42% of all purpose-built student-specific housing in Canada is in the City of Waterloo, where 84% of WUSA Housing Survey respondents live. Housing survey respondents (1,500+ undergraduates) overwhelmingly (85%) rent housing and do not live with family members (67%).
Many students (43%) experience 1-2 maintenance issues per term and only 10% of respondents never have a major issue per term. Common issues include lack of heating or ventilation systems, poor water quality, and weathering of doors and/or windows. In addition, students indicated they are not likely to report these issues to the proper municipal authorities.
Cost of housing in the region is increasing every year, and is of great concern to students. 72.5% of respondents said cost is an important factor when looking for housing. Additionally, approximately 70% of students spend over 30% of their monthly budget on housing.
For housing covered under the Residential Tenancies Act (most Waterloo housing), landlords are required to use the Ontario Standard Lease, but only 15% of students said it had been used with them. 70% of those leases also had additional (illegal) clauses added that the majority of students didn’t know were illegal. Awareness of tenant rights is of major concern.
It is recommended that WUSA advocate for better enforcement of housing and tenant laws and increase student ability to report predatory landlords. WUSA is also recommended to improve awareness of tenant rights through housing events, a new website, as well as other avenues.
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WUSA recognizes that much of the work we do happens on the traditional territory of the neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The land we work on is covered by the Between the Lakes Treaty, No. 3 (1792), and this region is still home to First Nation, Inuit, and Metis peoples from across Turtle Island. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work, play and live on this land and acknowledge that it is our collective responsibility to make our community and world a better place for all people. We acknowledge that educational institutions have not been a safe space for Indigenous students in the past and we continue to work to ensure that this is no longer the case. The work towards truth and reconciliation is ongoing, please do your part and take time to learn more: TRC 94 Calls to Action | MMIWG Calls to Justice Report | Native-Land.ca | Student Supports & Clubs