Volume 26 - Winter 2017

Building Opportunity: Purpose-Built Rentals

Picture a typical rental apartment building. What do you see? Likely, a 1960s stucco fortress with an oddly coloured façade, bicycles awkwardly propped on cluttered decks; the location and perhaps the view its only saving grace.

It’s been our reality in Metro Vancouver and Victoria for decades now: rental living has been an inferior experience. For those who weren’t ready to commit to a condo purchase, or simply preferred the flexibility and simplicity of renting, there were few attractive options.

Now, however, the rental landscape is changing.

The purpose-built rental market just wasn’t economically viable for many years, according to Townline President Rick Ilich, due to restrictive city policies, lack of land options and the cost of lending. “We’ve always known there was a demand for more and better rental accommodations,” he says. “Rentals were always on our radar, so it was very exciting when the stars aligned and we were able to start doing it.”

There are many benefits of purpose-built rental housing in the city. These are some of the most important:

Contemporary Rental Homes:

Bringing beautiful, contemporary rental homes to the market means renters are no longer treated like second-priority urban dwellers. It’s an opportunity to live the way they wish, in the neighbourhoods they choose, with all the design and amenities of a “forever” home.

Amazing Amenities:

Purpose-built rentals allow us to offer our residents kid-friendly, pet-friendly, lifestyle-friendly amenities that are truly amazing – not just “a rental.” That includes state-of-the-art gyms, children’s play structures, dog runs, and more. It’s unusual for rental homes to allow pets, but every Townline rental community is built with them in mind, too.


Renting a condo from a private owner comes with the risk of being asked to leave whenever the homeowner decides. Private-owner rentals may not allow residents to put down roots and really feel at home. With a purpose-built rental, however, there is a greater sense of longevity, and a more stable sense of home.


The flexibility of renting is a major draw for many people. Without the ties of home ownership, you have the ability to move when and where you like. It’s the freedom to change your mind – and your job, location or lifestyle – any time you choose.

Financial Freedom:

The cost of home ownership makes renting an increasingly attractive option for many people. Free from the burden of coming up with a down payment, renting can offer a level of financial freedom that allows for exploration of other interests, like travelling, skiing and dining out.

The Customer Experience:

Townline believes that customer care should be an ongoing relationship – whether you rent or own your property. With a Townline home, programming is put in place to ensure long-term care and satisfaction of our residents – something not offered in a private rental.

“It was too good to be true!” says Heidi Roblesky, who lived at Hudson Mews with her husband and daughter for more than two years. “We’d sold our house in the Okanagan and didn’t know if we were going to stay in Victoria, so we really wanted to rent. But the typical options for renting – especially with pets – were not what we wanted. Then we found Hudson Mews and it was everything we could ask for: a modern, upscale condo with a nice kitchen, beautiful views and an amazing location. Everything is right there and it’s just a great community.”

However, warns Rick, with the cost of borrowing going back up and the price of land acquisition becoming increasingly difficult, the stars that govern purpose-built rentals may soon fall back out of alignment. If you’re not in a hurry to purchase, you may want to secure the right rental while you can.

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