How to Find Accommodation in Canada

Once you know you’re coming to Canada, you will need to a decide where you will be staying. While this may feel overwhelming at first, know that there are several resources available to help you!

Get Started

Newcomer Services

If you already know the province or territory or even city you would like to reside in your first step may be to contact a newcomer service in that area. You can do this by entering the city name on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website and selecting an organization near you. If you do not know where you will be staying you can read more about newcomer services.

Temporary Housing

You may not have a permanent place to stay before your big move, and that’s okay. If you are not staying with friends or family, you will want to find temporary housing that will allow you to get to know the city while you look for a permanent place to stay. There are a number of short-term accommodation options including hotels, hostels, AirBnb, sublets, and short-term apartment rental. Make sure to read any reviews available, confirm what the rental price includes (heat, electricity, etc), and that transportation will be accessible to you!

Types of Housing

There are different options when it comes to short- or long-term accommodations:

  1. Single-Family Homes or Detached Homes: Stand-alone houses designed to accommodate a single family. Typically include a private yard and parking space.
  2. Apartments: Multi-unit buildings with individual rental units. Apartments vary in size and amenities, often offering communal spaces and shared facilities. In Quebec, apartments come in various configurations to meet the diverse needs of residents. One commonly used classification system includes “1 ½,” “2 ½,” 3½, and so on. This classification denotes the number of rooms, excluding bathrooms. A “1 ½” typically represents a studio apartment with a combined living and sleeping area, along with a separate kitchen and bathroom. On the other hand, a “2 ½” signifies an apartment with one additional separate bedroom, in addition to the main living space, kitchen, and bathroom. These unique designations are specific to Quebec and help renters understand the layout and size of the apartment they are considering. Additionally, Quebec features a range of other apartment styles, such as lofts, duplexes, and condominiums, contributing to a diverse housing landscape in the province.
  3. Condominiums (Condos): Privately owned units within a larger complex. Residents own their individual units but share ownership of common areas. Condos may offer amenities like gyms or pools.
  4. Townhouses: Multi-level homes connected in a row or block, often sharing walls with neighboring units. Townhouses combine aspects of single-family homes and apartments.
  5. Duplexes: Two separate living units within a single building, each with its own entrance. Duplexes can be side-by-side or stacked.
  6. Cooperative Housing (Co-ops): Residents collectively own and manage the housing complex, sharing responsibilities and decision-making. Co-ops often involve a more communal living arrangement.
  7. Shared Housing: Properties specifically designed for shared housing arrangements where individuals rent rooms in a larger house, sharing common areas and expenses.
  8. Loft Apartments: Typically converted industrial or commercial spaces turned into residential units with open layouts, high ceilings, and distinctive architectural features.


Types of Agreements

Subletting or Renting

Subletting normally occurs when a renter will be out of town for a certain period of time with the intention of returning to the same apartment/house. In most cases the person who is renting out the unit will leave certain belongings in the apartment for the short-term tenant to use under certain conditions. Subletting can be a good option if you are looking for temporary accommodations and if you do not yet have your own furniture.



Distinguishing between renting and leasing primarily hinges on the duration of occupancy. A rental agreement typically covers a short-term or month-to-month basis, while a lease usually extends for a more prolonged period, often six months or beyond.

For newcomers to Canada, the process of renting or leasing a property requires careful consideration and thorough preparation to ensure a seamless and satisfactory living experience. It’s crucial to comprehend the conditions of the lease with your landlord before signing and moving in.

To facilitate this process, we offer practical tips and essential insights for informed decision-making, enhancing your overall renting experience in Canada. From familiarizing yourself with local neighborhoods to reviewing lease agreements and understanding tenant rights, these recommendations serve as a valuable guide for prospective renters.

  1. Research Local Neighborhoods: Before renting in Canada, thoroughly research different neighborhoods to understand their safety, amenities, and community vibes. Consider proximity to work, public transportation, and essential services.
  2. Budget Considerations: Establish a realistic budget that includes rent, utilities, and other living expenses. Be mindful of potential additional costs such as parking fees, maintenance, and any applicable taxes.
  3. Lease Agreement Review: Carefully read and understand the terms of the lease agreement. Pay attention to clauses related to rent increases, responsibilities for maintenance, and any restrictions on modifications to the property.
  4. Tenant Rights: Familiarize yourself with tenant rights in the specific province or territory where you plan to rent. Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a tenant is crucial for a smooth rental experience.
  5. Inspect the Property: Conduct a thorough inspection of the rental property before signing the lease. Document any existing damages and ensure they are acknowledged by the landlord to avoid disputes when moving out.
  6. Check for Amenities and Utilities: Clarify which utilities and amenities are included in the rent, who is responsible for paying utilities, Confirm the condition and functionality of appliances, heating, and cooling systems. Also who is responsible for snow removal, this is crucial in Canada to avoid potential safety hazards, property damage, and ensures a well-managed and secure living environment during the colder months.
  7. Pet Policies: If you have pets or plan to get one, check the landlord’s policies on pets. Some properties may have restrictions or require additional deposits. Most of the properties only accept cats or no pets at all.
  8. Emergency Contacts: Obtain emergency contact information for the landlord or property manager. Ensure you know the procedure for reporting maintenance issues or emergencies.
  9. Renter’s Insurance: Consider getting renter’s insurance to protect your personal belongings in case of theft, fire, or other unforeseen events. It’s often an affordable way to provide peace of mind.
  10. Community Feedback: Seek out reviews or opinions from current or past tenants of the property or building. This can provide valuable insights into the living experience and the responsiveness of the landlord or management.

By following these recommendations, you can make informed decisions and enhance your renting experience in Canada.

Understanding Utilities in Canadian Housing

Utilities in Canadian housing typically include essential services such as water, electricity, heating, and sometimes garbage disposal. Here’s how they generally work:

  1. Water: In most cases, water usage is metered, meaning you pay for the amount of water you consume. This cost is usually included in your monthly or quarterly utility bill. Some municipalities may have flat-rate billing systems for water.
  2. Electricity: Electricity is provided by local utility companies. Similar to water, electricity usage is usually metered, and you are billed for the amount you consume. Rates can vary based on the province and even the municipality.
  3. Heating: Heating methods vary depending on the region and type of housing. In colder climates, such as many parts of Canada, heating is essential, especially in the winter months. Common heating methods include electric heating, natural gas heating, oil heating, and in some cases, district heating systems. Like water and electricity, heating costs are typically included in your utility bill.
  4. Garbage disposal: Waste management services differ from place to place. Many municipalities provide regular garbage collection services, often on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Some areas also have recycling and composting programs. The cost for waste management services may be included in property taxes or billed separately.
  5. Other Utilities: Depending on the property and location, other utilities may include the Internet Service Provider (ISP), cable TV, and landline telephone services. These are typically provided by private companies, and the cost varies based on the service provider and the package you choose.

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific utilities and billing practices in your area when renting or purchasing a property in Canada. Additionally, some landlords may include certain utilities in the rent, while others may require tenants to set up and pay for utilities separately.



When you’re ready, buying a house can make your transition to Canada complete. For most newcomers buying a house doesn’t happen within the first year, and some Canadians may choose to always rent rather than buy. Owning a house means you do not have to pay rent or adhere to a rental agreement, but it also means you have several responsibilities. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the property taxes you will pay for your home, among other costs.

Housing for International Students

International students may have the option to stay in on-campus housing, also known as dorms, or off-campus housing, such as renting an apartment.

On-Campus Housing

When it is available, on-campus housing is usually the most popular option for new students. College dorms may offer private or shared rooms. The price of a dorm room can range greatly depending on the college or university you are attending and may include (or require) services such as a meal plan for the university cafeteria.

Off-Campus Housing

Off-campus housing may be difficult to find if you are outside of Canada. If you decide you want to live off-campus, the next decision should be whether you live alone or with someone else. Shared apartments are common options for students, since it usually reduces the costs of rent and utilities. Shared apartments can also provide flexibility. Normally, if you are in a shared apartment and would like to move you must simply work with your roommates to find someone else to move into your room.

If you are coming to Canada as an International student and you are looking for housing, find more information in our guide International tudent Accommodation in Canada

Ready to

Free Immigration Assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options! Complete our free assessment today and a member of the Canadim Team will contact you to discuss your immigration to Canada.

Get Started

Related Links

Free assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options. Get your free assessment now!