News / Vancouver

$1,225 a month for a windowless shed? Only in Vancouver

City inspectors will take a closer look at a windowless shed that was briefly listed for rent on Craigslist.

The back of a shed in East Vancouver that was briefly listed as a one-bedroom apartment on Craiglist, renting at $1,225 a month.

Jen St. Denis

The back of a shed in East Vancouver that was briefly listed as a one-bedroom apartment on Craiglist, renting at $1,225 a month.

Would you pay $1,225 a month to rent a shed?

A Craigslist rental listing that attracted ridicule and disbelief on social media over the weekend has also caught the attention of the City of Vancouver’s manager of development, buildings and licensing.

“Our property use inspectors have opened a file on this and plan to re-inspect to see if they in fact do stop renting it,” Kaye Krishna wrote in an email to Metro after being informed of the listing, which showed what appeared to be a windowless shed advertised at 525 square feet, with “a small loft space for a bed,” a washroom with a shower and a fridge, hotplate and sink, but no stove.

The owner of the East Vancouver property, who confirmed he was the “Jake” from the Craigslist ad, said the June 9 listing was a mistake and has now been removed. He said it was originally posted by a property caretaker who believed the building was a coach house; but when the owner looked inside the shed, it was clear “there was nothing there” in terms of wiring or plumbing.

When Metro visited the property, contractors were renovating the shed, although the owner said he had no intention of turning it into a coach house. He currently has a development application in to the city to build a six-storey rental building on the property, which would replace the three-story house that currently sits on the property at Adanac and Commercial Dr.

A screenshot of the ad as it appeared on Craigslist on June 9.

Craigslist

A screenshot of the ad as it appeared on Craigslist on June 9.

Property records show the property was acquired in 2016 by Park Drive Investments and has an assessed value of $1.765 million.

With Vancouver’s vacancy rate at under one per cent, and with soaring land prices also putting pressure on rental rates, it’s important that would-be renters use common sense and make a report to the city’s information line, 311, when they see something that looks unsafe, Krishna said.

For Krishna, there are several red flags with this listing, aside from the lack of windows: what appears to be unprofessional wiring and the lack of a proper kitchen. (Hotplates are only allowed in SROs, Krishna said. The city has also made allowances for units as small as 250 square feet, but only in the Downtown Eastside.)

“Really people are only allowed to rent legal dwelling units, and there are a lot of rules around them — and it can be confusing,” she said, adding that municipal building and permitting rules are in place to keep people safe. “I think this is a great opportunity for us to focus on good, consumer-focused guidelines on how to find good, liveable spaces and what some key indicators might be for folks.”

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