Tips of Finding and living with Roommate in Vancouver, Canada

January 16, 2023   |   10 Min. Read

Vancouver is a popular city in Canada for students due to the presence of prestigious universities such as the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). As a result, the demand for student housing is particularly high during the beginning of the academic semester. To accommodate this demand, there are various housing options available to students, including on-campus and off-campus housing, shared and private market rentals, and homestays. You can dive deep into different options by reading the overview of student housing in Vancouver.

As the cost of living in Vancouver has risen in recent years, finding affordable housing has become increasingly challenging for students. According to the 2023 January rental report from liv.rent, the average unfurnished one-bedroom has raised from $1,827 to $2,257 per month. One way to offset these costs is by sharing a rental with roommates, allowing for the expenses to be split among multiple tenants.

In this blog, we will explores the benefits of shared housing, as well as some tips for finding and living your roommates.

Two roommates are enjoying themselves in their apartment.
Photo source: Wawanesa InsuranceĀ 

What are the Advantages of Living with Roomates?

Not sure if you want to find a roommate and live with you? Here are some benefits to consider when living with roommates:

Split the costs and expenses

One of the biggest perks of living with roommates is dividing your monthly costs and expenses. As we all know, living on you own is expensive, with a number of costs coming just from your living needs. Even you can’t share all the expenses, you can still cut it down a bit by choosing to live with a roommate.

Rent should occupy the largest portion of your income.Based on the January 2023 rate from liv.rent, if you would like to live in a rental apartment in downtown area, unfurnished one bedroom apartment is around $2,488 per month on average. However, if you are looking for a place to share with a roommate, such as two-bedroom apartment, it will be around $3,444 per month. By splitting the rent between two people, it will only need $1722 per person in a month!

Moreover, you can split the utilities and grocery bills with your roommate as well. Grocery stores like Costco offers a bulk amount of products in a cheaper price. You can spilt the bills with your roommates in order to lower your monthly expenses.

Enjoy each other’s company

We understand that starting anew in a city or country can be difficult, and it’s common to feel lonely when away from friends and family. However, having a roommate can provide a friend and companion in your own home.

If your roommate is also new to town, you can go hang out with him/her to check out some new restaurants, fancy stores together. At home, you and your roommate can cook together for dinner or lunch. It will definitely be so much fun!

Divide Household Tasks

When living alone, all cleaning responsibilities fall on you. However, with a roommate, household chores can be shared. For example, you and your roommate can take turns doing dishes, vacuuming, and taking out the trash. This can make keeping the home cleaner and more manageable.

Meet new friends and build a lasting relationship

When you just arrive in a foreign place, you will definitely meet at friend, which is your roommate! It is a good chance to expand your social circle and build a long-term relationship with your roommate.

How Do I Find Roommates In Vancouver?

After reading about the benefits of having roommates, you may be wondering where to start and how to find potential roommates. Don’t worry, we’ve made a list of websites that are specifically designed for finding roommates.

Craigslist

Craigslist, being one of the largest online classified sections, is a popular platform for finding roommates. By searching “roommate wanted” on the website, a list of tenants seeking roommates for their homes or looking to rent a home with a roommate will be displayed.

Roomies

Roomi is a platform that prioritizes safety and security for those looking for roommates. The platform thoroughly screens all listings and users to minimize the risk of scams.

With a user-friendly interface and filters such as student, pet-friendly, and LGBT+ friendly, it makes it easy to find roommates based on your preferences. Creating an account, posting a listing, and searching for roommates on the site is free, but to facilitate communication between users, at least one party must be a paid member, costing $24.90 per month.

Facebook Groups

Another way to search for roommates is to join community groups on Facebook. Here are some Facebook groups that we recommend:

In the group chat, you can get instant reply from the group member by simply posting a “roommate wanted “post with your preference or search for students that who are looking for roommates as well.

Roommate matching from School website

Finding roommates through school websites – Many universities and colleges offer off-campus housing options for students. For example, SFU has a roommate finder feature on Place4students that students can use to find potential roommates.

Regardless of the platform you use, you need to be cautious when searching for roommates. Before committing to a roommate or signing any agreements, make sure to meet them in person and consider bringing a friend for your own safety.

In addition, be aware of scams and never transfer money until you are certain of the person’s authenticity. If it is your first time renting a place, here are some tips to for first-time renter, and you may consider purchasing renters insurance to protect your personal belongings from damages or theft.

Do I Need a Roommate Agreement?

If you are renting a place roommates that you just meet or even your friends, it is always good to have a written roommate agreement at the first few weeks when or before moved in.

What’s included in the roommate agreement?

Creating a written agreement with roommates is important because it helps to set clear expectations and avoid misunderstandings. It can cover a wide range of topics, including rent and utility payments, cleaning and maintenance responsibilities, guest and overnight visitor policies, and quiet hours. It can also include information about how disputes will be resolved.

When creating a roommate agreement, it is crucial to make it as specific as possible and to include all relevant details. For example, if rent is due on the first of the month, the agreement should specify the exact date and time by which rent must be paid. If guests are allowed, the agreement should specify how many guests are allowed, for how long they can stay, and any other restrictions that apply.

It’s also important to make sure that everyone signs the agreement. All parties should have a copy of the agreement, and it should be dated.

How to reinforce the roommate agreement?

In terms of enforcing the agreement, it is best to make sure that everyone signs the agreement. All parties should have a copy of the agreement, and it should be dated.

If a roommate is not living up to their end of the agreement, you need to address the issues as soon as they come up. The first thing you should do is to communicate with them about it. If the issue cannot be resolved through direct communication, the agreement should include information about how disputes will be resolved. It’s could include mediation or a process for bringing the issue to a third party, such as a landlord or housing authority.

Finally, the key to make a successful roommate agreement is having a clear communication and a willingness to work together to maintain a positive living environment.

How Should I communicate with my roommates?

Having an effective communication is the main method to maintaining a positive and healthy living environment with your roommates. Here are some tips for you to address conflicts:

  • Establish clear boundaries and expectations: as mentioned above, you need to set some mutual rules to avoid confusion or misunderstandings later on.
  • Be respectful and direct: When you are addressing conflicts or sensitive issues, please be honest and direct, but also be respectful of your roommates feelings.
  • Choose the right time and place: Select a convenient time and place to discuss issues, some are best had in private while others in common areas.
  • Communicate regularly: Schedule regular check-ins with your roommates to address any concerns or issues that may have arisen. This will help prevent small problems from becoming bigger issues.
  • Active listening and allow them to explain: Listen to your roommates’ perspectives and try to understand where they are coming from. Give them an opportunity to explain their side of the situation. Avoid interrupting and show that you are actively listening by summarizing what they have said.
  • Seek for compromise: most conflicts arise from unmet expectations, and the best solution is to reach a comprise. Both you and your roommates should be willing to make concessions in order to find a solution that works for everyone.

How to maintain a clean and organized living space with your roommates?

Because different people may have different standards and habits when it comes to cleaning and organization. You need to talk with them clearly about the shared responsibilities in order to maintain a comfortable living space.

  • Create a cleaning schedule: To prevent confusion and ensure everyone knows their cleaning responsibilities, establish specific days and times for cleaning common areas, such as the kitchen and living room.
  • Make a list for shared items: Designate specific storage spaces for shared items, such as dishes and kitchen utensils, to ensure that they are easy to find and use.
  • Rotate tasks: Assign tasks and take turns doing them. Especially for those cleaning tasks, you and your roommates can take turns doing it, maybe you can do the vacuuming this week and do mopping another week.
  • Use labels and signs: identify where certain items should be stored by using labels and signs, making it easy to know where to put things back.
  • Clean as you leave: Cleaning up shared spaces as soon as they are used, rather than waiting for a designated cleaning time, can help to maintain a clean and organized living space for everyone.

How To Manage Finances With Roommates

It is Important to manage finances with roommates, as it can help prevent unnecessary conflicts and ensure that all parties are aware of their financial obligations.

Here are some tips that may help you to sidestep this challenges:

  • Create a shared budget: Outlines each person’s monthly expenses and how they will be divided. This budget should include rent, utilities, groceries, and other shared expenses. You can also use some free apps like SplitwiseĀ orĀ Mint to divide the expenses, transfer money and track spending.
  • Communicate openly and honestly: Be open and honest about your expenses and financial obligations, and be willing to listen to the perspectives of other roommates. Sometimes your roommates may have different expectations of the expenses, talk to them!
  • Have a clear written agreement: Having a clear written agreement outlining each person’s financial responsibilities and how disputes will be resolved can help prevent confusion and misunderstandings. If the disputes could not be solved or compromised, don’t hesitate to seek outside help from a mediator or housing counselor.

What Should You Do Before Moving out?

If you are planning to move out from your rental apartment, notifying your roommates that you are moving out can be a difficult task, but it’s important to handle it in a respectful and considerate manner. Here are some advices for you before moving out:

Select an appropriate time and location for discussions

it is important to choose the right time and place to have the conversation with your roommates about your decision to move out. Having the conversation in person will allow for a more open and honest discussion, and will give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns they may have.

Don’t forget to give yourself and your roommates enough time to talk things through and address any issues that may come up. Having the conversation well in advance of your move-out date will give your roommates enough time to find a replacement roommate and make arrangements for the transition.

Giving adequate notice to your roommate and landlord is also important. A minimum of 30 days notice is the norm, but if the agreement requires more notice you should follow that. It will help ensure that the move-out process is as smooth as possible, and will give your roommates and landlord enough time to plan for the transition.

Assist Your Roommate with the Transition

When moving out, it is considerate to assist your roommate in finding a replacement. This can help ease any financial burden caused by the move, especially if you are both on a lease. It is critial to communicate with your landlord and discuss any options available.

During the moving process, it is important to ask your roommate if they would like to keep any shared items. You may need to spilt the shared items fairly, and avoid leaving behind any unwanted items or unresolved issues for your roommate to deal with.

Lastly, enjoy the experience! Living with a roommate can be a great opportunity to save money and meet new people. It is crucial to approach the situation with a positive attitude and enjoy the process of finding a new roommate. If you have just moved to Vancouver, and I am sure you have a lot to catch up! We have prepared another blog for you to get to more about the cost of living in Vancouver.Happy searching for your new roommate!