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How to Find Housing in Canada before Arrive?

find housing in canada

Table of Contents

Find Housing in Canada is one of the first things any international student wants to tick off their To-Do list. Depending on your case, you may desire to find temporary housing in Canada first while looking for apartments or houses for rent. This article advises finding housing in Canada before arriving on your first night and beyond. Let us get to them.


In this guide:

  • Temporary Housing in Canada
  • Find Housing in Canada for Rent
  • Leasing Apartments or Houses in Canada
  • Rent Rate to Find Housing for International Students
  • Payment to Find Housing in Canada
  • Most Affordable Places in Canada
  • Conclusion


Temporary Housing in Canada

Before you arrive, it is essential to find housing in Canada or at least somewhere for your first few nights.

Hotels and hostels are plentiful in urban areas. However, you may book them in advance to ensure you have the widest choice of temporary housing in the destination country.

If your intended budget is limited, there are many hostels in Canada for short-term accommodation to suit any budget.

Most hotels and hostels in Canada have a website providing information such as:

  • Price,
  • Location,
  • Photographs,
  • and the services they offer.


You may also find reviews about them in forums, travel guides, and other websites. Booking self-catering housing, perhaps for a few weeks or even a month or two, is also a practical way to find housing in Canada for your arrival.

Airbnb is the major player in this market, but there are some city-specific temporary apartment rental companies too, which you should be able to identify through a quick web search.

The most common types of accommodation in Canada include:

  • houses, such as:
  • detached houses with property around them,
  • semi-detached and townhouses where each house shares a wall with another,
  • condos or condominiums,
  • rental apartments, including:
  • apartments with 1 to 3 bedrooms,
  • bachelor units made up of a single room as a living area and bedroom,
  • rental rooms are usually large homes divided into private rooms you can rent.


Canada’s national housing agency is called the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Their Housing for Newcomers section has helpful information about renting and buying a house.



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Find Housing in Canada for Rent

There are several types of rental housing in Canada, including condominiums, apartments, and houses.

Some houses are rentable, while some are divided into several different units. A house divided into two different units is called a duplex, and the ones split in three are known as a triplex. For rent, rooms are available in some houses, with shared living space and bathroom facilities.

Apartment types for rent in this country vary from bachelor units, where a single room serves as the living area and bedroom, to several bedrooms and separate living areas.

The cost of utilities, such as water and electricity, may or may not be included in the rent.

You may find apartments and houses for rent in Canada in the classifieds section of local newspapers, libraries, and websites. Facebook groups and Twitter accounts for newcomers to Canada are also helpful.

You can also walk around your preferred neighborhood in many cities and check for rentals, as property owners post signs outside their property advertising available rooms.

find housing in canada

Leasing Apartments or Houses in Canada

Property owners usually request information about your ability to pay rent before offering you a lease in Canada. Requested documents may include:

  • Bank statement providing you have enough savings to cover rent;
  • Letter from your current or recent employer indicating your annual income;
  • Reference letter from previous property owners.

Many property owners prefer Canadian documentation, which can be cumbersome or impossible for new arrivals.

There are always property owners who are willing to rent their apartments and houses in Canada to newcomers, so keep trying.

There are some factors to have in mind when looking to find housing in Canada as a newcomer:

  • Rentals in Canada start on the first of every month, with a smaller number available on the 15th. Plan your trip with this in mind because you want to ensure you have good options. It is advisable to arrive about two weeks before the month’s end because you get much time to learn about the destination, your surroundings and find suitable apartments or houses for rent.
  • Most rental apartments and houses in Canada require at least half a month’s rent as a security deposit.
  • Rental housing in Canada often comes furnished, so always ask before a viewing. Equipping a place can take time and money, so try Craigslist for cheap stuff.
  • The best time to get perfect deals on furniture is towards the end of the month as people are moving and often sell their possessions at low prices.
  • Know your rights as a tenant in Canada. Become familiar with tenancy law in the destination province.


You can get more information and help from an immigrant-serving organization if you do not have a job, references, or credit history to find housing in Canada after you arrive.

if you want to know Why is Canada the Best Country for Study Abroad read this article:

Why is Canada the Best Country for Study Abroad


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Rent Rate to Find Housing for International Students

Canada is a large country, so it is challenging to answer this question. However, we try to answer how much rent in Canada is.

As of December 2021,, a platform for apartment rents in Canada, shows that the cost of renting in the most popular cities can vary significantly.

For example, an excellent one-bedroom apartment in Edmonton would cost between $700 to $1200 for a month, but the same one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver costs more than $2000 for a month.

You may find that Calgary, Hamilton, and Montreal are between these ranges. At the same time, Ottawa and Toronto are closer to the more expensive end, with Toronto’s rental market, in particular, has become more expensive over the years. reveals that Ontario and British Columbia are the top 12 most expensive cities to rent in Canada. Perhaps not surprisingly, Toronto and Vancouver areas top this list.

According to the cost of living comparison,, one-bedroom downtown apartments in Toronto and Vancouver are now topping $2000 per month.

So you may compromise in some areas; maybe there’s a more affordable neighborhood outside the city center with good public transportation to find housing in Canada, or maybe you might consider sharing on address with others, at least for starters.

find housing in canada

Payment to Find Housing in Canada

Unless otherwise agreed, you will likely have signed a lease for a fixed-term, often one year. Once the fixed term elapses, the term may renew for a further year or switch to a month-to-month arrangement.

Rules on rent increases vary from province to province. Always discuss with your property owner before signing a lease.

In Ontario, rent boosts must occur at least 12 months separated, and residents should receive at least 90 days of notice. The provincial government sets the maximum permitted rent increase. The guideline on rent increases in Ontario is 1.2% for 2022.

Similar rules apply in British Columbia, where the maximum permitted rent increase for 2022 in BC is 1.5%.

Rents in Alberta may also only be raised if more than one year since the previous increase. However, there is no cap on the boost like Ontario and British Columbia.

In summary, you usually have to pay the rent to the superintendent, property manager, or property owner on each month’s first day.

You may pay your intended rent in cash or by a post-dated check. Many property owners ask for 12 checks dated the first day of each month for the next 12 months. You may also pay by certified checks, guaranteed by a bank. Many property owners ask for a certified check for the first and last month.

Make sure you ask your property owner for a receipt and keep its proof of payment.

In some places, your rent may include some or all of your utilities, such as heat, water and Electricity. If they are not provided in your rent, you must pay these bills yourself.

if you want to know Challenges of International Students in Canada read this article:

Most Affordable Places in Canada

Montreal is the most affordable big city to find housing in Canada to rent. The average price of a month’s rent in Canada’s second-largest city is still under $1000, and much less if you share accommodation.

Montreal compares favorably with other large Canadian cities. Other cities in Quebec, such as Quebec City and Gatineau, are even more affordable for renters.

Their data also clarifies that while Ontario is home to Canada’s most expensive cities for renting, it’s also central to some of the most affordable. Newcomers seeking more affordable rentals should look towards smaller cities in Quebec and Ontario.

Some recent data clarifies that while Ontario is home to Canada’s most expensive cities for renting, as outlined above, it’s also home to some of the cheapest. Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, and Cornwall have suitable accommodation for rent at a fraction of the cost you’d find in Toronto.

International students and newcomers to Canada looking for more affordable rentals may look towards smaller cities in Ontario and Quebec.



If you are a university student planning to go to Canada, it is essential to find housing in Canada before arriving in the country, especially for the first days. Many hotels and hostels are in urban areas, but some people prefer to rent apartments or houses. This article provides essential information about finding rental places, how to lease, and the payments for different accommodations.

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