Starting the Discussion

Sunshine Coast Market housing. It’s the critical issue to be addressed to move towards a sustainable economy and civic community.

There is plenty of work being done by activists, social agencies and local government around housing for the homeless. The two new shelter locations in Sechelt (open) and Gibsons (on the way) are evidence of how much the Sunshine Coast cares about the less fortunate among us.

But what about working adults, who have half-time or greater employment and can not find any permanent, stable and sustainable housing on the Sunshine Coast? (The widely accepted ratio for ‘sustainable’  housing costs is spending no more than 30% of household income on rent or mortgage.)

The missing piece of the puzzle is an expansion of at-market-rate housing.

The Sunshine Coast is known for its heart and community. We pride ourselves on caring for each other, and our community goals are typically based around deep connections, and that ‘special something’ that makes the Coast feel so different from other coastal BC communities.

If we want a vibrant community that draws working age adults to contribute their talents, time and money and creates an economic and social depth that will support our towns and regions as our population continues to age (we are already 10 years above the provincial average for median age) we need to roll up our sleeves, sit down together, and get creative on creating more market housing for the Coast.

Market housing can be created in a number of ways:

  • expanding the inventory of self-contained suites in privately owned homes
  • creating joint tenancies among groups of people in a shared home
  • advocating for non-traditional housing, such as tiny homes or secondary dwellings that are fully closed loop for toilets, grey water etc
  • encouragement of developers working in micro-housing, apartments of smaller square footage that allow first time buyers into the real estate market

ThisistheCoast.ca has identified one of the ways where we can help is to assist homeowners who already have self-contained suites work through the process of creating longterm housing and positive tenant experiences.

This starts with a conversation. If you would like to be a part of this conversation about how to create more market housing on the Sunshine Coast, we’d like to hear from you.

Help us grow longterm housing on the Coast, and grow your income or contribute to the vitality and sustainability of our social fabric!

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Would you like to be a part of the conversation on expanding market housing on the Sunshine Coast? Sign up here!

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housing is the heart of the coast

 

Share your story!

Do you have a story to share? Use the hashtag #heartofthecoast – we’re going to bring them all together and amplify the voices of people who live here or are thinking of moving here and have something (positive) to offer on the housing conversation. Or email [email protected]!

housing is the heart of the coast

Market Housing Stories

Here’s some voices out of the community joining the discussion around growing market housing

Landlord

Caroline, Landlord Sechelt

Caroline purchased a two level home in Davis Bay four years ago. When she took over the house, the first thing she did was invest in the existing downstairs suite with high end finishings, wood floors, and installed a separate water heater and laundry set so the suite is fully self-contained and autonomous from the rest of the house.

The renovations cost around $30,000 but the value of her home has doubled in the four years, for a very good return on the up-front investment.

“I’d like to live downstairs,” she shared. “It’s even nicer than it is up here, and the quality is high enough that I won’t have to do anything else down there for 15-20 years. I don’t even have to think about it. Do it once, do it right.”

Tenants tend to stay 1-3 years, and reasons for leaving are to join a new partner in other housing, or because the stay has been temporary during divorce proceedings or medium-term contract work on the Coast that has completed.

Caroline has a number of strategies for ensuring the fit is good between herself as the Landlord, and the tenant. She keeps the rent just below market rates to attract the most applicants, and then runs rigorous checks: criminal records check and conversations with a minimum of two past landlords or a long time employer (no friends & family references accepted). She has a strict no pets no smoking policy; while she understands how important pets are, several experiences with irresponsible pet owners costing in the thousands of dollars is too high a risk for her.

As landlord, Caroline offers a standard one year lease, with the option of month-to-month or a lease renewal on the anniversary date to keep things simple. The suite has always been left in good order with departing tenants as long as she has owned the home, and as she has it professionally cleaned and painted if necessary between tenants she has not felt the need for a formal inspection of the suite while tenants occupy it.

A bonus is that Caroline and the tenant have children of a similar age, and kids going between the suites constantly provides a more informal check in on how life downstairs is going, and the two families share a brunch most weekends.

Caroline has three pieces of advice for would be landlords. One, don’t set the price too high; two, reward good tenants with stable or slightly lowered rent longterm, and always – always – do a criminal records and background check and talk with references. The CRC is only $25 and can save a lot of heartache, and set your mind at ease with sharing your physical home with a stranger, especially if you have children at home.


Would you like to be a part of the conversation on expanding market housing on the Sunshine Coast? Sign up here and we’ll keep you informed about a town hall and potentially home owner workshops for how to contribute and grow the value of both your home and our community.

Be a part of the conversation! Subscribe now.