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International Students in Canada: Know Your Housing Rights

Every year, more international students are choosing Canada as their destination to continue their studies. As an international student in Canada, there are several factors to consider before making the transition, with one major factor being where to live. Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose while studying, it is important to understand your housing rights as a tenant while living in Canada.

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While there are many accommodation options available for foreign students, some international students may prefer an accommodation that is off-campus. The most common type of off-campus accommodation for a single occupant, roommates or a family is short-term housing or a rental property. Rental housing can come in the form of an apartment, single-family detached home, or a duplex or triplex. 

A rental property is a great option for international students as they are a more affordable housing option and are often rented on a yearly basis, or even sometimes month-to-month, depending on the rental agreement. A rental agreement, or lease, is a legal contract between the renter (tenant) and the person who owns the property (landlord).

What are my rights as a newcomer when finding a place to rent?

As an international student in Canada, it is important to note that you do have rights that should be complied with when looking for a place to rent in accordance with the Canadian human rights law. 

While a landlord may ask you for work references or a credit check, they are not allowed to ask any personal questions in regards to how long you have been in Canada, your ethnic background or religion, whether you will have any relatives visiting, and whether you plan on having children. Additionally, a landlord cannot flat out refuse to rent to you because you are new to Canada and therefore lack credit and/or references.  

It’s important to know that a landlord cannot request more than the first and last month of rent at signage. In Quebec only the first month is required. You may choose to provide the landlord with a bank statement for a proof of savings or include the name of a guarantor (or co-signer) who will pay your rent on your behalf if you are unable to. Alternatively, there may be on-campus advisors and newcomer settlement services that can help you through the rental process.

What are my rights and responsibilities as a tenant?

Once you are provided the rental agreement, be sure to review both your rights and responsibilities, as well as the responsibilities of the landlord, as outlined in the terms of the lease before signing. Be sure to make note of the monthly rent, date of when the rent is due, conditions of ending or cancelling your lease, and any other restrictions. 

In addition to collecting your rent, the landlord should be responsible for keeping your apartment or house safe and in good condition. Additionally, the landlord is required to provide everything in the rental property (ie: refrigerator, stove, heating) and in your rent (ie: utilities) as it is detailed in your lease. 

To comply with your responsibilities in the lease agreement, make sure to pay your rent on time and in full, keep your property well-maintained, contact the landlord immediately if there are any serious maintenance problems, and comply with any additional rules (ie: smoking, pets). 

It is also important to note that additional responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant may differ from province to province. If you see that your landlord is not complying with duties outlined in the lease agreement, you can reach out to your provincial landlord and tenant board. 

From its quality education and affordable tuition rates, complete your post-secondary education at a top ranking Canadian institution. With Canadian universities being on track to accept the highest number of international students in Canadian history this year, there has never been a better time to apply! 

 

If you are interested in studying in Canada, complete our free online assessment and a member of the Canadim team will be in touch with you to discuss your options. 

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