Renting a House in Canada – A Newcomer’s Guide

Relocating to a new country has its challenges including those that relate to getting accommodation. So many questions go through the mind of many newcomers like what types of houses are available for rent in Canada? how much is house rent in Canada per month? etc. This is why we have put together this detailed article to give you all the information you need concerning renting a house in Canada.

Relocating to a new country has its challenges including those that relate to getting accommodation. So many questions go through the mind of many newcomers like what types of houses are available for rent in Canada? how much is house rent in Canada per month? etc. This is why we have put together this detailed article to give you all the information you need concerning renting a house in Canada.

Types of Houses Available for Rent

1. Detached House:

This type of house has its own separate front yard and backyard. It does not share a wall with other houses. Detached houses are more expensive than other types of houses.

Renting a House in Canada  image livingincad.com
Image source

2. Semi-detached House

In this type of housing, occupants usually share a wall with their neighbours. However, each side of the house has its own private front yard and backyards. 

Renting a House in Canada  semi detached house image livingincad.com
Semi-detached house image source

3. Duplexes and Triplexes

For Nigerians, this type of housing is similar to two or storey building rented apartments. Here, each floor is rented by a different tenant. Each floor also has its own entrance. Here, in Canada, the two-storey rented apartment is called a Duplex, while the three-story is a triplex. 

Renting a House in Canada  Duplex triplex image living in cad
Duplex/Triplex image source

4. Townhouses

These look similar to semi-detached houses. The major difference here is that occupants share a wall with the neighbours on both sides of the house, unlike in semi-detached houses where you share only one wall. Some townhouses come with backyards, some may not.

Renting a House in Canada Townhouse image source
Townhouse image source

5. Rental Apartments

These are multiple apartments or units as they are called, located in one big building. To rent here, an occupant will enter a one-year agreement with the landlord but will pay the rent on a month-to-month basis. These apartments may or may not come with a balcony.

Also, the landlords are responsible for major repairs in these apartments.

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Rental apartment image source

6. Condos

You will usually find them in high-rise buildings. Unlike apartment buildings, condos are owned by a condo corporation. The condo operation is responsible for maintaining the exterior, hallways and other common facilities of the apartments. 

When renting a house in Canada such as a condo, ask if it comes with swimming pools, party halls, etc

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Condo Image Source

7. Basements

When renting a house in Canada, you will find these basements in many detached homes. They are located below the ground level of the home. They come in one bedroom, two and even three bedrooms. They might come with a separate washer and dryer or you might have to share with the landlord. Most basements come with a separate entrance difference from that of the main house.

Here as well, you will be required to enter into a one-year agreement with the landlord and you can pay on a month-by-month basis.

It is important to note that the weather in a basement apartment is usually way colder than that in the main house. 

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Basement Image Source

What is the average house rent in Canada?

When renting a house in Canada, the rent varies from province to province. Even within provinces, they vary from region to region. They are many factors that affect the prices of rent in a particular place. They include:

  • Closeness of the apartment to public transport
  • Closeness of the apartment to schools or hospitals
  • Standard of living in those areas (For example, houses in the Greater Toronto Area are more expensive than those in some parts of Barrie.)

How much is house rent in Canada per month?

The number of rooms and bathrooms also affect the price of the rent. According to rentals.ca, the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto per month is $1,836 while a two-bedroom apartment is $2,765. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have a detailed report showing the average rent prices across cities in Canada. Read it here.

What type of house is the best for an immigrant to rent out?

As a new immigrant, you might be asking, “So what type of housing is best for new immigrants in Canada?” There are various things to consider when choosing the type of house to rent out in Canada:

  • Size of your family: Those that are single prefer to go for one-bedroom apartments or studio apartments. Couples or those with children prefer to go for two-bedroom apartments and more. Those with children also consider access to schools or daycare facilities.
  • Closeness to your office: Getting an apartment close to your office reduces the length of time and transport fare you will spend to go to work every day.
  • Your Budget: This is really important when renting a house in Canada. As a new immigrant who is still trying to find a footing in the country, it is best you spend wisely in your first here in Canada. People try a few things to help them save on house rent in their first year in Canada including:
    • Share an apartment with a roommate. You both can split the rent bills.
    • Live with a relative or close friend
    • Live in a basement apartment.
  • The cost of utilities: Your house rent in Canada may or may not be inclusive of the cost of utilities. Utilities include things like electricity bills, water bills, etc. So, it will be great to factor these costs into your budget too.
  • The appliances that the house comes with: Most apartments in Canada come with a heating system(heaters to keep the house warm in winter, hot/cold water systems), cookers, washers/dryers, and refrigerators. However, some apartments might come with extras like microwaves and dishwashers.

 Where and how to find  a place to rent in Canada

After deciding on your budget and the location where you would like to like, it’s time to search for your preferred apartments. 

  1. Ask those in your circle: This could be your friends or relatives who have been living in Canada before you arrived. They might know someone who has an apartment available for rent.

2. Use a rental website: Use caution here and be careful of scams. Popular sites in Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Zoho, rent.ca

3. Use a certified Housing Agent: I used an agent to rent my first apartment here in Canada. She asked for my budget and the location that I prefer. She then sent me a link that had the pictures, features and street addresses of available apartments. When I selected the one I liked, we drove to view each of those apartments before I made my choice.

What Landlords Look out for before Accepting you as a Tenant

When you see an apartment that you like and would like to rent, you need to know that there are other people competing for that same apartment. The landlord will usually consider a few things before choosing who his tenant will be. They include:

Credit Score: the higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting the apartment. However, as a new immigrant, you might not even have a credit score yet. Don’t worry, you still have a chance at getting that apartment via some other factors.

Employment: If you have a job, you also have a chance of getting an apartment. The reason for this is that the landlord wants someone with a stable source of income that will be able to pay the monthly rent. 

Reference letter: Some landlords will ask for a reference letter from your previous landlord. This is something to gauge whether or not you will be a good tenant and not give any trouble.

Upfront Rents: New immigrants who do not have credit scores or employment letters might use this option to increase their chances of getting an apartment. For example, a landlord might ask for the first two months of rent and the last two months of rent. This is known as 2+2.  

Signing your Rental Agreement

Once you decide on the apartment that you want to rent, you will be required to sign a  lease agreement that binds you and your landlord. This agreement must show the responsibilities of the landlord as well as the tenant such as:

  1. Is the cost of utilities included in the house rent or is this separate?
  2. Would you be required to pay the full amount o the utilities or a percentage of it?
  3. Information about your deposit fees and the conditions that can void your deposit fees
  4. Whether or not hte landlord has a right to enter your rental property

If parts of the rental agreement are not clear to you, please ask questions and get clarifications before you sign.

What to do when funding is a problem

If you are unable to afford the options that we have discussed above, you might want to consider the subsidised housing program in your province. More details can be found here

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