About Us

The RentSmart Guarantee Fund (RSGF) aims to increase access to housing for vulnerable individuals all the while protecting landlords from financial risk.

Educational training for tenants

$5,000 of coverage for eligible tenants

We understand both the landlord & tenant perspective

Bridging the gap between landlords and tenants to increase access to rental housing.

About the Program

RentSmart Certificate program is a 12-hour course that provides individuals with the support, knowledge, and expertise they need to become successful tenants. This education has now been paired with the RentSmart Guarantee Fund. These funds can be used as a guarantee to future landlords that if the graduate leaves their rental unit within the first 12 months and has damages or past due rent, the landlord can recoup the cost above the security deposit. With the help of our partners, we offer up to $5,000 of coverage for eligible claims for damages or rental arrears.

The RentSmart Guarantee Fund is a pilot project that covers 45 tenancies in the BC Lower Mainland and Capital Regional District. This project looks to increase access to housing in two of Canada’s most challenging rental markets by allowing participants to become established tenants while protecting landlords from perceived financial risk.

Our Objective

The RentSmart Guarantee Fund aims to increase access to housing for vulnerable individuals all the while protecting landlords from financial risk. We have a vision of community well-being through housing education and support.

Our Community

The RentSmart Guarantee Fund is a pilot collaboration project between Rent Smart Education and Support Society, Aunt Leah’s Place, Y Young Moms, Y Pandora Youth Apartments, and Pacifica Housing. We are piloting this initiative in the BC Lower Mainland and Capital Regional District, two of Canada’s most challenging rental markets.

FAQ's

We know you must have a lot of questions! See the Landlords and Tenants pages for specific queries or the full FAQ.

Submit a claim

If you’re a landlord who is already part of our program and would like to submit a claim or learn more about the process.

forms

For applications or to submit a claim form.

We’re honoured to work with the following community partners on this project.

Pacifica Housing is a Registered Canadian Charity whose mission is to be a leading innovative provider of affordable homes and support services that contribute to the independence of individuals and families.

Pacifica believes in “housing first”: helping people find safe, secure and permanent housing, so that health, family and other personal matters can then be addressed. Pacifica Housing’s vision is to build better lives through affordable homes and community connections.

The Y Young Moms Program at the Kiwanis Young Family Centre is a transitional housing program in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Victoria. YMP provides safe, affordable housing for young moms and children creating a sense of community where mothers and children feel supported, valued and respected. Support services include individual counselling, group programming, life skills training, drop-in programming, parent education, advocacy, building a healthy support network, support reconnecting to the community and resources. Residents receive individualized support to foster personal growth to facilitate successful transitions to independence and long-term safe housing. The program is part of the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island, a Registered Canadian Charity.

Ready to Rent (R2R) is a Registered Canadian Charity that was founded by a group of citizens and service-related agencies in the Victoria region that came together to find solutions for unstably housed and homeless families. We provide both RentSmart courses – centered around homelessness prevention – and also work with community partners to introduce initiatives that encourage housing stability. Our RentSmart model has since spread to a network of 350 community partners across Canada.

Aunt Leah’s Place is a Registered Canadian Charity that intervenes with youth at the “exit” and “entry” points of the foster care system. They provide holistic support including: housing, counselling, life skills development, education and employment opportunities to youth “aging out” of care, as well as young mothers who are at risk of losing custody due to housing instability.

The Friendly Landlord Network program is one of the ways Aunt Leah’s supports youth housing stability. It is a network of homeowners and property managers who rent suites to youth transitioning out of government care with the support of 20 community youth-serving organizations.

The Y Pandora Youth Apartments is a transitional housing program that provides safe, supported and affordable housing to youths aged 15-19. The suites offer youth shelter and privacy, staffing supports and a much-valued sense of community. Support services for residents include counselling, advocacy, life skills training, nutrition groups and resources, access to fitness, and more. The program is part of the YMCA/YWCA of Vancouver Island, a Registered Canadian Charity.

We are excited to be working together with the McCreary Centre Society to be conducting longitudinal research on the effectiveness and efficiency of the fund.

The McCreary Centre Society is a non-government, not-for-profit committed to improving the health of BC youth through research, evaluation and community based projects. Their vision is that all youth are supported to be healthy and connected.

I am more confident and knowledgeable and more of a proud renter. The course helped me understand things from the landlords perspective and in turn I became a better tenant. Thank you so much, this course taught me a lot and definitely changed my life.

– RentSmart Participant

The Data

Evaluation & Previous Research

From our research we found that guarantee funds are most successful when offered in combination with wrap-around housing support services, including tenant-education and
landlord-outreach programs. In addition to removing barriers for people seeking rental housing, some related benefits include tenants and landlords becoming more diligent about written agreements and documentation of the move-in condition. We also learned that tenants become more confident and successful in finding housing, just knowing the program exists, even if they decide not to use it.

This project was created through literature reviews, focus groups, interviews and consultations on risk mitigation funds operating throughout the United States and Canada.
In particular, we drew heavily on a 2016 discussion paper prepared by University of Minnesota research intern Hattie Hiler for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. We also interviewed representatives from two US-based risk mitigation funds: the City of Boston’s Office of Housing Stability and RentWell in Portland, Oregon, and two Canadian Housing First organizations: the Winnipeg Rental Network and Pacifica Housing in Victoria, BC. We spoke with several representatives from Vancity Credit Union, Vancity Community Foundation, Aunt Leah’s Foundation and Jack Insurance Victoria about the
technical, legal and financial considerations for operating a risk mitigation fund in Canada.

Private market landlords connected with the Friendly Landlord Network also provided insight into how a risk mitigation fund might increase housing opportunities for former youth in care. Two focus groups with youth from Aunt Leah’s Place were conducted, with many of the youth in attendance having had past and present involvement with the foster care system, homelessness and housing instability. This project is indebted to the researchers’ and participants’ enthusiastic participation.

Research Partners

We are excited to be working together with the McCreary Centre Society to be conducting longitudinal research on the effectiveness and efficiency of the fund.

The McCreary Centre Society is a non-government, not-for-profit committed to improving the health of BC youth through research, evaluation and community based projects. Their vision is that all youth are supported to be healthy and connected.

Ask us a Question.

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Office Location

211-611 Discovery Street,
Victoria, BC  V8T 5G4

Phone

(250) 388-7171

Email

info@rentsmartguarantee.org

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