Where do you plan to stay in Canada? Follow these essential tips for finding accommodations when you arrive.
Finding accommodation is one of the first things to do when you arrive in Canada. However, looking for a place to stay can be a challenge. It might be easier to rent temporary accommodation in the beginning until you gain a better understanding of the area around you, the housing market, and the local neighbourhoods. Get a feel for the type of home you are looking for so you are ready when it is time to rent or buy. This guide aims to equip newcomers with information that will better prepare them for finding a house, apartment, or condominium in Canada.
Before you arrive, you should already have a place planned for the first few days of your stay. Usually newcomers use a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb for temporary accommodations until they can find something that will last longer.
Renting a House
Are you interested in renting a house? It is important to be aware of what this option includes. Houses may be rented in their entirety; however, some houses might be divided into units. This is known as a duplex. If the house is split into three, then it is a triplex. Additionally, there may be rental rooms available that include a shared living space and a bathroom.
Renting an Apartment or Condominium
Apartments and condominiums also come in a variety of types. There are bachelor units in which a single room serves as the bedroom and living space. Or there are spaces with multiple bedrooms and separate living spaces. It all depends on what you can afford and how much room you need!
How to Find a Place
Usually houses and apartments for rent can be found in the classified section of local newspapers or on websites like Kijiji. However, you can always try a rental agency or search Facebook groups that are specific to newcomers to Canada.
If there is a neighbourhood that you prefer, take a walk around that area. It’s common for landlords to post signs that advertise vacant spaces right on their property.
Landlords will request information from tenants before they offer a lease. This is to confirm that you are able to pay rent. These documents can include:
- References from previous landlords
- A bank statement that shows you have sufficient savings to cover rent costs
- A letter from your current or most recent employer that states your annual income
Typically, rental properties require half a month’s rent or a month’s rent as a security deposit in case there is any damage to the property while you are living there.
In Canada, it is common for rentals to begin on the 1st of every month. Therefore, it is wise to plan your trip with this timeline in mind so there are more options available to you when you are ready to look for a long-term place.
So, when should you arrive? It is recommended that you arrive in Canada approximately two weeks before the 1st. This provides a chance to get to know the city first.
Also, furnishing your new home can be costly. You should always ask if a place will come furnished before agreeing to sign anything. If it doesn’t already come with furniture, check out pre-loved furniture online through Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. Most of the time, people get rid of their stuff towards the end of the month when they are moving. So keep an eye out for good deals!
Most importantly, familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant, so no one takes advantage of you. And watch out for any false advertising that claims to have accommodations available — there are a lot of scams out there.
It is important to note that there will be extra costs alongside your rent. Sometimes utilities are included in your rent, but not always. Be prepared to pay for electricity and water bills, phone and internet service providers, credit card debt, and more.
In the beginning, it is okay to bounce around from place-to-place until you find the right home for you and your family. There is a lot to consider as you make this big decision. Hopefully this article helps you while you find accommodation in Canada.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.