Vancouver’s upside-down rental world: $35,000 for 21 days

Today’s Globe report on the attempt by some homeowners to cash in on the Olympics — “Crash at my pad in 2010 – for $35,000” — should be read alongside the Globe’s Saturday piece on BC’s desperate rental housing crisis (no link available) and the province’s refusal to help house those in the tent city now established in Oppenheimer Park (pictured at right.)

At the top end of the province’s scale, life is good. A lucky few think they can milk Olympic visitors for rents that would make a five-star hotel owner blush.

For most British Columbians, however, particularly those reliant on rental accommodation, desperately low vacancy rates are creating a housing crisis. One step beyond that crisis is homelessness for thousands.

The reasons for the crisis are not complex, nor are the solutions. We need changes to the tenancy laws, but we also need a major commitment of resources at every level of governemnt to the creation of rental housing and affordable market housing.

The growing tent cities, now in place at Oppenheimer and Pigeon Parks, are different from the more organized and political squats at Woodwards, Victory Square and Science World in 2002 and 2003, but they are likely to have an equally strong impact on the main issue to be debated in the fall civic election. And, as in 2002, it will be up to the NPA to explain how they allowed things to develop to this extreme.