The Newcomer's Guide to Renting a House in Canada

Renting a house in Canada is often the first step towards establishing roots and feeling at home once you settle here. The country has various housing options to suit every newcomer to Canada's lifestyle and budget. Whether you're an international student, professional, or family, we’ve put together a guide to help you decide and find the perfect rental in Canada for your needs.

Renting in Canada

Renting in Canada

Renting in Canada offers a convenient housing option for individuals and families, providing access to a wide range of rental properties nationwide. It involves understanding each province or territory's local laws and regulations that describe the relationship, rights, and responsibilities between tenants and landlords. Here's a breakdown of what is expected of tenants and landlords in Canada.

Tenants and Landlords

Your "landlord" is the person who owns the house or building you live in Canada. Landlords with large rental properties hire a superintendent or property manager to manage the building and collect the rent. The responsibilities of landlords and tenants are outlined in each province or territory, and different renting laws are in place.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets tell you how to rent, explain the laws for each province and territory, and give you contact information for provincial and territorial rental authorities. Generally, your landlord collects your rent, keeps your building in good condition and safe, and provides a stove, heating, refrigerator, and everything else included in your rent.

As a tenant, you are responsible for:

  • Paying your full rent on time,
  • Keeping your home clean and maintained,
  • Contacting the landlord when something must be fixed,
  • Allowing your landlord to enter your home to perform repairs and advertise the apartment to others.

If you need help with your landlord, contact your provincial or territorial rental authority.

Renters Bill of Rights

To further secure your rights as a tenant in Canada, the Canadian government is considering the introduction of a Canadian Renter's Bill of Rights in the Budget 2024 proceedings. If passed, the new Canadian Renter's Bill of Rights will require landlords to disclose a clear history of their apartment pricing.

This will enable you, as a newcomer to Canada, to:

  • Better understand what you should pay for when renting a house in Canada.
  • Create a national standard lease agreement
  • Improve your credit by always paying your rent on time through a change made to the Canadian Mortgage Charter, and
  • Protect you from "renovictions," which are evictions caused by a landlord claiming that they're renovating their rental property for a family member but renting it to someone else.

How Can I Rent a House in Canada

how can I rent a house in canada

Renting a property can offer more space and privacy than apartments, making it an attractive option for many newcomers. Here's a guide to the renting process in Canada, from preparation to settling into your new place:

Step 1: Preparation

Before diving into the search, take some time to get organized and understand the Canadian rental market.

Research & Budget

There are many ways to find houses or apartments to rent. You can:

  • Ask your friends,
  • Check the classified ads in newspapers, community centers, and bulletin boards in shops,
  • Look at online classified ads,
  • Visit rental agency websites,
  • Get help from an immigrant-serving organization such as the Association for New Canadians (ANC),
  • Get assistance to find a home from a rental agency,
  • Stay on the lookout for "For Rent" signs on houses or buildings while visiting neighborhoods you'd like to settle in.

Learn more with the newcomer's guide to accommodation in Canada.

Gather Your Documents

Landlords often require documents for verification during the application process. These might include:

  • Proof of income (pay stubs, bank statements)
  • Employment letters,
  • Credit checks,and
  • References from previous landlords.

You can get assistance from an immigrant settlement services organization as a newcomer in Canada if you need a job, references, or credit history in Canada.

Financial Preparation

Be ready for upfront costs associated with renting a house. In addition to the first month's rent, you might be expected to pay the last month's rent (deposit) and a security deposit. A security deposit usually equals one month's rent and is refunded to you when you move out - provided there's no damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

Building Credit History

While not always required, having a good credit score can be beneficial. As a newcomer to Canada, consider applying for a credit card to increase your credit score. Using a credit card responsibly shows your financial responsibility to potential Canadian landlords.

Learn more about how to get your documents ready as a newcomer to Canada.

Step 2: Viewing Properties & Applying

With your preparation complete, it's time to explore your options for finding a house.

Schedule Viewings

Contact the landlord or property manager to schedule viewings for the houses that interest you. Be professional and respectful while communicating with your potential landlord. Also, be prepared to answer basic questions about yourself and your move-in date.

Prepare for Viewings

Come to the viewing prepared with questions about the property and the tenancy. This might include questions about utilities, pet policies (if applicable), and maintenance procedures. Take notes and photos during the viewing to help you compare different houses later.

Application Process

You'll likely need to submit a rental application form if you find a house you like. The application form might require additional information like your employment details and references. If you need Canadian rental references, explain your situation and offer references from abroad.

Step 3: Signing the Lease & Moving In

After your application is approved, it's time to finalize the details.

Understanding the Lease

Carefully read and understand the lease agreement before signing it. A lease agreement tells you about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, including the rent amount, lease term (typically one year), the terms for ending the lease term, and ways to maintain the house.

Know Your Rights

Familiarize yourself with your province's Renters' Bill of Rights. According to the Canadian government, these bills outline tenant protections and procedures for resolving disputes with landlords.

Learn more about the rights and responsibilities of immigrants in Canada.

Finalize Details

Once you've reviewed the lease and have any questions answered, sign the agreement and pay any required deposits. Schedule a move-in date with the landlord and confirm details like utility transfer procedures.

Step 4: Settling Into Your House

You've found your perfect house and signed the lease. Now it's time to make it feel like home.


Confirm which utilities are included in your rent (typically water and garbage collection) and set up accounts for the rest (electricity, heat, internet). Get in touch with your utility providers well in advance to ensure a smooth transition on your move-in date.

Tenant Insurance

Consider purchasing tenant insurance to protect your belongings from unforeseen events like fire, theft, or water damage. While not required, tenant insurance can provide valuable peace of mind.


Plan your move well in advance. Decide whether you'll hire professional movers or handle the move yourself. Book a moving truck and gather the necessary packing supplies if you're doing it yourself.

What Are the House Rental Costs in Canada's Provinces and Territories?

what are the rental house cost in canada's provinces

Renting a house in Canada is one of the most accessible accommodation options for newcomers in Canada who are still establishing themselves in the country. Below is a breakdown of renting a one and three-bedroom house in the central city of each Canadian province or territory. Figures obtained from Numbeo.

Canadian Provinces or Territories Rent Per Month for a Single Bedroom Home (CAD) Rent Per Month for a Three Bedroom Home (CAD)
Vancouver, British Columbia 2,792.20 5,099.12
Toronto, Ontario 2,512.16 4,425.00
Iqaluit, Nova Scotia 2,302.89 4,200.00
Whitehorse, Yukon 2,000.00 3,250.00
Halifax, Nova Scotia 1,971.80 3,204.55
Calgary, Manitoba 1,937.88 2,949.68
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories 2,100.00 2,866.67
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 1,700.00 2,625.00
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 1,487.50 2,400.00
Winnipeg, Manitoba 1,289.21 2,063.64
Moncton, New Brunswick 1,342.86 2,053.12
Quebec City, Quebec 1,324.69 1,968.08
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador 1,301.25 1,766.67

How to Become a Newcomer in Canada

While securing Canadian permanent residency is the ultimate goal for many newcomers, it's a process that takes time. In the meantime, many newcomers choose to rent a house in Canada under temporary residency programs. Here's a breakdown of both immigration pathways to becoming a newcomer in Canada.

Permanent Residency Programs

Permanent Residency (PR) allows you to live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely. Here are some common permanent pathways to Canada.

Express Entry System

The Express Entry System is points-based and assesses factors like work experience, education, language skills, and age. Those with high scores receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada. If your application is successful, you can permanently settle and rent a house in Canada.

To begin your immigration journey, learn how to create an Express Entry Profile.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

All Canadian provinces have Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) with specific requirements aligned with their labor market needs. PNPs can offer a faster route to PR compared to Express Entry.

Learn about the five PNPs that don't require a job offer.

Family Sponsorship

If you have a close family member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, they may be able to sponsor your permanent residency immigration to Canada using the family sponsorship program.

Learn the five steps to apply for a Canada family sponsorship.

Temporary Residency Programs

Several temporary residency programs allow you to rent a house in Canada while your permanent residency application is being processed or if you don't currently qualify for PR. Here are some common options you can use.

Canadian Work Permits

If you have a job offer in Canada, your employer can assist you in obtaining a Canadian work permit that allows you to work and rent a house in Canada for a specific period by applying for and receiving a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA allows you to rent a house and work in Canada via a Temporary Foreign Work Permit. However, if you're eligible, you can apply for a work permit via the International Mobility Program (IMP), enabling your employer to hire you without needing an LMIA.

Study Permits

If you're enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, you can apply for a Canadian study permit to live and rent a house in Canada while studying. Should you wish to extend your studies while renting a house in Canada, you can apply for a study permit extension.

Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa, also known as the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, is a bilateral youth mobility agreement between Canada and approximately 35 countries, allowing international youth between 18 and 30 years (35 in some countries) to live, work, and travel in Canada for 12 to 24 months. You can rent a house during your working holiday stay in Canada.

Learn how to prepare for your working holiday in Canada.


How do I Handle Maintenance And Repairs in a Rented House in Canada?

To handle maintenance and repairs in a rented house in Canada, get familiar with the terms of your lease agreement, which tells you the responsibilities of both tenants and landlords regarding maintenance tasks.

What Resources and Support Are Available for Newcomers Renting a House in Canada?

Newcomers renting a house in Canada can access various resources and support services to facilitate their transition, including government programs and settlement services offered by federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

What Steps Should I Take to Ensure a Smooth Transition When Moving Into a Rented House in Canada?

To ensure a smooth transition when moving into a rented house in Canada, thoroughly inspect the house when you arrive and document any existing damages or issues. Have clear and open communication with your landlord or property manager about any concerns you might have about your rental house.