RENTING A HOME IN CANADA
Moving house or apartment is difficult at the best of times without the added complication of being in a new and unfamiliar country. Renting before buying is always recommended as it will allow you to find your feet and to find out what type of property and area suits your lifestyle before making such a substantial financial commitment.
If you are planning to rent a home in Canada, a useful Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) publication to look at is Renting Your First Home in Canada: What Newcomers Need to Know.
Finding a property to rent
When looking for property, it’s important to shop around and take a look at different neighbourhoods and areas before committing to a rental lease. Every neighbourhood is different, e.g. some being more family friendly with easy access to schools, and some being closer to nightlife. Rental websites and estate agents can be a good place to start looking. Websites such as Navut can assist newcomers when making a decision where to live in Canada.
Prices for renting property can vary greatly throughout Canada, with the larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver being the most expensive. Rent is usually paid monthly.
It’s important to note that most properties in Canada are unfurnished when you begin renting them, and you therefore may have to spend money buying furniture. Alternatively, you could ship your furniture and belongings over to Canada from your home country.
Where possible, begin your research before you arrive in Canada and have some property viewings set up. It’s also recommended to bring references from previous landlords with you, stating that you are a responsible tenant that pays rent on time. This can give you an advantage in a competitive Canadian rental market.
Tenants and landlords
Landlord and tenant responsibilities can vary in different provinces or territories. CMHC provides fact sheets that describe aspects of the rental process and related laws in each province and territory. The fact sheets also include contact information for provincial and territorial rental authorities and related links. You should read the fact sheet related to the province or territory where you live if you plan to rent a home. You can find the fact sheets at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/reho.
Moving in and signing a lease
When you agree to rent a property, you and your landlord should sign a lease. A lease is a written rental agreement that outlines all the terms you and your landlord have agreed to. It is a legal document, so make sure you read and understand what you are signing.
Depending on the province or territory, a landlord may ask you for a rental deposit when you sign the lease. The deposit is usually equal to the cost of one month’s rent. This deposit can be used if you do not pay the rent or to cover damage you cause to the apartment or house you are renting. When you move out, your deposit is either returned to you or used to pay for your last month of rent. Every province has different rules about deposits. For example, in Ontario, the deposit can only be used for unpaid rent and not to pay for damages. In Quebec, landlords are not permitted to ask for any deposit.
For more details, read the fact sheet for the province or territory where you live, available at www.cmhc.ca.
For a list of helpful contacts relating to finding accommodation in Canada, see our directory.
Source: Welcome to Canada: What you should know
www.cic.gc.ca, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2013.