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Leaving Vancouver: An outspoken renter advocate is moving away

Cass Sclauzero documented the most ridiculous and horrifying rental listings in Metro Vancouver's tight rental market.

Cass Sclauzero, an outspoke advocate for renters' rights, is moving back to Ontario because she can't find stable housing in Vancouver.

Jen St. Denis/Metro

Cass Sclauzero, an outspoke advocate for renters' rights, is moving back to Ontario because she can't find stable housing in Vancouver.

An outspoken advocate for renters’ rights has given up on Vancouver — for now.

Cass Sclauzero, who documented Metro Vancouver’s most ridiculous rental listings via her @dearyvrlandlord twitter account, is moving out of her Vancouver apartment today, headed to Ottawa with her fiancée.

Sclauzero was too busy moving to speak to Metro, but in a June 29 interview with Gloria Mackarenko on CBC’s On the Coast afternoon show, the 33-year-old said she and her fiancée just hadn’t been able to find a stable living situation in the city, where the rental vacancy rate is below one per cent.

“My fiancée and I just struggled to find a place that was affordable, stable, the typical reasons,” she told Mackarenko. “We were in our place for about a year before our landlord quote ‘moved his family in,’ we found another great place, were in it for about a year, the landlord raised the rent by 200 a month and the very next day put the house up for sale as part of a land parcel sale for $2.5 million.

“It felt really unstable for us. We were looking into possibly moving into a co-op but the wait lists were too long, and we have two cats, so looking around for a place that was friendly to pets and enough space for future family expansion and in-law visits — we just weren’t finding anything.”

Sclauzero spoke to Metro for several stories about issues ranging from landlords violating B.C.’s privacy laws, to demands made by landlords that tenants not cook smelly food or not have friends over often, to her experience with the fixed-term with vacate clause loophole landlords have increasingly been using to increase rents higher than B.C.’s yearly rent cap of two per cent plus inflation.

She had become politically active and participated in several events hosted by Generation Squeeze, a lobby group for people in their 20s, 30s and 40s (the generation is being “squeezed” by high house and daycare prices compared to wages, the group argues).

Even though she’s returning to Ontario, Sclauzero said she’d like to return to Vancouver one day. The two biggest changes she’d like to see B.C. make to the Residential Tenancy Act are preventing landlords from saying no to renters with pets, and strengthening rent control. She noted that Ontario moved relatively quickly earlier this year to implement changes to its renter law after experiencing similar heated conditions in the rental market.

She didn’t rule out continuing to monitor B.C.’s rental situation.

“As of now I don’t have work in Ottawa, so when I need a break from job hunting I will probably scope out Craigslist from afar,” she said.

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