Where to start
Beyond location and visual appeal, there are many things to consider in finding a place to live. Keep in mind that you’ll be living in the accommodation that you choose for a long period of time, so be sure to choose something that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
- Start by downloading and filling out our budgeting guide. Simply type in your budget for each of the sections (rent, utilities, transportation, etc.) to calculate how much you can afford per month. This will help you find a suitable location that won’t break the bank.
- Our accommodations checklist will also be a helpful tool in your accommodation search. With this checklist, you can compare three different accommodations to ensure that you find something that meets your needs.
Top 10 tips for student renters
How to read advertisements
- Each listing is organized by type: all listings, sublets, housemates and those who need accommodations.
- Listings can also be filtered by rent, bedrooms, and location.
- The costs listed are generally per room/per month (usually ranging between $400-$425) and utilities, phone, cable may or may not be included.
- The length of lease generally ranges from terms of 4, 8, and 12 months, but this is often negotiable.
Things to look for
To be sure you don’t overlook anything in your search, download our accommodation checklist.
- Safety: smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fires exits (at least two) and windows.
- Lighting: in stairwells, halls and exterior.
- Are there enough: kitchens, bathrooms, electrical outlets, closets and parking spaces?
- Does everything work: stove, fridge, taps, toilets, water pressure, windows, locks?
- Tip: If anything needs fixing, be sure to make a list and have your landlord sign a copy of the projected timeline for repair.
- If the accommodation is in a private home: consider which rooms will be right above you and the lifestyle of those that live there (Ex. Do they have children?), if there will be house rules (having overnight guests) and where to do laundry.
- Always have these agreements in writing.
When to look
- Peak times are February/March/April for May occupancy & June/July/August for September occupancy
- Tip: If visiting the region during the summer, plan on spending a few consecutive days to complete your search.
- Tip: Niagara College residences are available to rent nightly from May through August. Contact Welland Conference Services at 905-732-9700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Niagara on the Lake Conference Services can be reached at 905-641-4435 or email@example.com to make arrangements.
- Many landlords often work during the day, so take this into consideration the time of your visit
How to recognize & avoid online rental scams
In recent years stories of people becoming involved in online rental scams have made the news in communities across the country. Here is an example: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/how-to-avoid-online-rental-scams-1.3474445
While instances of online fraud may be rare, it is always important to be attentive when conducting a housing search.
Here are a few potential scenarios for students to be cautious of:
- The Landlord states that they have another renter who is willing to give more money than originally requested, and to secure the property the student must wire money.
- A security deposit or first month’s rent is requested first, before the student can ‘view‘ the property.
- The landlord states an ‘agency‘ will show the property and deliver the keys. If the property is privately owned and not operated by a property management company, confirm that the agent represents a reputable leasing company first.
- The landlord is out-of-country and unable to show the property personally.
- The landlord asks a student to ‘wire’ money.
- The landlord requests that a lease be filled out prior to viewing the property
Students, in some situations, you may be advertising that you are looking for a housemate/roommate. Be cautious of these scenarios:
- The potential housemate offers to send a large sum of money via cheque or money order (more than a deposit for rent)
- They offer to send money without viewing the rental property first
- They offer to send money without signing a lease
- The tenant has excuses for not being able to meet in person (e.g., international student, on exchange, out of the country for summer work)
- The tenant seems eager to finalize the process with you
Tip for avoiding scams
- Never give out personal financial information(checking account number, SSN, etc.).
- Follow the general rule: Don’t let your guard down when looking for an apartment. If something feels wrong with the situation, it may be wise not to pursue it.
- When in doubt, always view the property!: Often individuals who are attempting to scam students request a deposit before the potential tenant has had a chance to preview the rental property. Never provide funds or sign a lease prior to viewing the property and meeting the landlord.
- Never wire funds to anyone claiming to be a landlord
- Be cautious: If you receive photos or detailed information from a landlord without requesting it, be mindful that this is typical scammer behavior.
If you suspect that you have been targeted by a rental scam, report it to your local law enforcement immediately.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on such matters as these. More information is available here: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm