Homeowners in the Cowichan Valley are being asked to consider renting their spare rooms to university students.
Places4Students.com, a website that works to help provide off-campus housing solutions for students attending colleges and universities across North America, is reaching out to the public to ask them to help provide housing accommodations for students returning to class this fall.
Mark Taylor, the director of accounts for Places4Students.com, which has a contract with Vancouver Island University to provide an online rental property listings resource for its students, said there are number of factors that are adding up to trouble for students at VIU’s Cowichan campus finding off-campus lodgings this year.
He said as many classes were held online last year due the COVID-19 pandemic, which made physically attending VIU unnecessary for a lot of students, many local landlords have rented out their accommodations to single families and other tenants and are not looking to rent to students this year.
“There is also the fact that the rental market continues to be hot, so there’s just not a lot of rental accommodations out there right now,” Taylor said.
“So what we have is a decrease in renting inventory and an increase in demand at the same time.”
But VIU officials state they are unaware of any student housing crisis in the Cowichan Valley for the fall semester.
Jessie Magee-Chalmers, VIU Cowichan’s campus administrator, said the university has not heard from its community of students that they are struggling to find housing in the area.
“VIU’s Cowichan campus predominantly serves people who are already in our community and very few move here specifically to take programs,” he said.
“It is possible that some are struggling to find new living arrangements and we just aren’t hearing about it.”