Andreas Nystrom

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The following is from a Craigslist posting that was published about a year ago and has since been removed. Despite the time that has lapsed, the message is still relevant and will ring true for many renters in Vancouver.


Dear landlords of Vancouver:

I know it’s difficult for you. You are all just hardworking people struggling to maintain your right to have someone else pay the mortgage, and trying to avoid the unfair situation of having your second home or investment property unoccupied for a month. I feel your pain, truly. However, there are a few things that I think might be helpful in your noble endeavour, and I’d like to pass them on in solidarity:

  1. A closet is not a den. If it doesn’t have a window, a door, a wall, or more than ten square feet of space, it is not a den.
  2. A den is not a bedroom. Even if your second, clearly demarcated room is so expansive as to be able to fit a table and chair, if it cannot fit a bed, it is not a second bedroom.
  3. “Separate entrance” is not a selling feature of an apartment. If it does not have a separate entrance, it is not an apartment. Ditto “ceilings over 7 feet”, “full bathroom”, and “full kitchen.”
  4. Burnaby is not Vancouver. It is not East Vancouver. It is not Commercial Drive, or Trout Lake. It is Burnaby. Coquitlam, Mayne Island, and Assmunch, Arizona are also not Vancouver. Most prospective tenants will clue in to this when you give them the address.
  5. It’s logically impossible to be 5 minutes’ walk from Renfrew Station, and from Commercial Drive.
  6. Granville Street is not “right next to” or “just west of” Main Street.
  7. If your rental space is within ten feet of a major artery, like Broadway, 12th Avenue, or Kingsway, it is not quiet. Can’t hear what I’m saying? It is NOT QUIET.
  8. “Cozy” and “small” and “cramped” all have different definitions, which might be helpful to review.
  9. A basement suite is a basement suite. A garden level suite is a basement suite. A ground floor suite is a basement suite. An “almost above ground” ground floor suite is a basement suite.
  10. Laminate flooring is not hardwood. Laminate is plastic. Hardwood is wood. Hence, hardwood.
  11. You can have ONE damage deposit, and it is completely refundable. You can’t have two, and you can’t have a handful of nonrefundable cash to hold a place for 2 hours.
  12. A “bathroom” is a place with a toilet, a sink, a shower and/or tub, walls, and a door. If you are tempted to call something that does not meet this definition a “bathroom”, take a moment to clarify in your ad that it is a toilet in the middle of the bedroom, or using more traditional phraseology, an “open pit latrine.”
  13. If one cannot see the mountains/ocean or other advertised geographic features by looking out the window, the apartment does not have a “gorgeous view.” If one has to crane one’s body out the window and dangle precariously in order to try to see the horizon, it is not a “peek a boo” view of the North Shore. It is a latent lawsuit.
  14. There is no such thing as “one mouse, that one time” Ditto cockroach or bedbug.
  15. Landlords, I know you are very busy collecting money and trying to earn interest on it, and you barely have two cents to rub together in this harsh economic climate, but please know that it is not your tenants’ responsibility to paint or repair your rental space. This is part of your job, because you collect the rental income. It’s a new concept to you, I know, but should be fairly easy to remember if you consider the logic of it. When the happy day comes that your tenant owns her own living space, then she can do her own repairs and maintenance.
  16. “Old” is not “heritage.” It is not even “character”, really. While the Vancouver Special style of housing arguably forms part of Vancouver’s heritage, it does not in any way meet the criteria for heritage designation and the attached rent premium.
  17. Try to keep your word about showing times. If you make an appointment with prospective tenants, and then decide to rent the place to the first person with cash in hand, please use your phone skills to let your other prospective tenants know that they no longer have to take transit across the city to view your place.
  18. No means no. If I have decided not to rent your poorly maintained, possibly “one-mouse” infested, heritage, gorgeous almost-top-floor basement suite, with two bedrooms and a den, with peek a boo views, just next to granville island at the quiet intersection of hastings and boundary, please do not contact me again by email or phone to persuade me that your rental suite is amazing. I am not looking for a new friend who collects rent, I am looking for a decent place to live.

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