Accommodation

Besides jobs, you’ll need a place to stay when you come to Canada. If you don't have family or friends to stay with, then the first place you will most likely stay is a hostel after which time you will probably look for a flat to live in once you have a job.

Hostels
There are many hostels in big cities and sometimes only one or two in smaller towns.

Some things to consider when choosing a hostel:

  • • Do they offer weekly rates?

  • • Do they let local stay there? Sometimes in big cities, junkies and homeless people stay in hostels and they are not the best dorm mates to have! Try to look for hostels with “no locals” policies

  • • Do they help with finding work?

  • • Do they have free internet? You will need internet access for your research about jobs and such when you arrive

  • • What do other people say about them? READ REVIEWS.


You can check out hostel prices at their prices at hostelbookers.com or hosteworld.com – sometimes they have different rates so its good to compare!

Apartments and Flats
After you’ve found a hostel and a job, then you will start looking for a flat – here are some tips to remember:

  • • Once you decide you like a particular area, look for “For Rent” signs posted in windows or on front lawns.
  • • Check the “Classified” section of the local newspaper or a housing magazine for apartments you can afford.
  • • Head to a local university or college, which usually have housing boards posted in their student union offices.
  • • Check out notice boards in public laundromats, health food and grocery stores.
  • • Landlords typically require a deposit to cover the last month’s rent.
  • • Always insist on a receipt for this deposit.
  • • In every province except Quebec, a bachelor or studio unit comprises one room with a kitchen area and bathroom. In Quebec, these units are advertized as “1 1⁄2 or 2 1⁄2 bedroom”.
  • • In every province except Quebec, a one-bedroom apartment typically comprises a living room, kitchen, bathroom and one bedroom. In Quebec, these units are advertized as “3 1⁄2 bedroom”.
  • • In every province except Quebec, a two-bedroom apartment comprises a living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. In Quebec, these units are advertized as “4 1⁄2 bedroom.

Rental Agreements

Avoid signing a lease, if possible; some landlords will rent accommodations month-to-month. Remember: leases are legally binding, so do not sign a one-year lease if you only plan to live there for six months. If your landlord insists on a lease, ask if you may sublet the unit when you leave.The person who signs such a contract is the only one responsible for any payments owing (including compensation to the landlord for any damage caused to the unit). Therefore, if a lease is required for a space you will be sharing, all occupants should sign the agreement and share the responsibility. Both you and your landlord will each keep a copy of your lease.


Tenant Safety & Understanding Where You Live
Before you sign a rental agreement, make sure your new apartment is safe and you know the area you are living in. Here are a few questions to consider and look out for

  • • Does each room have a window? If accessible from the street, can these windows be locked?
  • • Is there at least one smoke alarm and a fire escape route?
  • • Is public transportation available nearby?
  • • Does the neighborhood feel safe, i.e. would you feel comfortable coming home alone after dark?
  • • Do all of the fixtures included in the rent work properly? Is the water coming from the faucet scalding hot? Do toilets flush properly?
  • • Are mouse traps and cockroach bait evident, i.e. signs that you may be sharing your apartment with unwanted insects and/or rodents?
Other questions to consider before you sign a rental agreement:
  • • How much is the rent and when are my payments due? Taking into account my prospective income, is this affordable?
  • • Is the unit furnished?
  • • Can I pay by cheque or cash? If cash, will I be given a receipt?
  • • Does the rent include utilities, i.e. heat, water and electricity?
  • • Can I install a telephone?
  • • Are there laundry facilities in the building? If not, are they located nearby?
  • • Are food stores located nearby?
  • • Can I control the heat in my unit?
  • • Can I smoke or drink alcoholic beverages in my unit?
  • • Can I smoke in the hallways or elevators?
  • • Do the appliances included in my rent work properly?
  • • How many days notice must I provide before moving out?
  • • How many people share the bathroom or kitchen? May I meet my roommates beforehand to see if we would be compatible?
Make a list of existing damage to your unit before you move in and provide a copy to your landlord. This way, your landlord cannot charge you to repair any pre-existing damage. Insist on receipts from your landlord for all cash deposits or rents paid.

Similar to any Canadian citizen, you must understand the implications of a rental agreement you sign. Once you sign such an agreement, you agree to take on certain legal responsibilities; breaking the terms of your lease can have legal consequences.

Tenant Protection
You are entitled to the same rights as Canadian citizens with respect to rental agreements. The government of the province in which you reside can intervene on your behalf if you believe you are being dealt with unfairly by your landlord. In such cases, use the website addresses below to contact the appropriate provincial ministry or department.
NWT: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/reho/yogureho/fash/fash_006.cfm

Disclaimer - Everything changes over time and so can the information mentioned within. Always consult official sources regarding visa requirements and travel to another country. This is not an official source.