If you do not know the top tips for renting in Vancouver as a first timer, it might get a little tricky to find an apartment. We have outlined valuable information to help you: Determining your rental budget, basic living expenses, and choosing a neighborhood near transit lines to cut down on extra expenses. Read our detailed guide to find the right apartment for you!
If you are new to Vancouver and rental search in general, welcome to the world of scam listings! You will find a lot of them on popular websites. Please remember that fake listings are very common across Canada, and you could fall victim to a scam.
On these sites, you can usually contact the landlord directly via phone or email. However, if the listers (people you contact) ask you for a large amount of deposit and identification information (your ID or passport), without meeting in person, there is a problem. You should never share personal information or transfer money without seeing the prospective apartment. Indeed, if you encounter such questions and requests, never respond to those emails, and know that you are talking to a scammer!
Once you find an apartment, email the landlord and see the apartment in person. The next step after seeing the apartment is to fill out a rental application. Please note that sometimes landlords can ask you to fill out an application before your in-person visit; however, they will never ask you to bring them cash or send a direct deposit before you sign an actual contract.
Step 1. Schedule a viewing and see the apartment
Step 2. Fill out a Rental Application
Step 3. Sign a contract/lease and pay your deposit
A Rental Application will look like this (see above), and it will often ask you the following: Name, age, occupation, salary, address, previous tenancy information, and references.
The Government of BC has a strong tenancy policy on protecting renters in Vancouver, detailed information can be found at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies
Your rent will be your biggest expense and it will determine how much you can or cannot spend for your other living expenses.
Now that you answered the above questions, you should have a better idea of your income. If the money coming to you is enough for your dream private apartment with a gym, patio, and 24/7 security, go ahead and book that apartment. As a student however this may not be realistic for most, so you may need to consider other factors.
With the high cost of rent in Vancouver, single college student approximately spends $400-500 on groceries, $100 for eating out and occasional caffeine intake (although, this depends on how much you like to cook!) and another $100 for clothing spending, or an event ticket that is happening that month—Overall, you end up spending $600 -$700 a month for your basic needs. Now, subtract that from your monthly income (job, scholarship, savings) and this is what you should be spending for your utilities, rent, and possible transportation costs in total.
Now that we know your budget, let’s figure out what type of apartment you should consider within the limits of that budget!
The decision depends on your personality and your budget!
Utilities can be charged in two ways: Flat rate or metered rate.
Flat Rate Utilities: This means you pay the same amount of money whether you consume a lot of or little water, electricity, and other expenses. The rate cannot change. If possible, find an apartment that includes utilities within the monthly rent. GEC Living already offers an all-inclusive rate so you do not have to worry about separate billing and extra expenses.
Metered Utilities: Metered water and sewer rates are measured in units. This means during wet months (mid-October to April), you are charged a lower water rate because of water availability. In dry months, the water costs 25% more because there is less water and it costs more to supply.
Gas, electricity, water, and wi-fi become big expenses when you add them up. Here is how we broke it down for you:
While selecting housing, consider locations close to your school, place of work, or other spots you will visit often. The best tip we can give you for renting in Vancouver is for you to consider housing near transportation lines for an easier commute and cut down on the transit costs.
Vancouver Sky Train and buses cover 4 different zones in Vancouver. When you travel through more than 1 zone, your transportation expenses increase relatively. If you must pay over $100 for transportation to stay at an apartment, it may not be the wisest idea to do so. You may be better off putting in $100 towards your rent and taking a shorter bus ride or biking to work.
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Remember, before you move into your new apartment, you will be asked to provide a Damage Deposit. This means that if you decide to move out for any reason, the landlord will be checking the apartment for damages. And, the landlord has the right to keep your deposit if there are any major damages that need fixing.
While your landlord may not fix every single issue, make sure you take photos of the damages so you have proof in hand for the condition of the apartment. When/if you decide to move out, this will come in handy as you will be able to get your damage deposit back.
Renting your own private or shared apartment comes with unexpected expenses and requires time to organize utility payments and budgeting. While it is relatively easy to do so, as a newcomer to Vancouver it may be a better idea to rent an apartment from an all-inclusive residence like GEC. Living at GEC Residences can decrease your cost of living in Vancouver significantly. You can read below to find a detailed breakdown of all-inclusive features of GEC Living.