Landlords' demands for sex 'horrifying,' 'dangerous': mayor
Published Wednesday, September 28, 2016 6:01PM PDT
Demands for sex from some Vancouver landlords uncovered in a CTV News hidden camera investigation are a sign Vancouver’s rental housing market has slipped from expensive to dangerous, said the city's mayor.
Gregor Robertson told CTV News he is trying to increase the amount of rental housing by restricting short term rentals like Airbnb and taxing empty homes, even as observers say more needs to be done.
“For anyone to consider that extreme situation is horrifying,” the mayor said. “It speaks to how dangerous the situation has become. We have to have more rental housing so people can have a place to live.”
Robertson was one of several leaders to express shock and outrage after a hidden camera recorded two men propositioning a CTV News employee posing as a potential renter.
In two cases, ads promising free rent “for your time” or a “room share” turned out to be coded offers for a sexual relationship when the undercover renter met the landlord in person.
“Do you like to be on top? Do you like to be in charge?” one landlord said, while telling her he likes massages and wants her to wear skimpy clothing. “We can have rough sex on the living room, on the sofa.”
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said she’s put $500 million into building 3,000 more rental units in the province, which she hopes will ease the market.
But she told a media scrum in Victoria that the RCMP should crack down on “predators” who are trying to exploit women.
“That story is about vulnerable women being exploited. Vulnerable women are being exploited every day in B.C. and all around the world and terrible people are finding all kinds of ways to do that. That is the problem,” she said.
“Vulnerable women find themselves so easily harmed by predators. Because that’s what people are. They are predators. I hope that anyone who saw that story is going to keep an eye out and help the RCMP. Those predators should go to jail.”
Earlier in the day, Solicitor-General Mike Morris echoed those remarks.
“From my perspective, it’s despicable,” Morris said. “I hope that the people involved in those kinds of things are investigated and prosecuted.”
But the NDP’s David Eby said the province should recognize that its policies have helped create the high prices and low vacancy rates that allow those predators to have too much power over the women hoping to rent a suite.
He said the province waited too long to act – and now the city’s rental crisis has “hit bottom.”
“We have an incredible shortage of rental housing in Metro Vancouver. It’s something that desperately needs to be fixed, and has been allowed to go on for far too long,” he said.
He said the province could be taking other steps, including allowing universities to borrow to build student housing, and added that more money should have been invested earlier.