Greater Victoria has been facing a housing affordability crisis for years. Finding affordable housing both on and off-campus is becoming increasingly difficult for post-secondary students, leading to detrimental impacts on students’ studies, health, and wellbeing (VIPIRG, 2017).
Students who live on-campus are not protected by the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), resulting in post-secondary institutions increasing housing costs beyond reasonable means. Between 2016 and 2020, UVic on-campus costs have increased nearly 20% — and student incomes have lagged behind. Annual increases in on-campus housing costs at UVic have exceeded the rate of inflation each year (including the CPI for housing cost increases), and have averaged an annual 4.6% over this period.
Securing off-campus housing in Greater Victoria is also increasingly challenging for students in terms of both availability and affordability. Rental vacancy rates in Victoria have been hovering at or below 1% for many years. The average cost of rent has been continually increasing as well, making Victoria one of the most expensive places to live in Canada (Depner, 2019). It is increasingly difficult to afford to live in Victoria, particularly as a student living on a low income.