Joshia Herter is a 21-year-old cancer survivor currently splitting her time between South Carolina and Peterborough, where she is studying at Trent University.
You would know this about Herter by reading his ad. in kijijiwhere he posted looking for an apartment to rent for the next school semester.
“I will also be employed in Peterborough when I return and my parents will be the benefactors if I struggle to make ends meet,” the post reads, also noting that he has been vaccinated four times against COVID-19.
Herter says he shared so much information because he needs a clean place that suits his needs, since he’s immunocompromised, and it’s his way of reducing the number of respondents who offer apartments that won’t work for him.
“It’s better if I’m pretty transparent, that way I don’t have to deal with these things later and it becomes a problem,” he said.
But more people are posting personal details on listing sites like Kijiji or Facebook, going beyond basic information like number of tenants or potential price range.
“We are a Christian mother and son, homeless due to natural hard times,” reads another ad. “We don’t have physical disabilities, just depression from time to time.”
Another ad says it was posted by a single mother with two children, and the poster is looking for an apartment “as soon as possible” by July or August 1 at the latest.
“I can pay between 1200 and 1800, I have the first and last on hand and I am on a program where they pay my rent, so the rent will always be full and on time,” the post read.
Various postings indicate that housing is needed “as soon as possible” or “urgently”.
Peterborough has continued to see a steady rise in apartment prices, and little relief seems to be in the offing.
the Report Housing is essential 2021published by United Way Peterborough and District, shares that between 2019 and 2020 there was a 5.1% increase in the cost of one-bedroom apartments, raising their average price to $990 per month.
For two-bedroom units, there was a 7.9 percent increase, making them $1,191.
But in Kijiji, as of June 20, there are few listings for one-bedroom apartments under $1,300 a month.
There are a number of developments in Peterborough, building homes in every part of the city. The county has also added to the high demand for housing, with several neighborhoods under construction in the surrounding municipalities.
But despite these efforts, the United Way report says that from 2019 to 2020 the rental vacancy rate only increased from 0.5 to 2.6 percent. It also reports a shallow growth of new units from 2018 to 2020.with a total of only 14 units online.
Due to high demand, some are taking different approaches to finding rental units in the area.
Herter says that he has not received any response to his post from Kijiji that meets his needs, as he continues to search for a place for August 1st.
Trent’s junior says he wants to go to medical school and become an oncologist, which has become important to him after getting cancer.
In his first year, he rented a place in Lansdowne, which was “a very moldy little slum house”.
“I actually didn’t find an apartment until the week before I had to move… I was really struggling to find a place to live,” Herter said.
In his second year he moved to a place that was much better maintained, but now he is struggling again to find a place to live.
With his post, he says he hopes potential landlords get the impression that he’s hard-working and “seems better than most other applicants looking for an apartment (for) fun.”
Another tenant, who only asked to use Michelle’s name to preserve her privacy, also posted on Kijiji hoping to find a spot by August 1.
“I am disabled and have a roommate who helps me with costs. I also have a small 12 year old dog who is calm and friendly. I would love a long term rental,” her ad reads.
the Ontario Human Rights Code says landlords cannot discriminate against applicants because of their disabilities, and cannot use that explicitly or indirectly against them.
Because Michelle says she’s afraid that’s happening to her. She is on ODSP and is limited in what she can pay on her account.
If she finds a place where she can live alone, she could pay up to $600 a month, but with a roommate she could pay up to $1,400.
Your ad says you have a disability because you know many landlords only want to rent to people who work full time, and you want them to know that you have a guaranteed monthly income.
“That hasn’t helped me at all,” Michelle said, noting that she can’t find anywhere to rent on her income.
While she says she understands that landlords want people with stable incomes, she also says that with her disability, she “almost feels like there’s a little bit of (discrimination) out there, but not all of it.”
If she doesn’t find a spot before August, she’s not sure what she’ll do. She adds that it’s “ridiculous” that there isn’t a place for her to live at an affordable price.
“It’s scary for people like us, I’m afraid I won’t find a place in the next few weeks,” he said.