Calgary’s hot resale housing market leaves some renters out in the cold

Calgary’s hot resale housing market leaves some renters out in the cold

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A recent rush to cash in on Calgary’s red hot resale housing market has lead to some unexpected fallout for renters.

A number of tenants and property brokers have told Global News there’s a shortage of single family homes for rent — especially in the suburbs.

Jodi Rodocker, who has rented a home in the community of Harvest Hills for the past five years, has to be out of that home by the end of the month because her landlord decided to sell.

“Not only is my family being displaced, but my kids, possibly my pet and my business,” an emotional Rodocker said.

Finding a property fit for her large family has been a challenge she didn’t really anticipate.

“Ideally we’d like four bedrooms, potentially a fifth one for my business,” she added. “A pet friendly home, with a backyard and maybe a garage.”

“We seem to be outnumbered,” she added. “They (landlords) get a lot of inquiries and we don’t get responses, or we’re in competition with 40 people.”

The family does have a fallback plan — one they hope they doesn’t have to use.

“We can stay at my parents’ house for a little bit, maybe get a hotel,” Rodocker added. “But we could end up being split up.”

The Calgary Residential Rental Association has heard many of these comments lately — from both tenants and landlords.

“Over the last few months, a number of our members told us that they weren’t going to renew,” executive director Gerry Baxter said. “They’ve either sold their properties or they were planning on selling it.”

“The sales market has changed, and because it has there is a opportunity for landlords to perhaps recover some of their investment.”

Property brokers have also seen the shift since the resale housing market started heating up. Eric Smith, the president of Boswell Krieger Management and Realty Ltd., manages a number of properties in Calgary.

Smith said the sales really seem to be focused on specific areas of the city.

“A lot of our landlords are looking at divesting their houses in the suburbs,” he said.

“Any tenants that are being asked to move because the house is being sold are definitely having a hard time finding similar quality housing without making drastic changes in neighbourhoods and quadrants.”

But Smith added those willing to make these drastic changes do have options: rentals in Calgary’s downtown core and surrounding neighbourhoods are abundant.

Smith said some older condo units are sitting empty for months, as renters gravitate to newer builds.

He also said he expects the shift from the core to the suburbs that has been happening over the past couple years to continue as the work shifts out of downtown.

“The drive to move to the suburbs, while it used to be only for young families looking for room for their kids, now is professional couples, single people looking just to get out of downtown to have more space.”

Baxter said tenants displaced by the sale of a property do have some recourse and protection.

He added landlords need to give sufficient notice and if a renter has a long-term lease, that will have to be factored into the sale.

“If your landlord comes to you and just says, “I’m going to sell my house, you have to leave’, the answer is, ‘No I don’t have to leave,’” he pointed out.

The Rodockers said they got timely notice, and with just days left until they had to move out, they lucked out and managed to snag a new house to call home.