building new castles every day

Are you our new landlord?

In Doings on May 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Photos of our family.

Can a group of 6 young professionals, having lived together for nearly five years, be considered a family?

What if, instead of moving out with their partners and separating from their support network, they strived to grow together under the same roof?

Would it matter that they were all between the ages of 27 and 29? With commitment like this, and a deep respect for their community, you can be sure they’d be committed to any house they called home for the next three years.

On June 1, 2012, my family — in the truest sense of the word — is moving. We’ve been in our Broadway townhouse for nearly four years and it’s time to upgrade to a larger space. If we were in any other city with lower real estate prices, we’d consider buying a house. But we’re not in any other city. And we like it that way! We all love Vancouver and we desperately wish to stay in this vibrant, friendly, culturally-complex, laid-back community.

The problem is: No one is renting to us.

We’re searching for a 4-bedroom house to rent for a maximum of $4,000/month. We have a combined income of $232,000 so money is not the issue. Our ideal neighbourhoods are anywhere between Dunbar and Mount Pleasant, so we’re not being terribly particular. Our dog, Riley, is smaller than a cat and more trained than your average husband (unless yours can do a handstand) so that’s not a problem either. Yet, we’ve been told time and time again that homeowners (or rental agencies) would rather rent to a ‘family.’

The thing is: Our situation, coupled with Vancouver’s housing issues, have turned us into the Modern Day Family. By combining our incomes and our lives, we have the same dream as everyone else – to live in a house before we’re 30 years old. We’ll even sign a two-year lease.

So we’re asking for your support. Do you know any landlords looking to rent out their Vancouver house? Do you know of a property manager who could direct us toward a forever rental home? Have you seen any great listings that you think we haven’t?

At the very least, will you share this message with your own network?

Our family of six professionals, includes:

  • One High School Teacher (Tyrel Meredith)
  • One Public Relations Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? (Natalie Burgwin)
  • One Communications Consultant (me! Jocelyn Wagner)
  • One UBC medical student (David Mongar)
  • One Bartender (Matthew McLellan)
  • One Custom-Home Carpenter (Phillip Huen)

If you’d like further information about us, or you’d like to connect us with a property manager, please e-mail us at You can also read about all the family members here.

BTW, one landlord told us that he’s worried about us partying. Trust me, this is what we do on weekends:

  1. Reblogged this on A Scots Canadian Adventure and commented:
    Check out my boyfriend and his adorable roommates, on their quest to find a new home together…

  2. Landlords saying they prefer to rent to a “family” always make me roll my eyes. Our landlord tried to insist on that for a while with the walk-up we live in, but at $2000+ a month for a three-bedroom apartment (not even a house), any family that could afford that in Toronto’s market would have already bought themselves a house, or at very least a condo! In the end, after about 6 months of my fiance and I (the only “family” he has ever been able to rent to – and we’re in the cheaper basement apartment that’s way less than $2000/mo) being the only tenants in the building, he relented and had a full house again. Honestly, what matters if the renters can be considered a “family” or not? If they collectively are willing to pay the rent and have the ability to pay it on time, as can be established from a credit check, then what’s the issue?

    Meanwhile, good luck on your house hunting! I’ll share with my Vancouver friends to see if they know any leads.

    • Thank you for your supportive words, Felis! It’s encouraging to hear about other families in this situation. Over the years, I’ve had several conversations about the concept of ‘family’ and what it means to others. Family means a social unit of support, no matter the ages of its members. Family is all-encompassing and shouldn’t be discriminatory.

      Our hope is that by bringing our situation to the public’s attention, we can help change the minds of landlords and property managers to include us in their concept of The Modern Family. Thank you for helping spread the word!

  3. Keep the faith! Our group of 5 adults (with a far lower combined income than yourselves) did finally manage to find a nice house in East Van. It took us just walking up and down the streets with “renting resumes” ready to hand to any landlord we were able to find, but it is possible. I’ve posted your blog to my FB, good luck!

    • This is so encouraging to hear! Thank you for re-posting on your blog. We are viewing places left, right and centre over the next few days. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

  4. My advice is don’t loose hope but also, don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference in your community. I was in exactly the same situation as you a few years ago, trying to find a 4-5 berm home with my urban family composed of grad students, and professionals, one of them 5 month pregnant.

    We found a place eventually, but the landlord didn’t want cats (even though they were owned by a veterinarian) so the vet had to strike out on their own. 6 months later and with a 2 month old baby the chinese landlord flipped the house and my dear friends were kicked out by the anonymous chinese buyer who bought the house and tore it down as soon as the moved out only to build a generic house on the site that sat empty for months.

    They found another home, in a slightly worse neighborhood, but at least they are together and can still afford rent.

    Vancouver is full of stor

    • Eric, thanks so much for sharing your story! And apologies that your comment got cut off. Although the first goal of this blog was to reach out directly to homeowners and tell them who we are as people (not just SIN numbers and annual incomes), we’re really excited that the blog has also generated a lot of discussion around this issue. We’d love to hear more from you so if you’ve got the radio on at 11:40 am this morning, tune into CKNW 980 AM. Nat and I will be talking with Bill Good about the Vancouver housing situation for young professionals.

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