‘And it’s only $1,200 a month!’
By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
Local wizard and Boy Who Lived Harry Potter expressed his excitement this week at finally finding a place to rent within the Metro Vancouver area.
“It’s within an hour’s walking distance of a SkyTrain, there’s a run-down bodega two blocks away, and a creek down the road where I can do my laundry,” gushed Potter on Facebook this week. “It’s a great communal house, super community-oriented, there’s about 18 of us in here and I still get my own room!”
The room in question is a repurposed cupboard under a flight of stairs that has been fitted with a fold-up camping cot, with one shelf left up for storage. The house itself is a ’70s two-storey home with an unfinished basement, with all the original features and appliances.
“Yeah, so, the oven immediately catches fire when you turn it on,” said Potter’s roommate Ron Weasley, whose four brothers and one sister share a “bedroom” off the entrance hall (a living room with a curtain taped up across the archway). “But we take the batteries out of the smoke alarm whenever we use it, and we’ve gotten really good at timing how long a frozen pizza needs to cook over an open flame, so when we’re done we just pop the food out and blast it with the fire extinguisher. It’s a really good system once you get the hang of it.”
UBC grad student Hermione Granger also lives in the house, balancing her schoolwork with a full-time career as a lab tech assistant as well as two side hustles to make rent every month.
“I’m still getting deeper and deeper in debt, but I’m trying to stay optimistic,” said Granger, conducting her interview with the Other Press as she delivered takeout to various homes in the neighbourhood while simultaneously dictating research notes into her smartphone for her thesis. “I figure, get my master’s, get a little more work experience, and I might be able to start paying off my student loans. I can sleep when I’m dead, right?”
Fellow UBC student Draco Malfoy lives a very different life from Granger and her friends in his on-residence apartment.
“I’ve read about these communal living situations, and it’s honestly depressing just to think about,” said Malfoy, writing in an op-ed for the school newspaper, The Publication That Must Not Be Named. “Really, it’s gross to think there are people who live like that. What kids our age need to do is pull themselves up by their bootstraps, square their shoulders, and ask their parents to pay rent for them. There’s no need to go about living in some hovel that hasn’t been renovated since the first Trudeau administration!”
Setbacks aside, Potter has voiced nothing but gratitude for his cupboard under the stairs since moving in.
“It was either this or stay with my abusive aunt and uncle,” he said, sitting on his cot and peering out the cupboard door to talk to our reporter. “Sure, I wish the rent was a little lower since I’m working an unpaid internship right now, and sure, I wish the basement wasn’t infested with poisonous spiders the size of my hand, but look on the bright side: I’m surrounded by all these new friends, and we finally managed to scrub the last of the black mould from the shower tiles! This is about as prime as Lower Mainland real estate gets!”