How to Rent Smarter in Vancouver as a Student?

May 1, 2023   |   9 Min. Read

Key Takeaways

  • Arguably the most secure and easy-to-use rental platform, is a Vancouver-made, all-in-one rental platform that aims to make the renting process easier and safer for everyone.
  • Paula Azevedo, the National Business Development and Client Success Manager at, shares insights on the current state of the rental market in Vancouver and the challenges faced by students.
  • Vancouver has approximately 166,000 renters, which makes up around 25% of the total population, and the number of renters in British Columbia is about 49% of the population.
  • The demand for rental housing is rapidly increasing in Vancouver, especially in cities with new developments and high inventory like Surrey and Burnaby.
  • Approximately 62.2% of post-secondary students in Vancouver are renters.
  • The biggest issues that students face when looking for rental properties are affordability and inventory shortages, as well as the risk of falling victim to rental scams.
  • Lack of affordable housing inventory is a significant issue, and students are often forced to pay landlords well above the asking price.
  • Rental scams are prevalent, with Canadians losing 1.4 million dollars to rental scams in just six months.

Do you find renting a place is a stressful experience for you? It may be even worse if you are an international student and a first-time renter in Vancouver. From finding a trustworthy landlord to navigating through the complicated rental process, we understand the whole experience can be overwhelming.

To begin your search for a rental, the first and most important step is to find the right rental platform. And today, we would like to introduce you to our favorite rental platform for students –, a Vancouver-made, all-in-one rental platform that aims to make the renting process easier and safer for everyone.

Meet Paula Azevedo: National Business Development and Client Success Manager at

Paula Azevedo, the National Business Development and Client Success Manager at, has been working in the industry for the past five years. Her role involves helping renters and landlords get the most out of the rental platform’s features and benefits.

In the interview, she has provided insights about the current state of the rental market in Vancouver and some challenges faced by students, including the rental process, how to avoid scams, and popular neighborhoods for students.

What is the Current Rental Market Status in Vancouver?

As we know, finding affordable and high-quality housing options in Vancouver can be very hard. Paula has provided some data on the number of renters in the city, including how many of them are students and where they are from. This information can help you gain a better understand of the current state of the rental market in Vancouver.

How Many Renters are in Vancouver, Canada?

 “The City of Vancouver alone has approximately 166,000 renters, which makes up around 25% of the total population. Looking at British Columbia as a whole, this number jumps to 609,450 renters which is about 49% of the population according to Statistics Canada’s 2022 Census.” according to Paula’s research. This means almost half of the population in B.C. are renters, and they have been into the same trouble of finding and looking for affordable houses.

How Has the Number of Renters Changed in the Last Few Years?

As Vancouver has a high population of renters, the demand for rental housing is also rapidly increasing, especially in cities with new developments and high inventory like Surrey and Burnaby. Moreover, immigration plays an important role in driving demand up. “For instance, Canada has welcomed 411,000 new immigrants in 2022 and over 440,000 in 2023” said Paula. These people will mostly be looking for rental housing once they have landed, this will further decrease the available of rental housing in Vancouver.

What are The Percentage of Students Looking for Rental Housing in Vancouver?

Although not all students are renters, a significant portion of them are.

Paula mentioned “From the data on Utile, a social economy enterprise that specializes in student housing, has conducted research across the country in 2022. Specific to Vancouver, there were approximately 194,582 post-secondary students in town, and about 62.2% of those were renters.”

For a clearer picture of the number of students in Vancouver, consider these examples from Paula:

The latest report from Caveat reveals the number of students in the major institutions in Vancouver, Canada.

  • The University of British Columbia (UBC) has almost 70,000 students, of which almost 31% are non-domestic.
  • Simon Fraser University (SFU) has nearly 30,000 students, with almost 31% of whom are non-domestic.
  • Langara College has 13,510 students.
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) has 12,000 students.
  • Vancouver Community College (VCC) has over 12,000 students.
  • Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECUAD) has more than 2000 students.

“UBC saw a minor drop in the number of domestic students but an increase in international students by almost 3%” Paula added.

Referring the UBC Annual Enrolment Report, Paula suggested that more international students will likely be renting in the city, and the numbers of renters keep increasing every month.

Vancouver Campus only 2021/22 2022/23 
Domestic Students 43,488 43,364 (-0.29%) 
Domestic Indigenous Students 1,446 1,558 (+7.75%) 
International Students 16,804 17,243 (+2.61%) 
UBC Annual Enrolment Report 2022/2023

What are The Biggest Struggles of Renting for Students in Vancouver?

Securing an affordable rental property in Vancouver can be an uphill battle, especially for students. The Vancouver’s rental market is known for being expensive and highly competitive, which makes it more challenging for students who are trying to secure a place to rent. On top of that, rental scams are a common issue that can leave renters out of pocket and feeling emotionally damaged. Paula has identified two primary challenges that students face when looking for rental properties: affordability and inventory shortages, as well as the risk of falling victim to rental scams.

  • Affordability and Inventory Shortages

The biggest issue that students are facing in Vancouver’s rental market are lack of affordable housing inventories.

“For instance, with around 70,000 students attending UBC alone, a single vacant unit near campus can receive over hundreds of applications. Students desperate to secure housing have been known to pay landlords well above the asking price” Paula said, this has led to inflated rental costs in Vancouver with less affordable units.

  • Rental Scams

Another issue is the prevalence of rental scams. First-time renters who are not familiar with the rental process are often the ones who fall victim to these scams. Fake listings and landlords can leave renters feeling frustrating and emotionally distressed.

“The Canadian Anti-fraud Center has reported that Canadians lost 1.4 million dollars to rental scams in just six months, with some people losing more than $1,000 or even $2,000 dollars. The Better Business Bureau in BC recently discovered that 43% of renters browsing listings online encounter fake ads as well” Paula said.

Given the wide spread of rental scams in Vancouver,it is possible that you may become the next victim of such fraudulent activities.

What are the Solutions for Finding Affordable Rental Places

In order to find affordable rental places in Vancouver, Paula suggests shared accommodations and co-living are the best ways to find affordable rental places.

“This living arrangement is popular among students and offers a range of affordable rooms to rent. Typically, renters will need to share common areas of their home, or even their bedroom, with other renters. Rent for this option ranges from $900 to $1,800 per month, and there are several companies in the city that provide this type of rental” Paula explained.

If you are looking for shared accommodation, GEC should be your best bet. As being the largest off-campus student housing provider in Vancouver, we offer shared housing options at an affordable price. For more information about rental prices, please inquire us on our website.

How to Find the Perfect Fit Roommate?

Finding the right roommates is key to shared accommodation. Paula mentioned that some rental companies or agents will offer in-depth application processes, background checks, and even zoom interviews to find the ideal roommates. They also ask screening questions to understand more about your lifestyle, making it easier to match compatible roommates.

How to Avoid Rental Scams

“To combat this problem, has created a strict multi-layer verification process that ensures renters can find reliable properties and landlords with less risk of falling prey to costly and emotionally damaging rental scams.”

“Our extensive ID verification processes allow to validate both renters’ and landlords’ IDs. In addition, would provide an online comprehensive checklist of supporting documents that renters should prepare, such as bank statements, sponsored letters, and student loans” said Paula.

This suggested that give students, particularly international students and first-time renter who may not know much about renting in Canada the peace of mind they need.

What are The Best Vancouver Neighborhoods for Students?

Paula suggested neighborhoods that are close to public transit, such as Sky Train or bus stations.

“The areas surrounding UBC, SFU, and Langara are popular choices for students. These include Point Grey, Kitsilano, Burnaby Mountain, South Vancouver, and Downtown. However, more and more students are starting to rent into different areas, such as Surrey or Langley, which are also close to transit but with a more affordable price.”

Where is Paula’s Favorite Location?

Paula personally recommended Marine Drive because of its convenience. Students can reach downtown Vancouver or the airport within 20 minutes. Also, Marine Drive has everything they need, including public transit, restaurants, and parks, all within walking distance.

What Should Students Understand the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) Regulations?

Paula pointed out that it is essential for student renters to understand their rights as tenants, including RTA regulations.

“Many international students are unfamiliar with RTA regulations, it’s important to clarify any unfamiliar terms or clauses with the landlord. For example, many lease agreements include a clause called liquidated damages, which specifies the amount that you will have to pay if you break the lease. It is also important to note that landlords can only charge half a month’s rent for security deposits and pet deposits (if applicable), and nothing else!”

Indeed, there are a lot of terms and clauses that students may be unfamiliar with. To avoid any confusion or misunderstandings, it is advisable for students to consult their rental agents or ask the landlord to clarify the terms and conditions before signing any documents.

Will the Landlord Need to Pay Back Interest on Deposits?

Paula explained that with reinforced regulations, landlords may require to pay back interest on deposits to the renters. Once you receive your security deposit back, the landlord may also give you with any interest that has accumulated.

Can the Landlord Increase Rent After a 1-Year Lease?

“If you have a fixed-term lease, the landlord cannot increase your rent during that time, except for the allowable rent increase percentage per province. In British Columbia, for example, the allowable rent increase for 2023 is only 2 percent. However, if you leave and the landlord finds a new tenant, they can increase the rent as much as they like” Paula said.

It is worth noting that some landlords may request to increase the rent by more than 2 percent when extending a lease, which is illegal under RTA regulations. As a student renter, it is crucial to know your rights and protect yourself against potential violations. If you notice your landlord trying to increase the rent by more than 2 percent, take action to protect your rights, such as contacting a tenant advocacy organization or seeking legal advice.

Final Note from Paula to Students and First-Time Renters

Last but not least, Paula reminds students to be cautious of rental scams and to perform thorough research before sending cash deposits. She also advises students to clarify any unfamiliar terms or clauses in their lease with the landlord. For more tips and advice on renting an apartment in Vancouver, be sure to check out Paula’s recommendations before embarking on your search for a rental place.

In conclusion, Paula’s insights into the rental market in Vancouver are valuable for students who may be unfamiliar with the city’s housing options and regulations. While renting can be a challenging experience, especially for newcomers, it is essential to understand the various costs associated with living in Vancouver, including food and transportation. To help students plan their budgets accordingly, we have also prepared a blog that discusses the different costs of living in the city. By being aware of these expenses, students can make informed decisions and better manage their finances during their time in Vancouver.