Renting-Canada

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Furnished accommodation

  • Furnished accommodation is very expensive.
  • Nonetheless it may be useful, and indeed necessary, to rent furnished accommodation for a short time when you land in Canada.
  • This will give you an opportunity to look for more moderately priced rental accommodation for the longer term.
  • If you do an Internet search for this kind of accommodation, use key words like furnished apartment, executive suite, suite hotel, apartment hotel, or vacation rental.
  • Websites that advertise furnished, self-catering accommodation include Craigslist, Kijiji, Vacation Rentals - For Rent By Owner, Holiday Junction, Holiday Home Ads, and Vacation Rentals By Owner. Homestay

Unfurnished Accommodation

  • Most accommodation that is rented on a longer term basis is unfurnished.
  • A landlord usually demands that you sign a one-year lease initially, although you occasionally can find a landlord who is willing to enter into a six-month lease.
  • Thereafter the arrangement usually defaults to a month-to-month rental.
  • Long term accommodation rarely is furnished and, if it is, it's expensive.
  • If you do not have furniture, it's usually more economical to rent unfurnished accommodation and then separately rent furniture from a furniture store to place in your rented accommodation.
  • It also is possible to rent furniture on a short-term basis, while you wait for your household goods to arrive from the UK.


Securing Accomodation

Most Landlords will choose a Tenant based on the information provided by the Tenant as to their status. Therefore it is important that you provide accurate and verifiable information from the outset to help the Landlord choose you. What they are looking for in particular is your ability to pay the rent and also how financially responsible you are. Here is a list of documents that are commonly asked for by Landlords.

  • Credit report, this can be obtained through Experian or Equifax on-line
  • Past employment reference
  • Letter of employment
  • Completed rental application form

Securing accomodation without employment is sometimes very difficult so you may need to consider paying for a lease in advance to re-assure the Landlord of your ability to pay.

Rental prices

  • Some advertisements stipulate that the advertised rental rate for unfurnished accommoation is by the month, but some advertisements do not state the period that the rental rate covers.
  • In the absence of other information, assume that the advertised rental rate is by the month, as that is the norm.
  • Monthly rent listed generally covers property tax but in some cases not utilities. Make sure that you verify what is included or excluded from the rent.

As part of your due diligence process,

  • check with the landlord what the rental period is.
  • check what is included and excluded from the rent e.g. electricity, gas, heat, water, cable TV etc.
  • Check on what parking facilities are available for you the tenant. In some cases this can be at an additional cost.
  • What facilities are in the building (if any) and what access that you have to these facilities.
  • In the case of Condominiums, check out the corporations by-laws to make sure that you undestand any restrictions that you may need to adhere to.

Upfront costs

The costs of moving into your accomodation and the deposits, notices etc. differ between Provinces.

  • Upon moving into your long term rented accommodation, you usually will have to pay the equivalent of two months' rent. In British Columbia, you are usually required to pay one month's rent. In Ontario, the two months rent is aplied against the first and last months rent which means that the Landlord will hold your last months rent as deposit.
  • Rent for the upcoming month typically is due on the first day of the month. Therefore, half of the initial payment is made up of the first month's rent.
  • On moving into the rental property, you also have to pay a damage deposit. NB There are no damage deposits in Ontario other than a Pet Deposit if you have one.The damage deposit is equivalent to a month's rent and this makes up the other half of the initial payment. In British Columbia, the damage deposit is equivalent to half a month's rent. Damage deposits, key money etc. is illegal in Ontario and only the last months rent can be held as a deposit.
  • If, when you later vacate the property, it is in the same condition as it was when you moved in, your damage deposit will be returned to you, with interest.
  • In Ontario you will need to give your Landlord 60 days notice of your intention to vacate the property.

Property inspection

  • When you move into the property, you and the landlord will do a "walk through," during which you will inspect the property, observe the condition that it is in, note any flaws in writing, and both sign copies of the written document.
  • If you want to have the necessary leverage to ensure that your damage deposit is returned to you when you vacate the property, it is important for you to keep a copy of the inspection worksheet that you and the landlord signed.
  • The landlord most likely will have an inspection worksheet but, if he or she does not have one, there is an inspection worksheet on CMHC's website.

Tenant Insurance

  • Insurance is usually optional although some landlords may ask you to get as a condition.
  • Tenant insurance covers contents, renter's liability, and personal liability outside the home
  • Information on insurance in Canada can be found on the industry association's webpage, for tenant's insurance, they have a specific brochure.

Pets

  • Many landlords do not permit pets, especially large ones.
  • It is more difficult to find rental accommodation if you have pets.
  • With that said, landlords who rent houses are more likely to allow pets than landlords who rent apartments (flats).
  • In Ontario you cannot be evicted from a rental property because you have a pet, unless it interferes/impacts another rental unit/tenant.

Information sources

Listings of rental properties

Try these websites for listings of rental properties:

*https://www.gottarent.com

Generic information

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corportation (CMHC) is an excellent source of information about renting.

The British Columbia government's Office of Housing - Residential Tenancy Branch offers very thorough information about tenancy agreements and how to resolve disputes.

Newspapers

Do a Google search for newspapers in the community to which you'll be moving. They often are a source of information about rental properties.

Shared Accommodation

If you want to share a house or apartment with other people, do a Google search for ROOMMATES + CITY NAME. Also search for ROOMATES (one m) + CITY NAME. Websites that come up include:

Property Rental Scams

Do be very wary of property rental scams. These are common on Criagslist and other sites. Often (but not always) apparent by very low rental prices relative to others in the same area. Scammers often use photos and details copied from earlier and genuine house sales or rentals. Useful thread on the subject here:


Rental scams