Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

No vacancy: COVID-19 changing rental dynamics in Revelstoke

Many say it’s far harder to find housing this fall than years prior

It’s getting more difficult for newcomers to call Revelstoke home, and the Coronavirus pandemic could be partially to blame.

“This year by far, is very different,” said Matt Cherry, moderator of the Facebook group Revy Rentals, which provides local rental options.

The group has over 11,000 members, of which 1,800 joined in the last two months.

Traditionally, finding housing during the fall/winter is difficult due to people coming to ski and few staff housing options.

“But this year is unreal,” Cherry said.

In the 2016 census, 7,547 called Revelstoke home. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

For the last six years, Cherry has owned and managed multiple rental properties in the city. Previously, he said the most responses he got for a rental room was 63 during a two week period. Recently, he got 108 responses in less than two days.

“It was overwhelming,” said Cherry.

READ MORE: Three things to know if you rent in B.C.

According to Facebook analytics, up to 90 per cent of individuals joining Revy Rentals are Canadians. Cherry said last year, the majority was international.

This fall, many of the renters seeking housing on the Facebook group appear to be remote workers, even aerospace engineers.

Cherry said this winter, many people are coming from major cities, like Toronto, preferring to work from afar in a ski town.

According to a recent report on padblogger, an apartment rental and lifestyle website, Toronto has the most expensive rent in Canada, costing more than $2,000 on average for a one bedroom apartment.

Trying to find home during a pandemic

Gemma Melius and her partner recently got jobs at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The two have been trying to move to Revelstoke for months.

The resort has yet to build staff housing for its employees. In July, the resort said it was working on staff housing options and hoped to have a proposal ready by the end of this year.

Melius said it’s hard contending against remote workers, who probably have much larger salaries and can afford higher rent.

“We just can’t compete,” said Melius.

She said if they cannot find accommodation by the end of the month, the two will be forced to not accept their jobs at the ski hill and move elsewhere.

READ MORE: Seeking shelter: Revelstoke mother can’t afford to stay and can’t afford to leave

For Revelstoke’s John Antoniuk, life seemed good in August. Then, everything crumbled.

His mental health took a dive due to ending employment and stress from the pandemic. In September, he was told to move out of his rental suite by the end of October as his landlord needed the space to house family.

“I was just crushed,” Antoniuk said.

He said for the last six years, he found accommodation by word of mouth. But his social circle has now grown so small due to COVID-19, he said that isn’t going to work this time.

He’s looked online, but there’s too much competition.

“I don’t even know how to find a place now. I am at the place where I can’t fake it. I can’t put on a smile and pretend,” said Antoniuk.

He said he might have to enact Plan B, which is to live in a camper van or a tent, adding the idea of becoming homeless is something he’s come to accept.

Recently, Brian Mcgonagle and Lily Burgess tried moving to Revelstoke for winter work, but fell victim to rental scams, twice. In total, the couple lost $2,600 trying to rent property that didn’t exist.

READ MORE: Couple falls victim to Revelstoke rental scam on Kijiji, twice

“We just want to make it work in Revelstoke so badly,” said Melius.

“But finding housing here is such a mystical process.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A firefighter descends the ladder truck after checking on the upper floors of the Clarence House apartment building after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. See story on page 5. 
 (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A firefighter descends the ladder truck after checking on the upper floors of the Clarence House apartment building after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

MLA Dan Ashton (Contributed)
Penticton MLA won’t seek leadership of B.C. Liberals

Dan Ashton believes a moderate leader with broad appeal is needed

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Steven Gardner in an Instagram selfie that contributed to his arrest.
Receipt plus Instagram selfie leads to arrest of Kamloops man

Steven Gardner is facing three firearms charges

Most Read