Tips for Renting in Vancouver (For Newcomers and First-Timers)

Finding the right rental place might be a little challenging if you do not know the common tips for renting in Vancouver as a first-timer. We’re GEC Living, Vancouver’s largest off-campus student accommodation provider, and we have outlined valuable information to guide you on how to find the right accommodation without hassles.

1. Knowing Your Destinations

Knowing where you will be travelling to on a daily or regular basis is crucial before finding a place. You don’t want to travel more than 1+ hour nor take more than 2 transfers to get to the place daily right?

Most of the newcomers should have already known their work or school address before landing. But what if you just plan to chill in Vancouver for the first few months? Here are a few neighbourhoods you should consider as they are all centrally located and transit accessible in Vancouver.

  • Downtown Vancouver – unquestionable the most accessible neighbourhood in Vancouver, it reaches the most area in Metro Vancouver within 1 hour
  • Burnaby Metrotown – geographically centrally located in Vancouver, with easy access to all parts of Metro Vancouver besides Richmond
  • Richmond – a great neighbourhood if you like lots of Asian food and community, relatively cheaper in terms of cost of living compared to other parts of Vancouver. However, not a good option for travel to North & West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam.
  • New Westminster – similar to Burnaby Metro Town, but relatively cheaper.

2. Narrow Down Rental Options within Your Budget

You don’t need to read this part if the budget it’s not your concern. However, if you do, below is Vancouver’s average rent report created by liv.rent for Oct 2022.

Yes, the rent is very expensive in Vancouver and will most likely stay the same if not increase higher in the coming years. If the numbers above are well out of your budget, you might consider renting shared accommodation.

A typical private bedroom in a shared house or apartment will be around $700 to $1,500 per month across Metro Vancouver. Craiglist is the most commonly used rental platform people use for finding a shared place in Vancouver.

3. Choose a Trustworthy Rental Platform

Plenty of rental sites are available for the Vancouver market, and we wrote another blog about the top 8 rental sites you should use to find your rental place in Vancouver. To save you some time to read another blog, here is a quick summary:

  • liv.rent – possibly the safest rental platform in Vancouver with modern features which provides you with a seamless rental experience
  • Craigslist – most listings are offered on this site, and it is the most commonly used. However, you might counter scammers too.
  • Zumper – similar to liv.rent, but they have options for short-term rentals

Another smart move is to work with a rental agency, some of them are professional enough and could save you a lot of time and energy. Here are a few recommendations:

4. Prepare Your Rental Application

As a newcomer or first-timer renter, it might be difficult to compete with other renters as you don’t have enough credit records in Canada. However, you should prepare as much information as possible before submitting your rental application. Here is the list:

  • Proof of identification – ID or Passport
  • Pay stubs – recent 3 months
  • Bank statement – recent 3 months
  • Reference Letter – from your previous or current landlord and/or employer
  • Social Identification Number (SIN) – for credit score screening purposes
  • Rental History – with contacts to those landlords or property managers
  • Job Information – job contract with salary information
  • Pet Information – similar to a profile, with a picture and general information

Note: you don’t need to send over that information beforehand. Wait for the landlord or property manager’s request if they are seriously considering you as a potential tenant.

5. Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities as Renter in BC – RTA

This is one of the most crucial parts before and after signing your leasing agreement, as well as avoiding scammers. You should at least get a rough idea of your rights and responsibilities as a renter in Vancouver. You can find detailed information below:

6. Watch Out for Scammers

Reported rental scams have increased dramatically in Vancouver over the past few years, be sure to read below to avoid any scams:

Residential Rental Scams:

You believe that the owner or landlord is showing you a property you are interested in renting. Or maybe you live elsewhere and are unable to view a property in person before agreeing to rent it. So you pay a deposit, but when you show up to move in, the property was never available for rent and you are out your deposit.

If the price is too good to be true, or they ask for cash only, a cash security deposit, or money to be wired, that should be a red flag.

Tips

  • Don’t send money to anyone you have not met in person and/or for a property you have not seen in person
  • Ask for identification from anyone showing you the property and write down their licence plate if they arrive by car
  • Search for owner information in the Land Titles office to confirm you are dealing with the owner

https://vpd.ca/crime-prevention-safety/fraud-prevention/

liv.rent also has summarized pretty well on how to protect yourself from rental scams in Canada.

7. Ensure Everything is Correct Upon Move-in

If you didn’t have a chance to view the place in person before move-in, then a move-in inspection is critical to confirm that all the information is correct according to your lease agreement.

Here is a list of items you need to make sure:

  • Furniture and appliances – if they are working correctly and available according to your lease agreement
  • Damages inside the unit – make sure your landlord knows of any existing damages inside the unit so that you won’t need to pay for it
  • Amenities – have access to all amenities according to the lease agreement, such as; parking, gym, locker, etc.
  • Things to be Repaired – make sure all the essential features are functioning, such as; AC, electricity, heating, etc. Otherwise, ask your landlord to schedule repair ASAP

Finally, we hope the above tips can streamline your rental process in Vancouver. Oh, wait, are you a student? You should probably consider GEC Living!

GEC Living is the largest off-campus student accommodation provider in Vancouver, and we have welcomed over 10,000 students from 70+ countries over the past years. Make sure to inquire about GEC availabilities before searching elsewhere!