‘Finders fee’: B.C. senior turns to advertising to find place to live

A Metro Vancouver man is getting so desperate to find a new place to live that he is offering to pay someone to help him.

Derek Stephen is offering a $350 finders fee to anyone who can help him find an apartment in Vancouver or Burnaby.

The 66-year-old is a semi-retired warehouse worker and has to move out of his current suite.

Stephen said he is looking for a decent place for him and his cat for under $2,000 a month.

“I’ve applied to at least 40 places,” Stephen said. “Fifteen have got back saying they’re sold or taken, another 10 or 15 there’s been no response, the places that they have contacted me to go look at are overpriced and not liveable.”

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Metro Vancouver renters spend nearly two-thirds of income on rent on average: report

Stephen has been in his one bedroom suite for over six years and pays just over $1,100 a month. He was given an eviction notice because his landlord said he wanted to move his family in upstairs and his sister into the basement.

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Stephen then opened a case with the Residential Tenancy Branch because, according to the government, a landlord cannot end a tenancy so their sister can move into the rental unit.

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However, Stephen said that even if he wins the case, he will still leave.

“I don’t want to live with a landlord that has animosity towards me,” he said. “It’s my best interest in the long run.”

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Vancouver family faces rent hike when baby is born

Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate is currently less than one per cent.

The latest data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the average rent for a one bedroom apartment will cost more than $1,600 a month, depending on location and size.

Ramona Kaptyn, the B.C. Chief Advocacy and Communications Officer for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) said what Stephen is up against is not new and seniors have offered rewards and asked for help before.

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“We’ve got renovictions happening everywhere and seniors are having a really tough time of it,” she said.

Click to play video: 'B.C. rent affordability an increasing problem'

B.C. rent affordability an increasing problem

Seniors in British Columbia are feeling “invisible and forgotten” as they fall through the cracks in existing provincial support systems, their advocate said on Wednesday.

In his first report as B.C.’s seniors’ advocate, Dan Levitt said affordability was the top concern during visits with hundreds of seniors in more than 20 communities in April.

The report outlines what Levitt heard during his tour, confirming that B.C. seniors on fixed incomes are disproportionately affected by the high cost of living.

Stephen said he is continuing his search and would consider bumping up his finder’s fee to $500 if he can’t find anything soon.

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“I grew up on Commercial Drive,” he said.

“I’m looking to stay here for the rest of my life.”

— with files from Cassidy Mosconi and The Canadian Press

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