprise to her since my mom rents. As lifelong renters, mom and I found this an odd and sad observation. For many it seems, renting means transitory and therefore not home. Buying for some equals home.
If you rent, is your place your home? Have you made it a home? I feel that my place is my home until the landlords like to remind me that it isn’t, like when there is work being done on the place and the contractors run roughshod over your property because YOU are not the one writing their cheque.
But I digress.
People rent for many reasons. Mostly in Vancouver though it is because you cannot afford to buy. For others it is a lifestyle choice. No worries about burst water tanks, or roof repairs to worry about. Someone else will do it. However, this ‘not my problem’ attitude for some seems to also mean not caring about the condition of where they live. This is the attitude that many hold towards renters and why you get a torrent of comments like you see for this article in City Caucus.
It is sad to see that this does indeed ring true. Especially where I live under the care of Metro Vancouver Housing. My demands for treating us low income renters with more respect falls on deaf ears when they are looking at home in ill repair and overgrown yards. People see the messes before they notice the tidy and cared for properties next door.
Even the man that runs Metro Vancouver Housing feels that renters should be transitory and move on when they can. In a city with high housing costs and low wages, I am not sure where everyone is supposed to move on to. Out of Vancouver I suppose. But why should you move? If you are a good tenant, keep your place clean and tidy, why can’t your rental property be your home as much as a bought place?
Perhaps we wouldn’t have a housing crisis if renting was considered more ‘normal’ than buying. We still seem to be following the baby boomer mantra of working to buy your first place when you have ‘settled’ down. The pressure to buy may have been the banks and developers dream come true, it has certainly added to the credit and debt crisis felt here and the US. I don’t think European nations have gone through this buy or be a failure crisis.
If renting was more affordable then perhaps it would be less transitory and people would build communities out of their neighbourhoods. The entire West End can’t be wrong! I also like to think (hope) that good landlords make for good tenants. I know that isn’t always true…but there are lot of good renters who are tired of being lumped in with the bad.
As many commenter’s said, perhaps the problem is absentee landlords. Perhaps those buying purely for investment purposes should have to declare so and pay higher strata fees than those who plan on living there. Half empty condo buildings cannot make for good communities.
I would like to see all of Vancouver be a vibrant and rentable community for all incomes. with all the amenities close at hand - neighbourhoods. Those things that seem to be getting destroyed.
I would like to see the judgement go too. I am not a failure because I rent.