Accommodation for New Immigrants in Canada is necessarily one of the first question students and workers have upon landing in Canada. This is true since accommodation is a basic need that comes first before many other things you will need in your first few weeks of arriving in Canada. In order not to be stranded or confused once you immigrate to Canada, it is best to have these things sorted out, or at least have an idea of how accommodation processes work before landing in the country especially when you don’t have any relative or close family to put up with in your first week. There are short-term and long-term solutions to accommodation in Canada depending on your budget or your family size.
You are expected to start making provisions for your accommodation before you travel over to Canada. If at all you don’t have any apartment fixed yet, have a list of organizations offering temporary accommodation for newcomers handy or have a list of hotels you will prefer to stay in whenever you finally arrive. This will make your relocation a bit smooth and easy.
Waiting till the last minute to sort out your accommodation can put undue pressure on you and can make you spend more than expected or even fall into the hands of dubious agents if you are unsuspecting enough. The article will readily provide you with basic information on what accommodation for Canadian immigrants entails.
General Housing in Canada
Housing types in Canada generally include detached houses, semi-detached houses, and townhouses. Quite popular as well are condominiums, popularly referred to as “condo”. This type of housing is relatively cheap, carefree, and will suit single immigrants with a moderate budget for accommodation. Condominiums are also one of the options immigrants easily go for because maintenance such as shoveling of snow is usually carried out by those who have been employed for that purpose. Therefore, immigrants do not have to bother much about taking out time to make repairs, while they are still cumbered with other processes for settling in. Certain apartments are constructed just for renting out purposes. Such are referred to as rental apartments. They could be houses with 1 to 3 bedrooms, or single rooms referred to as bachelor units.
Housing in Canada is supervised by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Their website provides vital updates on home buying, renting, and mortgage processes.
For your first few days in Canada, and while renting or buying an apartment is still being processed, you have the option of staying at a hotel. Hotels for newcomers in Canada are usually not hard to find with a lot of these lodges having information on location, services they offer and the price on their website.
Other options for accommodation are organizations which may be profit or non-profit that offer temporary housing for newcomers at limited costs. Contacting the Immigrant-serving organization in the location where you will like to reside is an easy way to acquire information about the organizations making such provisions.
Housing Guide for Newcomers
Because you are in an environment different from where you grew up, you may find some of the processes and protocols required for getting an apartment in Canada a bit strange. But not to worry, the processes are in no way cumbersome and are in fact, done so you can have the best experience while you stay in an apartment. Landlords or housing agencies will likely ask you to provide some or all of these things before an apartment is handed over to you:
Pay-slips or any other document that can serve as proof of income
Bank statements that show your ability to pay rent for at least the first few months
A referral letter from a previous landlord which will indicate his vouching for you as a good tenant. Since newcomers will not have this, it is usually not required of them.
Even though you may not be working yet or may be a student, having a bank statement that shows you are capable of paying rent for the first few months is very important. Else, landlords will be quite skeptical about giving you a house. Usually, your first payment for an apartment will be an advance for at least half of a month’s rent. Though this is not a fixed process, it is equally not uncommon.
Rent fees for an apartment will usually start counting from the 1st day of the month and landlords and agents are most willing to give out apartments around that time. However, you may still have rentals available until the middle of the month. Factoring this in, the perfect timing to land in Canada is anything from the middle of the month to a week before the end of the month. This way, you can stay in a temporary lodge for a week or two while you go about searching for an apartment you can start paying for from the beginning of the next month. Depending on your location in Canada, house rent can be anything from half a thousand dollars a month for a room to a thousand dollars or more for a complete apartment.
Probably your visa came sooner than expected or for any other reason, you have not gotten an apartment yet, temporary accommodations can be your life saver while you seek a permanent one. As expected, most temporary accommodations have not been fully furnished for comfort, especially when they come at a low rate. However, they will serve the purpose of granting you a roof over your end until you find what suits you best for an apartment.
Some of the available options for temporary accommodation are:
Booking a hotel room. This can be easily done online from the website of most hotels. Before booking, find out the available room options and other facilities the hotels have put in place for comfort. If you are coming to Canada with your family, you may need to book a suite rather than a single room. Some hotels allow for cooking in the rooms while some only provide restaurant services. Be mindful to make adequate research so you know what and what not to expect from the hotel you booked. Booking a room through Airbnb can as well mean cheap and reliable lodging for your first days in Canada.
Staying at a temporary lodge provided by certain organizations for newcomers.
Staying with a family member or family friend already based in Canada
As already mentioned, you should contact your local Immigrant Settlement Agency as soon as you arrive in the country so you can discover temporary lodging options that are available around you.
Where should you lookout for an apartment in Canada? Who should you talk too and how best will you avoid falling into scams? Questions like these and many more are will always pop up while you’re still trying to get your accommodation fixed. An initial measure can be running a background check on apartments that are up for letting in local newspapers or websites that have been dedicated to that purpose. RentHello and RentFaster are popular and trusted Canadian websites where people rent apartments. The sites afford you the ease of finding an apartment faster based on your location, preference, family size, and budget. Other sites like Craigslist and Kijiji also readily offer up-to-date information on apartments available for rent.
While you may want to head into a very comfortable apartment right from your first night in Canada, you shouldn’t rent a house before landing, except you have friends or trusted agents who can do that for you. This is to prevent scams for supposed landlords and house agents.
While you are still in a temporary lodge, you can begin an active search for a house or a room by checking around for ‘to let’ signs in your neighborhood. If you are looking for apartments that are on a low budget, considering renting houses fringing the urban centers, rather than at the epicenter of the cities. It is also equally important that you consider factors like transportation cost and proximity to your place of work or school before finally putting a price on an apartment.
Always try to find out from your landlord if utility costs such as electricity bills have already been calculated into your rent so you can know if the apartment is truly worth the pay or the rent was unnecessarily hiked. Most times, apartments available for rent are already furnished with basic furniture. Still, ensure to make a proper check on the place so you can know how sparsely or heavily furnished it is and also factor in how much more will be needed to fully equip the apartment to your desired taste. Craiglist provides cheap housing furnishing should you be requiring some. You can also be on the lookout towards the end of the month as many people who are also moving out of apartments around that time will be willing to sell furnishings at cheap rates.
Long Term Apartment Options
There are 3 ways in which an apartment can be offered to you in Canada:
Subletting: Landlords will put out this kind of option when they need their apartment to be occupied while they are away for a short period. The time frame for staying in such apartments can be anything from months to few years, after which you are expected to leave when the owner returns. Such landlords will usually leave their furnishings behind in the apartment. This is therefore a great option if you don’t want to spend so much on furnishing an apartment that is not fully yours.
Renting: This is the most common accommodation provision for immigrants to Canada. Most of the things that renting an apartment entails have already been discussed. For more information, you can reach out to individuals who are already members of the neighborhood on what the tenancy rights in the locality are so you know when you are being cheated or unnecessarily stressed by a landlord.
Ownership: This may not be the option you want to start your accommodation procurement from. But in the long run, you may need to fully own a house to yourself especially if you have a family and you all are considering permanent residency. Before that time comes though, you will have been familiar enough will all the details that are required for buying a house. If you do want to own a house immediately you arrive in Canada, ensure you find out about all property taxes that will be required of you so you won’t be penalized for not meeting up.
Student Accommodation in Canada
Immigrants who have come to Canada to study have the options of staying on or off-campus. If you wish you stay off-campus as a student, you can go through your accommodation finding process using the tips already given. On-campus housing is usually readily available for students and is less demanding than staying out of campus.
Going about fixing your accommodation can be very taxing so it’s best to have a prepared mindset before arriving in the country. Reading through this content over and over again will help you get familiar with accommodation processes ahead of your arrival and give you the best possible solution to securing your accommodation before hand. Best wishes.