Housing Rental: Students are Paying the Ultimate Price

Accommod8u, a popular student rental company in Waterloo, has come under fire recently after leaked information exposed thousands of maintenance requests. The reports detail complaints of mold, carbon monoxide and broken heating systems. A lot of the requests were allegedly dismissed and tenants are tired of waiting. On Monday, September 23rd, approximately 30 people protested outside Waterloo City Hall to express their concerns on the condition of their housing. City Hall urged students to talk to their landlords about their issues, but this is precisely where the problem began in the first place. No one is listening. Students are living without heat in the winter, broken utilities and insect issues. The City of Waterloo claimed that the complaints are nothing out of the ordinary… good to hear! Mistreatment and negligence towards tenants are exactly what we want as the norm. Students are growing increasingly impatient with landlords that are not recognizing their frustrations and concerns on the quality of their living space.

The average rental cost in Waterloo is $601 per month including utilities. This means that a standard 12-month lease is $7,212 a year. For your average student, this is a hefty price to pay for rat-infested, mold-ridden houses. Students who are inexperienced in renting are vulnerable to being taken advantage of when attempting to navigate the housing market. Often, parents will have to get involved for matters to be taken seriously. Many students have a lot on their plates to begin with and worrying about maintenance issues in their student rental house/apartment is not ideal during midterm or exam season.

Photo Source: RentCafe.com

What’s the best way to avoid being taken advantage of when the time comes to sign your lease? Know your rights. Familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant by reading The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). This act outlines the rules for repairs and issues that tenants face in Ontario. Becoming aware of your rights will prepare you for situations when you need to know what you are entitled to. International law says that citizens in Canada should have access to good housing they can afford. For this to be upheld, tenants and landlords have rights outlined in the Human Rights Code. All parties need to understand what rights protect them against unjust treatment and harassment.

Photo Source: Mathew McCarthy via TheRecord.com 

Since the housing scandal has become public knowledge, Accommod8u’s online reviews have been plagued by hundreds of angry tenants demanding answers. Allegations of unanswered calls and warnings to “save your money and time” are at the forefront of the company’s online platform. Students are fed up and are no longer accepting silence as an answer.

A couple of tenants may have gone unnoticed, but thousands are too many to ignore.