Half of Canadian Renters Looking for More Affordable Units Due to COVID: Survey

Canadian renters
Juan Rojas via Unsplash

To get a better understanding of how COVID-19 has had an impact on Canadian renters, Rentals.ca surveyed more than 16,000 renters across 181 cities, and the results showed that half of the respondents say they will need to find a more affordable place to rent because of the pandemic.

Rentals.ca conducted the national rent report in May and asked respondents a number of questions about whether COVID-19 is transforming how they search for a new place to live, if they plan to move or have worries about moving, and how much more they are relying on online tools.

While half of the respondents say they need to find a more affordable place to rent, another 20% said they were uncertain about whether they will search for a more affordable rental until they are more certain about their job status.

READ: This User-Generated Site Tracks Renovictions and Rent Hikes in Toronto

Rentals.ca says the survey indicates one positive side-effect of the coronavirus pandemic – more budget-conscious Canadians, with job losses, furloughs, health concerns, and caution serving as reasons why Canadian renters might move down to save money.

Here are some of the other findings from the survey.

The first question Canadians were asked is whether or not they are planning on moving during the pandemic. The survey found that 34.3% of respondents will be moving, either because they want to or their lease is up, 30% haven’t decided, and 18.5% said they are staying put.

“There was a significant increase in website traffic on Rentals.ca in May,” said Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca. “It appears prospective tenants are doing their research to move or at least to prepare for a move in the near future.”

For those that are planning on moving, almost half of the respondents said they aren’t worried. Those who are nervous about moving said they are anxious about keeping their jobs to afford rent and are fearful of increasing their chances of getting COVID-19. Only about 12% said they are apprehensive of being forced to move because their lease is ending.

As stated above, half of the respondents replied that they need to find somewhere more affordable to rent because of COVID,  while another 20% are nervously waiting to see if they continue to have a job.

For those who will be moving during the pandemic, 38% of responded said they would be okay with using 3D virtual tours and signing a lease without an in-person visit. On the other hand, almost 42% of respondents indicated that even though they would not sign a lease without an in-person visit, they would use a virtual tour to narrow down their choices.

According to Jay Bowden, managing director of Growth, Home and Consumer Services for Google, the growth of virtual home tours on the search engine is up 400% year-over-year.

What’s more, 50% of respondents said they believe the pandemic will not change how they will search for a rental, while 43% said they would only rent from property managers who offer safe cleaning practices.

Many property managers and landlords have already implemented new cleaning regimes, which rentals.ca believes will most likely stick long after the coronavirus is done, which should provide some reassurance for renters.

More from Ainsley Smith

GO Transit Ridership Down 90% Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

New service changes will begin on April 8.
Read More