OCAD's Top Housing Tips

By OCAD University Modified on May 10, 2024
Tags : Community

Unsure where to start? Here are some things to keep in mind when looking into housing!

 OCAD's Top Housing Tips

Looking for housing as a student is a key part of your university experience, but it can seem overwhelming when you don't know where to start. At OCAD, we want to help minimize the stress for you, so we're sharing some tips on the four phases of apartment hunting that could help find the right accommodation for you.

When to start looking

This is the big question: when do you start looking for student housing? How soon is too soon? At what point is it getting too late? A common time for students to move is typically in August / September, just before the school year begins. So, as you begin your search, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you're looking to rent a house or apartment or share accommodation with other students, you should likely start your search safely in late June/early July
  • Landlords normally advertise accommodation four to six weeks prior to the intended move-in date
  • Tenants are required to give 60 days for notice of move-out
  • If you're looking for residence-style accommodation, please note that some of them may offer a waiting list up to a year in advance, which will limit immediate availability

How to start your search

So, the time has come for you to find a place to live for the school year. But, how do you even prepare to start your housing search? Consider these factors:

  • Determine your price range
  • Decide where you want to live
  • Map it out. Consider transportation, shopping, and other nearby amenities
  • Decide how you want to live (shared, residence-style experience, room and board)
  • Set aside two or three days to come to the city to look
  • NEVER rent a space without seeing it first

What to do next

Now that you've got a better idea of what you're looking for in a student house, what comes next?

  • Make appointments with landlords to view the space
  • Make a list of questions to ask (about rent, services, amenities), either on the phone or in-person
    • When is rent due? What appliances or furniture are included? What is the laundry situation? Is parking included?
  • If the space meets your needs, submit rental / lease application and first and last month's rent. In Ontario, you cannot be asked for a security deposit, only a deposit towards your final month's rent
  • Upon renting a space, don't be afraid to ask for receipts for rent/utility payments

Shared accommodations

Sharing accommodations can make your costs more affordable, offers security, and can lead to opportunities for socializing and making new friends. If you don't know anyone, or don't have a roommate in mind, some sites (like Places4Students.com) offer free matching services. The housing office at your school of choice may be able to help you, too.

Things to keep in mind:

  • What are the house rules?
  • Who will take care of collecting money from all roommates for rent, bills, utilities, phone, cable?
  • Communicate / ask about living arrangements and expectations
  • How do your roommates / landlord view additional roommates, overnight guests, smoking, food, sharing internet?
  • Whose name(s) is / are on the lease?

With these tips in mind, you'll be well prepared for your housing search. Remember to trust your gut and ask all your questions. Good luck finding your next home!

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