by Nadine Moedt, Ashley Mussbacher, and Katie Stobbart
Forest Village Condominiums
1909 Salton Road
$695-800 two-bed, one-bath
The building is managed by MacKinnon Property Management, located in Vancouver. Each apartment is privately owned and rented out by the owner through the on-site manager, therefore each unit will have different rules regarding pets and smoking. The hallways are wider than average low-income apartments, and a laundry room is located on each floor with multiple machines. The outdoor pool is free to use for all tenants May through September, and is cleaned each week. Management is friendly, attentive, and on top of repair jobs. If you’re a gardener, you’ll be allowed to garden anywhere on the property provided it’s clean and tidy year-round. Management also hosts community events: each September gardeners compete in the “best looking garden or balcony” contest, and in May owners and tenants get together to do a spring clean-up, after which lunch is provided.
Chelsea Park Gardens
33710 Marshall Road
$688 one-bed (with year lease)
$848 two-bed (with year lease)
Chelsea Park Gardens is an older building, but the suites have been renovated for a fresh, clean look. There are nice looking laminate floors, new countertops, and beige paint (no dingy apartment-white). There’s a large, quiet, and well-kept green space behind the buildings. Balconies are a good size — plenty of room for a couple chairs and a balcony garden. The apartment manager is helpful and accessible, and maintenance is quick to solve any minor problems like damaged screens or backed-up sinks.
The oven is pretty small — it works, but I had to give up my big cookie sheet. Heat is included, but the hallways are cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and the in-suite climate tends to follow suit; I invested in a good space heater and a couple of fans. Parking is a bit strange, with two lots on either side of the U-shaped building, and the front door at the centre is not directly accessible by car. The pool is small and indoors, but okay for a quick dip — on the plus side, it’s seldom used, which ensures privacy.
I’ve lived here for a year and recently renewed my lease. I scored with a great suite — if you want to do the same, look for a courtyard-facing unit.
33546 Holland Avenue
$850 one-bed, one-bath
$1100 two-bed, two-bath
Tempo is a relatively new building (2008) and is well-maintained by an impassioned and helpful (although a little eccentric) live-in caretaker. The units have an open-concept design with quartz counters, laminate flooring in the main living area, and carpeted bedrooms. While the green space is limited, the suites see an abundance of natural lighting with large windows and covered balconies. The two-bedroom suites have an electric fireplace which actually throws heat, unlike some of the more decorative fireplaces in other buildings. Every unit has a dishwasher, in-suite laundry, and the basic kitchen amenities. Some of the units facing McCallum Road can get unpleasant early morning street noise, but its proximity to the highway — and to UFV — pays off. A party room on the main floor is available for $25 dollars a day and is equipped with a kitchen, TV and bathroom for a larger gathering. Each bedroom also comes with a secure locker for extra storage.
Tempo’s various suites are mainly privately owned, which means the prices and contracts differ from unit to unit. While this building is a little pricier than some of the surrounding apartments, if you are looking for something more modern, Tempo delivers.
Town and Country Apartments
1948 McCallum Road
$650 one-bed, one-bath
$780 two-bed, one-bath
While Town and Country Apartments may be infamous for the 2011 incident involving a naked gun-toting Canucks fan, the building has recently undergone a management change. An overhaul led to the apartments being painted a variety of rather gaudy colors. The biggest pro (aside from the cheap rent), is that this building is inclusively pet-friendly; if you have a giant dog or any number of cats, this is the building for you. The green space is a little scruffy, but plentiful — a nice place to let pets roam. Town and Country is an older building and its design reflects its age: rickety elevators, narrow hallways, and not a lot of natural light in some of the units. Some units are endowed with laminate flooring (I always try to avoid carpeting in older buildings) and new countertops. If you are looking for a unit in this building, make sure it has a balcony, as some of them come without one, and choose an east-facing unit, away from the busy roads of McCallum and Marshall.
1916 McCallum Road
Wellesley manor was my first home away from home while attending UFV. The building is run by a meticulous on-site manager who will do any repairs or replacements when you require it in a timely manner. When I moved in, the fridge and toilet had been replaced, and the unit repainted. The units are older and the carpets a little suspect, but the building has been taken care of and gives a more welcoming feel than something like Town and Country. The units on the first floor have a small fenced courtyard and direct access to some green space, where friendly cats roam free and find their way into your apartment while the screen door is open. Most units have a walk-in closet in the entrance for extra storage. While the atmosphere is friendly, you can’t really escape the highway noise and the walls are thin enough to hear your neighbour snoring. Wellesley Manor provides a happy medium in price and quality of living for the student renter.
1918 McCallum Road
$1100 two-bed, two-bath
Wellesley Court is a brand-new apartment building located right behind the older Wellesley Manor. Corner suites are a bit more expensive (and come with a fireplace and a little extra square footage), and prices go up for higher floors, but the building is offering $250 off your first month’s rent as move-in incentive. The building shares green space with Wellesley Manor, on which some large cedars provide as nice a view as Mount Baker does on the opposite side. The exercise room is air-conditioned and features all-new equipment with free access for residents. Each unit has quartz countertops, laminate floors and carpeted bedrooms, and in-suite laundry. Walk-in pantries provide plenty of storage space. Each unit allows one parking spot and a second one for rent at $25 a month. Another move-in incentive provides renters with free cable for a year.