Start your search here

Aerial shot of 5 students walking and sitting.

Set yourself up for success and start your housing search early! Looking to explore the region and the different housing options available? See below for listings and regional information about places to look for housing. Review the resources on this site to learn what you need to know before you rent, information about signing a lease, legal details, safety, and maintenance resources and how to stay connected to your community while living off- campus. 

Explore Waterloo Region

Find out more about where you live! Explore an interactive map while searching for off-campus housing options in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, or to learn more about a specific neighbourhood zone.

It is important to check to see where the rental is in relation to campus.

Check out the ION and GRT Transportation systems. Getting to campus is easy if you live along the transportation routes. Consider expanding your search preferences to find the right place for you. Getting to campus is easy if you live along the transportation routes. Consider expanding your search preferences to find the right place for you. Learn how to use the GRT as a UW student and expanding your search preferences to find the right place for you. 

map of Waterloo Region

View our student housing map. Please note: Travel times listed are approximate. For more accurate times, enter the address of your destination on Google Maps.

Steps to take when finding off-campus housing

Note: These steps are not sequential and may vary throughout your off-campus housing search process.

Step 1: determine your needs

  • Housing type, budget, location (i.e., neighbourhood), other amenities
  • If you need a guarantor

Step 2: find roommates

  • Reach out to friends through online platforms
  • Discuss shared responsibilities and establish communication channels

Step 3: start searching

  • Explore online listings for housing 3-6 months before desired move-in
  • Check multiple platforms
  • Use Google Maps to establish location

Step 4: narrow down choices

  • Compare factors like rent, location, amenities, and lease terms.
  • Schedule property viewing

Step 5: prepare your documents 

  • Gather essential documents such as ID (i.e., passport), proof of enrolment
  • Prepare for financial information: bank statements, guarantor

Step 6: Signing a lease

  • Review lease agreements thoroughly
  • Clarify any unclear terms
  • Pay fees or deposits

Step 7: move-in

  • Coordinate the logistics
  • Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures and contacts

Common rental terms

Before you embark on your search, here are some key terms you should be aware of. 

Key Terms

Key Terms you'll encounter when searching for off-campus housing

Off-campus housing  

Off-campus housing refers to living arrangements that are not directly affiliated with the university or educational institution. This often includes rental apartments, houses, or shared accommodations within the local community. 


If you do not have Canadian credit, employment income or enough savings to cover your rent, you will need a guarantor. A guarantor (or co-signer) is a person who agrees to pay your rent for you if you cannot. Usually, only close friends or relatives will agree to act as a guarantor for you.  

A guarantor is often someone Canadian because they need a Canadian credit score and work history. 


The owner of property (i.e., houses, apartments, or land) that is leased or rented to another. It could also refer to the owner’s son/daughter/spouse/parent if they live in the property being rented. 


A person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord. 


A lease is a binding contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified period in exchange for a specified rent amount. Typically, a lease is one year in length. 


The legal process of a tenant renting their leased property to another individual, known as the subtenant. The original tenant remains responsible for the lease agreement terms. 

A security deposit 

A refundable amount paid by the tenant to the landlord to cover any potential damages to the property. The deposit is typically returned at the end of the lease term, minus any deductions for damages. 

Local Amenities 

Nearby facilities and services such as grocery stores, healthcare centers, restaurants, and recreational areas that contribute to the convenience and quality of life for off-campus residents. 

TIP: Familiarize yourself with the "Understanding Rental Advertising Lingo sheet" from the Region of Waterloo to understand the commonly used rental housing terms. 

Visual pdf of the steps to finding off-campus housing

 Download the steps to finding off-campus housing tip sheet.