There are many reasons why a new expat would want to rent a home before taking the plunge and buying a Canadian property. Whatever your reasons there are some important considerations you should be aware of.
Buying a property is first on the agenda for some new arrivals to Canada. However, many expats consider renting to be the wiser first step, for a little while at least. Purchasing a home is a big commitment that can take time to complete, while a fixed-term lease allows an expat the opportunity to experience living in a certain part of Canada with a level of flexibility should they decide to try a different city, or even a different neighbourhood in the same city.
The larger cities in Canada, such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, are popular with expats and Canadians alike. This results in a high demand for rental properties, so you will need to be prepared to act quickly if you find yourself in a ‘hot’ rental market.
A fixed-term lease allows an expat the opportunity to experience living in a certain part of Canada with a level of flexibility
Finding the right place
As well as finding accommodation that meets your requirements (number of bedrooms etc.) you will also want to ensure you are getting a fair deal. Fortunately there are a number of online resources available that can show you advertisements for available properties, together with the average rental prices in the area, which you can use to conduct your own research. The tenancy terms are also important, for instance in most cases the minimum rental period will be 12 months. It is worth noting that Canadian properties, even small apartments, are generally rented out on an unfurnished basis – so budget ahead for essential furniture.
Canadian properties, even small apartments, are generally rented out on an unfurnished basis – so budget ahead for essential furniture.
Once you have found a place to rent you will need to speak with the landlord and clearly define the terms of your contract – in some rentals the utilities are included in the monthly fee, in others it will be up to you to set up your own accounts with the various utility companies. If there is a garden you will want to clarify who’s responsible for maintaining it. If you are planning on applying your own personal touch to the interior, you should ensure there are no restrictions to what you can or cannot redecorate.
Once all such factors have been agreed upon, the landlord will usually run a credit check before the contract is signed. This can be an issue for some newcomers to Canada, if you have not had a chance to build up a credit history in your new home. Often a letter confirming your employment, or a higher deposit (typically the standard is one month’s rent), to show you will not be living above your means, will provide sufficient peace of mind to the landlord.
The Canada Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to: