Renting an Apartment in Canada - Essential Tips
This article is part of our ongoing series on moving to Canada and how to rent a home when you arrive in the country. The series includes the following articles:
- Article 1: Renting an Apartment in Canada | Essential Tips
- Article 2: Renting an Apartment Within Your Budget
- Article 3: Why Credit History is Important When You Rent a Home in Canada
- Article 4: Understanding the Basics of Your Rental Agreement
- Article 5: 5 Moving Costs You May Not Know About
Renting an Apartment in Canada - Essential Tips
When you first arrive in Canada, you probably won’t buy a home right away. And renting an apartment (or condo) or a home in Canada has many advantages over owning. For example, renting a home lets you avoid costs such as property taxes, home maintenance and sometimes even basic utilities.
Another huge advantage of renting a home as a newcomer is flexibility. The experience of living in a city is many times better than researching it online. It will give you a much better idea of areas within the city than online research ever will. If you buy a home right away, it will be very hard to move to a new area. If you rent, moving will be much easier if you decide you want to live in another neighbourhood that better suits your needs.
How Much Can I Afford?
The biggest question to ask yourself before you start searching for an apartment is "how much can I afford?" This question is important to answer because it gives you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on rent. If you spend too much on rent, you will not have enough money to meet basic needs like groceries, utilities and transportation.
As you decide on your rental budget, it is also a good idea to start budgeting your basic needs. Things like groceries, water, electricity, internet, and insurance are all expenses that need to be considered. If you own a car, you will also need to include car insurance and money spent on gas.
Once you take into consideration all of these expenses, creating a budget becomes easy. You will be able to see how much you are earning and how much of that will be spent on basic needs. You can then use this information to create a smart and manageable budget on how much you spend on rent.
Having a realistic budget will make it much easier for you to control your spending. It will also help you generate some savings at the end of the month. Once you have a budget you can work with, your next step will be to start searching for homes for rent. Keep in mind that some cities and areas within cities are more expensive than others. Major hubs like Toronto and Vancouver will be much more expensive compared to smaller cities like Regina and Halifax.
Why Is Your Credit History Important When Renting an Apartment?
As a newcomer, you probably don’t have a credit history in Canada. This can make it difficult to search for an apartment, condo, or home to rent. Landlords want tenants that have a good credit history because that means those tenants will most likely pay the rent on time. Without a credit history, it can become hard to convince your landlord that you will be a reliable tenant.
There are some things you can do to show your landlord you can pay the rent on time. A popular choice among newcomers is to get a guarantor who has good credit. This guarantor can be almost anyone willing to take responsibility if you are unable to pay your rent. If you have friends or relatives with good credit scores, you might want to ask them to be your guarantor. Learn more about the importance of building your credit history in Canada.
What is a Rental Agreement?
Once a landlord has agreed to rent the home out to you, both you and your landlord will need to sign a rental agreement. A rental agreement is a contract between the landlord and tenant. It is a legal contract that sets out the rules that both the landlord and tenant need to follow. It also includes details, such as how long the tenant can occupy the home and how much rent they need to pay each month.
Other Costs of Renting an Apartment
Rent is the most obvious expense that comes with renting an apartment, but there are some other costs you need to consider as well. The biggest of these is utilities. Some landlords might include basic utilities like water, electricity and gas. Most likely though, you will need to pay for utilities.
You will also need to spend money on furniture. Some rental homes come with basic furniture, but even then you will need to spend on furniture and possibly even appliances.
Before you move in, your landlord will require you to pay a security deposit. A security deposit usually amounts to one or sometimes, two months of rent. The purpose is to provide financial security to the landlord if the tenant does not pay the rent or causes damage to the property. If you keep the property in good shape and pay the rent on time, the security deposit will be returned to you when you move out.
There are many things you need to consider when renting an apartment or home in Canada. With the right knowledge and approach, you can avoid all the stress and uncertainty that comes with renting. Following strategies like budgeting and planning for upcoming costs will greatly reduce your risk of running into financial problems down the road.