Windowless room barely larger than a twin mattress renting for $750 a month in downtown Vancouver
The room fits a twin-sized mattress and a night stand, and it will cost nearly $800 to rent.
A Craigslist ad posted this week highlights the compromises some renters are willing to make to secure a space in Vancouver's low-vacancy, high-priced rental market.
It advertises a "small room" in a condo that is available June 1 in downtown Vancouver.
The room is not a bedroom, but a windowless den being rented as a space to sleep. And in that sense, it seems to serve its purpose, as a small mattress for a single person fills up most of the narrow space.
The ad assures would-be renters while the room is small, "the apartment is big," and reminds those willing to pay hundreds for the den, they'd also have access to the rest of the apartment, other than their roommates' bedrooms.
According to the ad for the rental, the rest of the condo is shared with two roommates. It costs $750 a month, not including internet and utilities.
It's located in a high-rise building above the Granville Skytrain Station. The listing highlights the location and amenities to counter the tiny space.
Ads like this are not uncommon in Vancouver because renters are willing to pay for these spaces in a rental market with high prices and limited supply. In some cases, it's because it's all they can afford.
A University of British Columbia instructor said it's partly a symptom of what's actually on the market.
"You're trading off privacy and space for cash," said Tom Davidoff, an associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. "It's a terrific location in a place where there's not enough homes."
Davidoff said it's an indicator too that people are being forced to make sacrifices such as windows, a lack of privacy and likely poor ventilation, in order to live in the city.
Other furnished rooms in the downtown area are advertised between $1,000 and $1,550, so the den for $750 may be appealing for some. Recent rental reports suggest those who don't want a roommate could pay $2,000 a month or more.
Erika Ohashi, an international student from Japan, said she responded to more than 70 ads and will soon be moving into a room that is similar in size for $1,100 a month.
"It's enough for me because it's big enough to sleep and stay safe, so it's good," she said, giving a thumbs up.
Advocates for renters said the listing for the tiny room is yet another sign of a desperate need for affordable housing.
"We need to look at public investment in public and social housing, investment in incentivizing other non market housing types like housing co-ops, things that make sure we don't just get more units on the market but actual affordable units available," said Robert Patterson, a lawyer at the Tenants Resource and Advisory Centre.
Davidoff agreed, saying that until that happens, the cost to rent will continue to climb. He noted the impact the real estate market has on rentals, as some landlords struggle to make ends meet too.
"Mortgage payments have gotten more expensive, so making payments on a home is going to get worse. And I would presume unless something dramatic changes in the economy and with respect to general migration patterns, I think the rental market is going to get worse here too," he said.
CTV News contacted the person who posted the Craigslist ad for an interview but did not hear back.