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Vernon News

HELSTON: Don't believe everything you read

Charlotte Helston is a reporter with InfoTel News.

It’s always good to check your facts— especially with a government report.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation just released a report about apartment rentals in cities across the province. It essentially said it’s harder to find a place to rent in Vernon this spring than last. It also pegged the average rent of one, two and three bedroom apartments at $645, $793 and $899 respectively.

But when we looked at classifieds on Kijiji and Craiglist we found average rents are quite a bit higher than in the report.

It’s because the housing corporation doesn’t look at the market rent—what prospective tenants see when they scroll through rental classifieds. It looks at all the rental spaces in the “universe” or, in other words, every possible unit, occupied or unoccupied in the city. Generally, rent rises slowly for tenants who have been in their apartment for a few years. When they move out, the landlord may take the opportunity to raise the rent.

The government report may not be wrong in its estimation of average rent, but without knowing how it bases its numbers, one could be deeply misled by the information it puts out.

Whether it’s BCAA’s worst roads survey, or the National Energy Board joint review panel’s report on the proposed Enbridge pipeline, it’s not a bad thing to be a tad distrustful of the information before you. I’m just lucky I get paid to do it.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724

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