Relocating to a new country is full of daunting decisions. Choosing the right province, planning the right pathway for immigration, and job changes are just a few. One of the biggest challenges newcomers face is finding affordable accommodation in Canada, especially on a budget.
Rental costs can quickly eat into your budget, but fear not! This guide will equip you with essential tips to help you rent in Canada on a budget and make the most of your new life.
1. Choose Budget-Friendly Locations
Let’s start with the basics: location matters. Canada is a vast and diverse country, and not all provinces and cities have the same cost of living. Don’t move into the largest city in Canada right away, consider settling in provinces and cities known for their affordability at first:
- Manitoba: with its welcoming communities and lower living costs, Manitoba is an excellent choice for budget-conscious newcomers. Winnipeg, the provincial capital, often offers reasonable rental rates.
- Saskatchewan: Cities like Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan provide affordable housing options compared to major urban centres like Toronto or Vancouver.
- Atlantic Canada: The maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia boast affordable living, especially in smaller towns and cities.
- Quebec: Quebec offers a unique blend of vibrant culture and relatively lower rents, particularly outside Montreal and Quebec City.
- Northern Canada: For the adventurous souls among you, the northern territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have rental opportunities. Remember that prices can vary, but certain programs may offer rental assistance.
2. Leverage Tax Benefits
As a newcomer to Canada, you may be eligible for various tax benefits and credits that can help offset your accommodation costs. Two significant financial aids to consider are:
- Claim Work From Home Expenses. To cut rental costs while working from home in Canada, get Form T2200 from your employer. Calculate home office expenses, including rent, and claim this expense on Form T777 during tax filing.
- Canada Child Benefit (CCB): If you have children, this benefit can provide substantial financial support to help cover your housing expenses.
- GST/HST Credit: This credit can put money back in your pocket, reducing the overall burden of your living costs.
3. Embrace Roommates & Shared Living
Sharing your living space with roommates can be a game-changer for your budget. You’ll significantly reduce your monthly expenses when you split rent and utility costs. Remember to choose roommates who align with your living preferences to maintain a harmonious household.
Better yet, if you are an international student, you are probably eligible for student accommodation in Canada and can choose to live on campus. Top universities offer some great campus housing options in Canada for students.
4. Negotiate rent
Before committing to a lease agreement, do some homework. Research the rental rates in your chosen area and gather information on what other tenants are paying. With this knowledge, you can confidently negotiate a lower rent or potentially secure additional perks like free parking or included utilities.
5. Long-Term vs. Short-Term Rentals
When deciding on your accommodation, consider the financial aspects of long-term and short-term rentals. While short-term options can be convenient, they tend to come with higher price tags. In contrast, long-term rentals typically offer more stability and often come with lower monthly costs especially when renting a private room or apartment. Be sure to compare the overall expenses of both options to make an informed choice based on your budget.
6. Use Online Resources
The internet is a treasure trove of budget-friendly rental listings in Canada. Explore popular online platforms like Kijiji, Craigslist, PadMapper, RentFaster, and local Facebook groups. These websites feature a wide range of accommodation options that cater to different budgets and preferences.
7. Check Realtor Websites
Many real estate agencies maintain websites dedicated to rental listings. These listings often cater to various budgets and preferences, giving you a broader range of choices. Realtor websites frequently include detailed property descriptions and images, allowing you to explore potential rentals from the comfort of your current residence.
8. Government Assistance Programs
Canada offers government assistance programs and subsidies to help newcomers and low-income individuals find affordable housing. These programs can provide valuable financial support, making securing accommodation within your budget easier.
9. Seek Tenant Referrals
This is a very crucial step in finding accommodation in Canada. Connecting with current tenants in the building or community you’re interested in can provide invaluable insights. They can share information about property management practices, typical rental rates, and any available discounts or promotions. Tenant referrals can help you make informed decisions and secure better deals.
10. Stay Informed About Market Rates
Keeping yourself updated about market rental rates in your desired area is crucial. This knowledge gives you an upper hand when negotiating rent or evaluating the fairness of a rental offer. Awareness of the average rent in your chosen location empowers you to make informed decisions.
11. Network and Get Local Advice
Your social and professional networks are valuable resources for local advice and recommendations. Fellow newcomers and established residents can offer insights into affordable rental options, preferred neighbourhoods, and valuable tips for navigating the rental market successfully.
12. Inspect Properties in Person
Whenever possible, visit rental properties to assess their condition and ensure the rental rates align with the property’s value. In-person inspections also allow you to meet with landlords and ask questions directly.
With these tips and a little bit of determination, you’ll be well-prepared to find budget-friendly accommodation to live in Canada. Happy House Hunting!