Rogue roommates causing additional stress for students

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Some students resort to billboard adds to find a roommate. Photo: Chelsea Powrie

Reported by Chelsea Powrie

Vancouver students may understand finding an affordable place to live often involves flexibility regarding roommates, and that strangers aren’t always the best company.

Desire for independence drives many Vancouver students into the pricey rental market, and, as a result, posts seeking roommates are a common sight online and on campus billboards.

Lack of funds means less independence

Justine Lilgert was newly enrolled in Langara College studying business when she realized she couldn’t afford her downtown lifestyle. Lilgert turned to the Internet as many students do, and eventually found a woman advertising a bedroom in an Oakridge home. Although they bonded, Lilgert found the arrangement much too familiar.

“When I moved in I felt very mothered by her. She would write on my lunches every day. I’d come home and my bedroom light would be on, she’d have put a hot water bottle in my bed,” Lilgert said. “I didn’t feel like I had a lot of privacy.”

Lilgert moved out after only a few months in the Oakridge home, and she has lived with a stream of different roommates since.

Lilgert said that she initially agreed to her living conditions because she felt like she had to.

“The price was right and I didn’t have another option.”

Roommate problems can affect studies

Andrew Egan, a geography instructor at Langara College said he recalls hearing a particular roommate issue from a student.

“I had a student that stated a roommate stole their computer and thus they could not submit their assignment,” Egan said in an email interview.

Renters may even turned to the classified section of newspapers to find a replacement roommate. Photo: Chelsea Powrie

This problem isn’t just local. Laura de Boer, who lives in Victoria, resorted to finding a roommate on Tinder due to the high rental prices in B.C.’s capitol.

“About a week into me living there, I was reheating coconut curry. [My roommate] asked if it had animal products in it and I said yes, and she got instantly upset,” de Boer said. “She went into her room and cried about it. I threw it out and ordered an extra large pepperoni pizza at a friend’s house.”

De Boer said that her roommate has since made empty threats to kick her out, and has been generally unreasonable, leaving de Boer feeling stuck. Fortunately for her, they co-signed the lease.

“Renting here is incredibly difficult, especially living on your own,” said de Boer.

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