#1: Learn about the area

Familiarize yourself with the area online and check to see where the rental is located in relation to campus. If you’re considering living further away from campus to reduce costs, choose somewhere close to the ION light rail line for easy access to campus.

#2: Start looking early

Don’t leave housing to the last minute. Note that availability can vary depending on the season.

#3: Know the types of housing available

Know what type of housing you’re looking for: apartment, shared house, etc.

#4: Understand the differences in costs

Understand the difference in costs between types of housing: shared housing will cost less than a one-bedroom apartment, sometimes significantly so.

#5: Know the average costs

Know the average rents and living costs: check out our Study and living costs page and then use our Budget calculator tool. You can also consult data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or crowd-sourced data and living costs for Waterloo.

#6: Use the available tools

Visit the Off-Campus Housing page and take advantage of our partnership with Places4Students, or check out other listing services like rentals.ca and kijiji.ca.

#7: Ask for a second opinion

If you're unfamiliar with the Kitchener-Waterloo region, feel free to connect with Off-Campus Housing at och@uwaterloo.ca to ask for a second opinion on any listing you are looking at. Make sure to double check the legitimacy of online ads by searching the rental address in Google maps, or image search the online photos. If you live too far away to view the unit in person, we recommend requesting a live video tour.

#8: Understand what's included

Understand the cost of utilities and if they’re included in the monthly rent or not. You can also ask about what else is included in the rent like parking, snow removal, internet, etc. Visit Waterloo North Hydro for more info if utilities are not included.

#9: Read everything

Read your lease and all documents before you sign.

#10: Access important tips

See the bottom of our Off-campus housing page for more important tips, your tenant rights, information on leases, dealing with problems, safety tips, and more.

Bonus Tip: Stay organized!

You might view multiple listings and apply for a few rental units before you find the best spot to live; after visiting a few places (in-person or virtually), it might be hard to keep track of different units. So, be sure to track which housing units you're interested in, any notes from your visits, what is required for each rental application, and where you are in the rental application process.