New off-campus housing market opens for students that can’t get into residence

By Staff Writer

Many new students to British Columbia that are short of making it on the SFU or UBC housing list are being forced to find accommodation off-campus, and a handful of new agencies have sprung on the opportunity to offer short-term rentals off-campus.

There are thousands of students, many international, on housing waitlists for UBC and SFU, and for many, finding a place to stay in a place they’ve never been can be a daunting task.

Global Education City is one such company that offers short term student accommodation. GEC has eight locations across the city, including buildings on Granville and Burnaby Heights. A bed in one of the shared, fully furnished dormitory rooms costs around $700 a month, but students can pay up to $2,000 if they’re looking for more space and privacy. Many of the accommodations consist of a fully furnished, shared kitchen and living space, and bedrooms lined with bunk beds.

GEC’s most recently opened building, GEC Pearson on South Cambie, started taking reservations in April and is already 70 per cent reserved. The building can board 320 students, and residents must stay for a minimum of one month and a maximum of 2 years, depending on their status as a student.

Getting the buildings approved and built can be a lengthy process. According to the City of Vancouver, thousands of building applications have congested the rezoning process in the city. GEC Pearson took over four years in the making.

According to the City of Vancouver, many building applications are rejected for not being suitable for local needs and outcomes, and many developers shy away from rental housing for its low capital. The City of Vancouver is still working on its 10-year housing plan which will include more student housing as well as streamlining the process for approving rental housing.

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