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    How to Rent Your First Apartment in Canada

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    renting an apartment for the first time Canada

    Moving to Canada? Here’s what you need to know about renting an apartment for the first time.

    Renting for the first time can often feel stressful even if you’re looking for a place to live in the same neighbourhood that you grew up in. Of course, finding an apartment in a new country can be even more overwhelming.

    In this article, we share the most important things you should know when looking for a rental apartment in Canada.

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    7 Steps to Renting an Apartment in Canada

    If you’re moving to Canada from abroad, here are the seven things you’ll want to consider before renting an apartment for the first time.

    1. Check Your Credit Report

    Before submitting any rental applications, you should look into your credit score. Many landlords use this information to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your rent.

    If you have a poor or unestablished credit history, you may not be able to rent certain units or you may need a guarantor with good credit to co-sign your lease. A guarantor would be responsible for paying your rent in the event that you were unable to come up with the money.

    2. Determine Your Budget

    Once you’ve established your credit score, you’ll need to create a budget to ensure that you’ll have enough funds to rent an apartment. Based on your budget, you may discover that you need to save money before you make your move.

    First, identify your actual costs of moving, such as:

    • Travel expenses

    • Truck or U-Haul rental

    • Moving company fees

    • Storage costs

    • Accommodation prior to move in

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    After you’ve determined the above costs, now’s the time to put together a budget for your monthly or annual living expenses, including:

    • Rental costs

    • Groceries and dining out

    • Renter’s insurance

    • Furniture and decor

    • Heating and electricity

    • Internet and cable

    If you’re looking to find the most affordable options for an apartment, keep in mind that rent can vary depending on the season. Winter is often less competitive when searching for a rental unit as families with children generally don’t want to move in the middle of a school year. Student renters also won’t be looking for places during college semesters. And most people don’t want to move during the holidays, especially when the weather is cold.

    3. Identify Where You Want to Live

    Do you have a region or specific neighbourhood in mind? Determine where you want to live and narrow down your search based on criteria like:

    • Proximity to schools and/or workplaces

    • Whether you will have a vehicle and/or require parking

    • If you will be relying on public transportation

    • Your preference of residential versus downtown living

    • If you own an animal and require a pet friendly building

    Based on the above you can figure out the pros and cons of different areas, helping you identify where you want to rent.

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    4. Be Aware of Rental Scams

    Searching for your first apartment, especially from afar, can be a challenging task. If you have yet to move to Canada and are unable to view apartments in person, be on the look out for fraudulent rental advertisements.

    A good rule to follow is if a listing seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    5. Submit Your Rental Application

    Once you’ve found an apartment that you’d like to rent, you’ll need to submit an application. Different property managers and landlords will require different things but, typically, you can expect to to provide items like the following:

    • Credit check

    • Proof of income or pay stubs

    • Application fee

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    6. Secure Your Unit

    If you’ve been notified that you are the successful applicant for an apartment, congratulations! Now, you’ll likely need to complete some form of the following steps to secure the unit:

    • Sign the lease

    • Arrange rental payment

    • Provide a security deposit

    7. Prepare to Move In

    After you’ve secured your rental, reach out to your property manager or landlord and confirm your possession date. From there, you’ll be able to set up your utilities for the day you move in. You can also use this information to organize the transport of your personal belongings, whether you decide to hire movers or rent a truck.

    Prior to moving in, ensure that your property manager or landlord has received your first month’s rent payment and that your tenant’s insurance coverage is set to start on your possession date.

    Other articles you may be interested in:

    Protect Your Finances With Tenant’s Insurance

    Moving to a new country can come with many challenges. APOLLO helps make the insurance part of renting your first apartment effortless.

    Get in touch with our team today to find out how APOLLO can help support you in renting in Canada for the first time.

    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Originally published July 13, 2022, updated September 5, 2023

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    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

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