Take your time to look around. Don’t commit to the first place you see.
Download our handy Off-Campus Housing checklist [PDF] for things to consider during your search!
Things to consider
- Pick your roommates carefully and talk about expectations before you decide to live together.
- Read all documents that you sign! It's the fine print that can get you - pay particular attention to your lease and be sure to read the ENTIRE document.
- Many landlords ask for a security deposit upon lease signing or moving in. It is illegal for landlords to ask for more than one month's rent as a security deposit. Landlords are also allowed to ask for a key deposit.
- Ask your landlord for a receipt for any payments that you make to them. If you pay last month's rent upfront, the landlord must give you 2.2% interest on the full amount every 12 months, so don’t forget to ask!
- Ask previous tenants what the average costs of utilities were for them, or call the utility companies.
- Don't be intimidated by a landlord. If you're not comfortable dealing with them or feel they are being too 'pushy', it's better to walk away, think about the situation and even ask for input from someone else. Housing and Residences is a great resource and can answer questions before you commit to anything.
- If you are living with your landlord (sharing a bathroom and/or kitchen) or a member of his or her immediate family (i.e. son or daughter) you are not considered a tenant and so are not protected by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). In this case you will be considered a boarder and any agreement you and your landlord make can only be enforced under contractual law. Typically this is not a problem, however if problems do arise, remember that neither you nor your landlord are protected under the RTA.