More places for rent in Whistler but prices are up 

As the Olympics near, renters are having a harder time securing long term leases

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"We have heard from people coming in that they can find places typically up to about November and December for 2009, if they can find a place," she said.

"We are definitely hearing a lot of landlords right now may want to keep the units available or open for rent through the Olympics."

At Whistler Blackcomb, staff housing has traditionally been full through the winter. But that wasn't the case this past winter.

"We had, for the first time in my history here, more beds than people," said Brian Good, who has worked for Whistler Blackcomb for seven years.

"Our occupancy was 98 per cent, which is still exceptional. We had 1,390 beds and our average occupancy was about 1,285."

As far as the Olympics go, Good said Whistler Blackcomb's staff housing will continue as normal.

He added, though, that since Whistler Blackcomb plans to hire fewer people next year, some staff housing spaces will be offered to returning staff.

But not everyone is seeing more rental inventory in town.

Gord Low, from Mountain Country Property Management, said his company's rental inventory has "not increased" this year.

"We have found most current tenants are holding onto their property where possible to ensure they have a property through the Olympics.

"We had anticipated abandonments this spring due to the many layoffs that have occurred, but surprisingly that has not happened."

He added that a majority of their landlords are renting their property through the Olympics.

"We have very few property owners who wish to utilize their property during the Olympics," said Low.

Know your rights as a tenant

As the Olympics near and landlords may be tempted to use their rental property in February 2010, renters may want to review their rights.

Information is available at: www.tenants.bc.ca.

According to Tom Durning from the Tenants Rights Action Coalition, if you have signed a lease that expires at a specific date, you are probably bound to that. But, if you don't have a lease, or your lease does not state when you have to leave, your landlord can only kick you out if they have immediate family moving in or they are undergoing renovations.

The act defines immediate family as "mother, father, son or daughter." And Durning added that if your landlord is doing renovations, you should make sure they have the proper permits in place.

Also, the WHA is administering an e-mail service for renters who are worried their landlords are applying for a Temporary Commercial Use Permit (TCUP) for the Games at 2010 at renters@whistler.ca . Background on TCUPs can also be found on the Whistler Housing Authority website, www.whistlerhousing.ca

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