Home Sweet Home: Off-Campus Living

Thinking about moving out of residence or your parents' home? There's a lot you can learn about living off-campus before you make the move.
 

Determine what you're looking for

Organize your priorities for a living place into search criteria, such as:

  • Size - will you have roommates or live alone?
  • Rent - what's the maximum amount you're willing to pay?
  • Type of place - a high-rise apartment or a house?
  • Location - does it make sense to commute for cheaper rent?
  • Laundry - do you want on-site facilities or can you deal with the laundromat?
     

Shop around

After you know what you want, you can check out rental listings by:

  • Your school's student services/housing website
  • Buying a paper and scanning the classifieds
  • Check out "For Rent" signs in the neighbourhood(s) you'd like to live
  • Online classifieds like Craigslist or Kijiji
     

Inspect

A few things to consider when looking at a place for the first time:

  • Do the appliances work? Are they included in your lease?
  • How's the water pressure? (Check all the taps and the toilet)
  • Are you responsible for heat, electricity and/or hot water?
  • Are the windows and doors well-sealed? (This can dramatically affect your heating costs)
  • Who is responsible for maintenance, snow removal and lawn care?
  • Are there at least two outlets in every room? Do they all work?
  • Talk to the current tenants about their experience, if possible
     

Sealing the deal

A typical lease should include:

  • Monthly rental amount
  • The term of your commitment (e.g. 12 months)
  • Whether or not you provided a deposit
  • Under what conditions and when that deposit will be returned
  • Your landlord's agreement to pay the utilities (heat, electricity, etc.) if that's the case

Learn More

You should receive a copy of the lease and all of your roommates should have signed that lease. This ensures you are all responsible for the rent and any damage.
 

You're in

Paying the bills - Setting up a separate bank account for your rent money can provide peace of mind. Put enough funds in there at the beginning of each semester to cover your cheques and you won't have to worry about the dreaded "bounce" ... or an unhappy landlord.
 

Resources

Learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a renter in the province where you'll be going to school:

Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan