Calgary's tight rental market leaving university students in a lurch

WATCH: If you have an extra room or rental property, consider renting it out to a student. That's the message from the students’ union at the University of Calgary. As Adam MacVicar reports, the plea comes as the vacancy rate at on-campus residence buildings hits zero.

Calgary’s housing crunch has some college and university students scrambling to find a place to live when school starts in the fall.

The University of Calgary Students’ Union says for the first time ever, UCalgary residences are full and waitlisted students have been advised that they cannot be accommodated in on-campus housing.

“Due to higher-than-normal demand for on-campus housing, UCalgary’s residences are full and have lengthy waitlists for every building. At this time, UCalgary cannot accommodate any new applications,” the university said in a statement. “Communication is ongoing with students, including those on waitlists, to help guide them to alternative accommodation options within Calgary.”

But off-campus is no better.

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With an average one per cent vacancy rate in the city, students are competing against other desperate renters vying for a home.

Calgarians are being asked to consider renting any type of housing to students — whether it be a spare room, basement suite, apartment, or laneway housing.

“Students will be looking to move here as early as August and definitely for September,” students’ union president Nicole Schmidt said in a news release.

“If you’re able, please consider renting to a student. Renting to students is a win-win: students get a great place to live while studying and landlords get new revenue.”

The student housing crunch isn’t being felt at Mount Royal University.

According to the university, the number of applications for fall residences are on-par with what was expected.

“We don’t anticipate any concerns regarding a housing shortage,” MRU Residence Services manager Bob Lambert told Global News. “We’re still currently accepting residents’ applications, and we’re happy to accommodate Mount Royal students who still need a place to live in September.”

Meanwhile officials at SAIT said that residence is not currently at capacity but “is filling up quickly with the fall term around the corner.”

The SU said it has seen a steep decline in rental housing postings on its housing board, with only 15 advertisements purchased throughout June and July.

That’s compared to 75 ads bought in June and July of 2019, before the pandemic.

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Schmidt said access to safe and affordable housing for students is an ongoing concern, but this year they’re experiencing an even harder time than usual.

“Students deserve to access safe, clean, and affordable housing while they pursue their studies,” she said.

“The current rental market is tight and what’s available often costs more than what students can afford. This is an access and affordability issue.”

Landlords and students can visit and search “University of Calgary” to post or find available rentals, sublets, or roommates.

is to offer landlords the ability to post for free on the website. Posting is free for landlords until the end of August.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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