But, getting there is fine and having employment is vital but so is having a place to hang your proverbial hat.
When you first land in Canada you will probably want to rent accommodation until you are sure of the suburb you would like to commit to by buying property there. Renting gives you the opportunity to learn as much as you can about the country, city and suburbs before spending your dearly earned capital on property which may not increase in value or is far from your wife’s new job.
Like South Africa, Canada offers a number of styles of accommodation available to rent. Picking the one that suites your requirements is up to you, but here are a few things to consider.
Types of housing
Rental apartments: most apartments have one, two or three bedrooms. “Bachelor” units have a single room that serves as a living area and bedroom.
Rental rooms: large homes are sometimes divided into several private bedrooms that you can rent.
Houses: there are detached houses with surrounding properties, as well as semi-detached and townhouses where each house shares a wall with another.
So what are tenants and landlords responsible for?
One of the first questions many newcomers have is “What are my rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and what is my landlord responsible for?”
Your landlord is the person who owns the house or building you live in. For larger buildings, the landlord may also hire a property manager or superintendent to collect rent and manage the building.
Landlord and tenant responsibilities can be different in different provinces/territories. In general, your landlord is responsible for:
• Collecting the rent
• Keeping your building safe and in a good state of repair
• Providing everything that comes with the apartment and
• that is included in your rent (such as the refrigerator, stove, heating system); and
• Handling and paying for repairs when something in your home breaks.
Tenants are responsible for:
• Paying your rent in full and on time
• Keeping your home clean and well maintained
• Contacting the landlord whenever anything needs to be serviced or repaired; and
• Allowing the landlord or manager to enter your home to carry out repairs, or to show the apartment to other tenants if you are moving out. Your landlord must provide you with proper notice before entering your apartment.
Finding A Place To Rent
Before you start looking for a place to rent, you need to decide where you want to live, how many rooms you will need and how much you can afford to pay.
Try to be as flexible as possible, especially when choosing your first home. Also, be prepared to adapt to Canadian standards. For example, rental properties with more than 3 bedrooms are hard to find, so finding a home with three or more bedrooms can be difficult. You may have to accept a smaller place or a less central location until you can find what you really want.
You may hear the term "subsidized" housing. It means that the government or a non-profit organization pays a part of the rent for a house or apartment based on certain rules, including the level of income of a person or family. The demand for subsidized housing is very high and the waiting period can be up to five years.
Where and how to find what you are looking for
After cost, location is often the most important thing to think about when looking for a place to live. Neighbourhoods that are close to work, schools, public transit and other services might cost more, but they can also save you time and money in commuting to work or school.
Once you have chosen the areas where you would like to live, there are many places you can look to find houses or apartments that are available to rent. These include:
• The classifieds section of your local newspaper (also known as “want ads”)
• free community or ethnic newspapers
• bulletin boards in grocery stores, libraries, laundromats, health clinics, thrift stores, community centres, service clubs
• real estate offices
• lists of houses or apartments for rent at the public library or at university or college campus housing offices
• Websites of local newspapers or special websites that list houses or apartments for rent
• friends, relatives or coworkers who are familiar with the area to give you their recommendations.
You can also simply visit neighbourhoods where you’d like to live and look for “For Rent” signs on houses or buildings. If you really like a particular building, ask the superintendent if there are any apartments available to rent now or in the near future.