Renting or purchasing a house, apartment in Canada

In this section of you will find how to deal on apartments for rent, houses for rent and townhouses for rent. In Canada you may need a cheap apartment or house to sublease from the leaseholder or rent an apartment or house from the property owner directly. You will also know how tenants and landlords contact each other to rent or sublease apartments, houses, and rooms.


Rent A Home Chart in Cities of Canada

The owner of the house or building you live in is your “landlord”. If the building is large, the landlord may hire a “property manager” or “superintendent” to collect rent and manage the building.
Laws for renting and landlords and tenants responsibilities are different in

Finding a place to rent
There are many ways to find houses or apartments to rent. You can:
• visit neighbourhoods and look for “For Rent” signs on houses or buildings
• check the classified ads in newspapers, bulletin boards in shops and community centres
• check online classified ads or visit rental agency websites
• ask your friends
• ask for help at an immigrant-serving organization
• pay a rental agency to help you find a rental home
Before you visit a place you might want to rent, prepare a checklist of questions you may want to ask the landlord or superintendent.
In Canada, landlords can ask you for references (such as a past landlord or an employer) who can confirm that you will be a good tenant. They can also:
• ask you where you work;
• ask you what your income is; and
• check your credit history.
You can get help from an immigrant-serving organization if you do not have:
• references
• a job
• a credit history in Canada
For more information on credit history, see Money and finances.
Moving in and signing a lease
When you agree to rent a place, you and your landlord should sign a lease.
A lease is a written rental agreement that outlines everything you and your landlord have agreed to. It is a legal document, so make sure you read and understand every word. You may choose to ask someone to go over it with you, such as a:
• relative
• friend
• staff member at an immigrant-serving organization
• lawyer
Ask your landlord or the superintendent to go over the rules and instructions for:
• getting your mail
• using the intercom (in an apartment building)
• garbage and recycling
• laundry
• tenant and visitor parking
• how the appliances work
A landlord may ask you for a rental deposit when you sign the lease. If you do not pay the rent or you damage the home, the landlord will use the deposit to cover the costs. When you move out, the landlord will either return the deposit to you or use it to pay for your last month of rent.
Paying the rent
You usually have to pay the rent to your landlord, superintendent or property manager on the first day of every month. You can pay your rent:
• in cash;
• by post-dated cheques (many landlords ask for 12 cheques dated the first day of each month for the next 12 months); or
• by certified cheques (many landlords ask for a certified cheque for the first and last month).
Important: Make sure you ask your landlord for a receipt and keep it as proof of payment.
In some places, your rent may include some or all of your utilities, such as:
• electricity
• heat
• water
If they are not included in your rent, you must pay these bills yourself.
Rent increases
In most areas, your landlord must give you a 90-day notice before increasing your rent. Usually, landlords can increase your rent only once each year.
Moving out
Before moving out, you must give written notice to your landlord that you will be leaving. You must give one, two or three months’ notice depending on the province or territory in which you live.
If you have a lease, the law may not let you end the lease early. In such cases, you must come to an arrangement with the landlord or pay an amount set by law in your province or territory.

Heat and hydro
Finding a house or apartment is your first step in setting up a new home. Once you have found a place to live, you will need to get basic services and furnish your home.
Whether you rent or buy, you will need to get heat and hydro (electricity) services for your home. In Canada, some homes are heated by gas, others by oil and others by electricity.
Often, there are one or two main companies that provide these services in an area. You can find them in the yellow pages of your telephone book. Try looking under Gas, Heating Companies, Oils/Fuel and Hydro-Electric Utilities.
Safety precautions
Homes and apartments in Canada should have at least one smoke detector.
If you are renting, ask your landlord about the smoke detectors in your building. Check the battery in your smoke detector regularly to ensure it is working.
You should also check the windows and doors of your new home to make sure the screens and locks are not broken. You may also wish to install a security system in your home.


Making a telephone call
Most Canadian telephone numbers have 10 digits (for example, 123-456-7890). The first three digits are the “area code” and the seven last digits are the number itself. Each region in Canada has a different area code with three digits.
The telephone book has the following information you will need to make telephone calls:
• detailed instructions on how to make telephone calls
• area codes within Canada as well as international country codes and area codes
• complete list of home and business telephone numbers
You can get the telephone book in most public libraries.
Automatic answering services
Many businesses and government departments have automatic answering systems that give you recorded instructions on how to get information or to direct you to someone you can speak with. You may be asked to select options by pressing the numbers on your telephone or by pressing the “pound” [#] or the “star” [*] keys.
Many telephones have answering machines that allow you to leave a message if someone is not there at the time you call. The telephone will ring and then a recorded message will ask you to leave your name, number and a short message after the beep sound. When leaving a message, speak clearly and repeat your telephone number to make sure that the person who hears the message is able to call you back. Hang up when you have finished recording the message.
Telephone service
There are two main types of telephone service in Canada:
• fixed line telephones (“home phones” or “land lines”); and
• cell phones (“mobile”).
It is possible to get home telephone service almost anywhere in Canada. Cell phone service is available in all major urban regions and the more populated rural areas as well. To get either type of telephone service, contact a private telephone company in your area.
There are many different types of phone “plans” available depending on your needs and how much you want to pay per month. Special plans are available for people who make many long-distance calls.
When you sign up for a home or mobile plan, you will generally need to provide two pieces of identification of your choice (for example, permanent resident card, driver’s licence, passport, etc.). You might also be asked to agree to a credit check or to provide proof of employment. If you have no credit history or job, explain that you are a new immigrant and ask what options are available for someone in your situation.
Public telephones
There are public telephones in many Canadian towns and cities. You pay by using a calling card (available at most convenience stores) or by inserting coins.
Telephone services for people with special needs
Most telephone companies have special telephone equipment available for people with hearing, speech, visual or other disabilities. Ask your telephone company for details.
Postal services
Canada Post provides postal services in Canada. Through Canada Post, you can send and receive mail and parcels to and from anywhere in the world. For information on the many services and products offered by Canada Post, visit theCanada Post website or a post office in your city or town.
The Internet is a useful tool of everyday life for most Canadians. For example, many people in Canada use the Internet to:
• search and apply for jobs;
• do their banking;
• learn about and buy many different products; and
• read the news.
You can use the Internet for free at most public libraries. You can also pay to use the Internet at an Internet café where you will be charged based on how long you stay online. If you have a computer at home, you can contact your telephone company and ask about Internet plans.
Internet users, especially parents, should be aware of the risks of using Internet.
Television and radio
There are many private television and radio stations in Canada, including channels aimed at immigrant communities who broadcast in many different languages. Canada also has a national taxpayer-funded broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Société Radio-Canada, whose services are available in English and French.
To find a store that sells televisions and radios, go to a shopping area in your city or town.
Service “bundling”
If you buy more than one service from the same company, you can save money. For example, if you buy Internet, telephone and cable television service from the same company, you will often get a discount. This is called “bundling.”
Newspapers and magazines
There are several independent national newspapers in Canada and every main city has one or more local newspapers. Most newspapers have print and online versions. You can buy newspapers at convenience stores and at many other locations, or you can pay to have them delivered to your home.
In major Canadian cities, there are also newspapers and bulletins produced by immigrant communities. You can usually find them at stores that serve these communities.

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