Finding comfortable student housing in Canada can be challenging for you. Generally, students live on-campus or off-campus, depending on their preference. Living on-campus has some perks, such as less commuting time or faster access to university facilities. However, the on-campus option may be expensive compared to off-campus housing.
Some students opt to choose on-campus housing for the first semester or year, and then opt for off-campus housing after getting accustomed to university life. Remember, having off-campus housing with a 10-20 minutes commute can bring down your cost of living in Canada with rent, saving $150-200/month.
You have the option to live in a one or two-bedroom student apartment. After a semester, or a year, you may have made friends that you can rent a place with. Often, 4 or 5 friends renting a house together is cheaper than renting apartments.
While you search for off-campus housing, here are a few tips that you should remember while searching for student housing in Canada:
Never make online payments. A big no if someone asks you to do so.
Ask to see pictures of your prospective residence.
Do a reverse Google search for the picture of your prospective residence. (You can download it from the internet)
Google the address, and make sure it exists.
Meet in person before a transaction, if you are female, take someone with you, if possible.
Don’t pay in cash; you can cancel a transaction if you feel suspicious later...
Read and reread terms and conditions (Lease paper/rental agreement) before signing. Some provinces require a standard rental agreement.
Check if the place is furnished or not. Having to furnish an apartment could get expensive, though there are ways to get/buy used furniture. The Salvation Army stores are some of the best for this. Buying used furniture online is an option, but make sure you can arrange delivery.
Check to see what is included in the rent. All-inclusive means that your electricity (Hydro), water, gas/heating oil, internet, and sometimes cable (A television hook-up) are included. Room and board mean a furnished room (Must have a locking door) and food is included. Usually, this means sharing a bathroom, but electricity, heat, water, and internet are included.
Start looking for off-campus housing by asking your friends, other international students, or your country community on Facebook. There are plenty of apartments/rooms for international students.
Other students are also looking for a place to rent, so talk to them for any tips. Sometimes, universities actively support international students in finding off-campus housing. These are a few ways to help yourself find off-campus housing:
FB/Whatsapp groups (e.g., University of Manitoba student association)
Kijiji + name of a city; For example: Kijiji Ottawa.
Though rare, be aware that you could fall victim to a scam so be cautious. Report any scams or attempted scams to the police.