Finding accommodation in Canada is one of the first things any newcomer will want to tick off their to-do list. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to find temporary accommodation in Canada first, while you search for apartments or houses for rent in Canada. From your first night to your first lease and beyond, this article has advice for you.
Temporary accommodation in Canada
Before you arrive in Canada, it’s crucial to at least have somewhere lined up for your first few nights. Hostels and hotels are plentiful in urban areas, though you may wish to book well in advance to ensure you have the widest choice of temporary accommodation in Canada available to you. If your budget is limited while you stay in temporary accommodation, Hostelworld has an extensive collection of short-term accommodation to suit any budget.
Booking self-catering accommodation — perhaps for a few weeks, or even a month or two — is also a practical way to line up temporary accommodation in Canada for your arrival. The major player in this market is Airbnb, but there are also city-specific temporary apartment rental companies that you should be able to identify through a quick web search.
Finding houses and apartments for rent in Canada
There are several types of rental accommodation in Canada, including houses, condominiums, and apartments.
Some houses will be available to rent in their entirety, while some will be divided into several units. A house divided into two units is called a ‘duplex’. Split in three, it’s known as a ‘triplex’. In other houses for rent in Canada, rental rooms are available, with shared living and bathroom facilities.
Apartments for rent in Canada range from ‘bachelor’ units, where a single room serves as both the bedroom and living area, to those with multiple bedrooms and separate living areas.
The cost of utilities, such as electricity and water, may or may not be included in your rent. Visit our internet service providers in Canada and utilities in Canada articles for information on service providers in your area. You can find houses and apartments for rent in Canada in the classifieds section of local newspapers, libraries, and on websites such as Kijiji and Craigslist. Facebook groups for newcomers to Canada are also useful. In many cities, you can simply walk around your preferred neighbourhood, as landlords will post signs outside their property advertising available vacancies.
Getting a lease in Canada
When getting longer-term accommodation in Canada, landlords will usually request information about your ability to pay rent before offering you a lease. Documents that may be requested include:
- A letter from your current, or most recent, employer that indicates your annual income.
- Bank statement(s) that show you have enough savings to cover rent for a few months.
- References from previous landlords.
Many landlords will prefer Canadian documentation, which can be cumbersome or impossible for new arrivals. However, there are landlords out there who are willing to rent their houses and apartments for rent in Canada to newcomers, so if you don’t succeed at first, keep trying!
Important things to keep in mind when looking for accommodation in Canada:
- Rentals in Canada tend to start on the 1st of every month, with a smaller number becoming available on the 15th of every month. Plan your trip with this in mind as you want to ensure you have a good range of options. Arriving around two weeks before month’s end is advisable, as you get ample time to learn about your surroundings and find suitable houses or apartments for rent in Canada.
- Most houses and apartments for rent in Canada require at least half a month’s rent as a security deposit.
- Rental accommodation in Canada often comes furnished, so always ask before a viewing. Furnishing a place can take time and money, so try Craigslist for cheap or free stuff. The best time to get really good deals on furniture is towards the end of the month as people are moving and will often sell their possessions at knock-down prices.
- Know your rights as a tenant. Become familiar with tenancy law in the province you plan on moving to.
- Unfortunately, there are online scams that attempt to dupe people into paying deposits on properties that don’t exist. Beware of bogus ads when searching for accommodation in Canada.