Guest Writer: Joyce Pang
Rated as one of the most livable cities in the world, Vancouver is seen as a destination for those moving to Canada, especially given the beautiful setting between the North Shore mountains and the coastal landscape. Among the backdrop of nature, it is also among Canada’s most densely populated cities, and home to many vibrant and diverse communities from around the world. Vancouver’s housing market is similar to many metropolitan cities around the world, with high rental prices especially around the Greater Vancouver Area. But don’t let that intimidate you!
Here are 7 tips to for first-time renters in Vancouver:
1. Know what you’re looking for
The first step is to outline your search criteria. Do you want an apartment or house? Do you want a furnished or unfurnished home? There are many new apartment listings everyday, knowing exactly what you’re looking for will help you speed up the search process.
2. Research where you want to live
Vancouver has many great areas and the rental market can vary between each neighborhood.For example, apartments in Yaletown tend to be more modern and expensive, but most buildings offer great amenities. On the other hand, Metrotown is a family residential area where you’ll find cheaper low-rise buildings and houses. Know what is important to you and do sufficient research before you decide on a location. Tourism Vancouver has a brief breakdown of Vancouver’s neighborhoods you can check out here.
3. Learn about transit options available near you
Vancouver commute times can be slow especially during the winter, so you should know exactly what options are available to you. Find out if you have easy access to the Skytrain, SeaBus, or certain transit lines. Visit Translink to explore modes of getting around in Vancouver.
4. Be prepared to pay a deposit
Most landlords will you pay a security deposit, usually one month’s rent, to secure the place. If you’ve paid the deposit and decided not to move in, your landlord may be allowed to keep your deposit. Plan ahead to have your finances ready so you can commit on the spot. Arrive’s Monthly Expenses Calculator can help know plan and manage your expense before you move – get started here.
5. Know your rights and responsibilities
As a renter, you should know what is both legal and acceptable to you. Keep in mind that your social insurance number, bank account, or credit card are not legally required when renting a home. Visit the B.C Residential Tenancy Act for more information on what is required of you.
6. Be transparent with your landlord
Communicating with your landlord is key to living comfortably in your home. You should notify your landlord of problems you encounter, Be sure to always confirm what is permitted in your lease if you are unsure, such as bringing extra guests over or making alterations to your rental unit. If you fail to report these issues, you could lose your security deposit, or even be evicted.
One last piece of advice is to be patient! We know rental housing in Vancouver isn’t cheap, so allow yourself time to look around for a suitable place. Remember, there’s something for everyone!