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‘Dirty lie’: Burnaby tenant pushed out for imaginary relative which was actually Airbnb cash

Landlord makes up story to get tenant to move out

B.C.’s freeze on evictions for a big chunk the COVID-19 pandemic forced landlords to get creative to make changes in their homes.

If they wanted to raise rents, some invented reasons involving moving relatives into the home so tenants would leave and they could move in someone else at a much higher price.

For Jake, he got replaced so the landlord could start renting out the home on Airbnb.

“It was a dirty life,” said Jake. “I got this sob story about an elderly uncle who needed a home and I got pushed out. It was only months later that I found it that never happened. I made friends with the owner next door and they called me and spilled it. The landlord brought in a contractor, did some renovations and is now renting out three different rooms on Airbnb. It’s such an awful thing to do. I wasn’t the only one who had to leave. We already had a shortage of affordable rentals and to take some off the market only makes it worse. You have more people competing for fewer units.”

Jake was going to let it go, but instead he dropped by his old home.

He knocked on the door and when the landlord answered, Jake let her know he knew the truth.

“I told her I was going to report her to the city,” Jake said. “Her face just collapsed and she looked panicked. I never did because I’m not that petty. It was worth it just to see her sweat.”

The problem is that housing is worth so much money that properties become chips that a few owners can milk. Some renovict tenants so they can jack up the rents. Others go the short-term rental route. Even more resort to flipping – a practice that pushes up prices even more.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said in its 2022 forecast released on Wednesday that it expects tightening supply conditions to push housing costs even higher in 2022.

"While price growth is not expected to be as extreme in 2022, many of the conditions that supported it right up until the end of 2021 will still be there on New Year’s Day," the association said in a release.

CREA's forecast indicates that the heated conditions that have plagued the country for years and been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic won't fully subside soon. 

While interest and mortgage rates are expected to rise and temper some market activity, the forecast suggests appetite for home ownership will still be strong and the lack of properties available will mean people won't get much of a break on costs. 

In November alone, the MLS Home Price Index rose 2.7 per cent month-over-month and was up a record 25.3 per cent year-over-year.

  • With files from the Canadian Press