For newcomers and international students arriving in Canada, the real housing journey begins with finding long-term rental accommodation.
Though immigrants may start off with a short-term rental, the hard work begins with finding that first rental.
Of course, doing the research before arriving in Canada is essential. And webinars, like this one from Prepare for Canada, can help get you ready to compete in Canada’s tight, low-vacancy rental markets.
How to find rental accommodation in Canada for newcomers
But for real help and direction, many newcomers increasingly turn to Rentals for Newcomers.
Why has this site become so popular with newcomers and international students seeking their first rental home in Canada?
The mission of Rentals for Newcomers is to help newcomers avoid headaches, heartaches, and expenses (both in time and money) in their rental search by promoting the landlords who value newcomers.
Registration is free
For immigrants arriving in Canada’s competitive rental market, sites like Rentals for Newcomers are invaluable.
An early 2023 National Rent Report from Rentals.ca showed that asking rents in Canada increased 9.7 percent year-over-year to an average of $1,984 in February.
Rents in Canada continue to rise
Steady rent increases are predicted throughout 2023, primarily due to the influx of newcomers (and aspiring homeowners being unable to enter the homeownership market, despite falling prices and sales).
The competition for rental units is expected to tighten as more newcomers and international students arrive.
Canada’s ambitious immigration targets are definitely fuelling rental demand and competition for available rental accommodation.
More immigrants arriving each year
Canada plans to welcome 465,000 new immigrants this year after admitting a record-breaking 431,000 newcomers in 2022, mainly from India, the Philippines and China.
The country hopes to land 485,000 newcomers in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. Canada has also welcomed a record number of international students, with those numbers continuing to rise.
Rental demand is unprecedented
“We are having unprecedented levels of demand that are met by very little vacancy,” says Jesse Greenwell, Head of Communications Culture and Inclusivity at Mainstreet Equity Corp., Canada’s leading real estate corporation on the TSX specializing in mid-market apartment buildings in Western Canada.
“Everything is so outpaced by the demand,” he said.
Newcomers urged to do research
What this means is that if you are a newcomer to Canada looking to rent, you need to do research BEFORE and AFTER arriving.
Canadian landlords won’t rent to you before you land, but knowing the rental landscape can help you more quickly find that first home.
And Rentals for Newcomers is a great place to research and find that rental.
Rentals for Newcomers information
In addition to hosting scores of rental listings from across Canada, Rentals for Newcomers also hosts invaluable information about:
- The best neighbourhoods for renting/living in Canada’s most popular cities.
- The current, up-to-date rental prices in ALL of Canada’s major rental markets (for example, a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto rents for $2,501, while a one-bedroom in Saskatoon costs $1,063 monthly. That’s a difference of $1,438).
- A comprehensive renter’s guide.
- News stories on the latest trends in renting (and Canada’s dynamic housing market).
- Links to the Monthly Housing Newsletter for Newcomers and International Students.
- Tips from experts on how to deal with and impress Canadian landlords; how to avoid rental scams; how to rent without a credit history; how to save for a down payment to buy a home while renting, etc.
- Why you need it, and how to get tenant insurance.
- Expert advice on how finding accommodation and choosing a city to work in go hand-in-hand.
- Tips and expert advice for international students about finding a rental (and when to start looking).
- Advice on navigating Canada’s housing market from well-known Canadians such as Bob Dhillon, the founder of Mainstreet Equity Corp., and Farah Omran, Housing Economist for Scotiabank.
- And so much more.
Newcomers are urged to be prepared
“Vacancy rates in most cities across Canada are now hovering around 2 percent,” said Frattini, “meaning landlords have all the power in choosing the tenant they want. For newcomers, this means searching for accommodation in Canada is more difficult than ever.”
Frattini advises newcomers to prepare themselves by:
- Understanding the type of accommodation that they’re looking for.
- Understanding the reality of what rental prices genuinely are in the city where they plan to settle.
- Having all their documents as they’re meeting potential landlords.
- Understanding that selling yourself as a potential tenant will be critically important.
Frattini emphasizes that when newcomers they arrive for their meeting with the landlord, “they better be prepared. Landlords have the pick of the crop.”
Registration is free and important
Again, registering for Rentals for Newcomers is important. Registering will allow you to interact with the various landlords behind the postings.
“Rentals For Newcomers is a great example of a partner agency,” said Mainstreet’s Greenwell, which can help prepare newcomers and international students for Canada’s rental market.
Rental scammers target newcomers
Rentals for Newcomers also works diligently to ensure that scam listings are not on its site to protect newcomers and international students.
Sites like Craigslist and Kijiji are notoriously vulnerable to rental scam artists targeting newcomers and students.
The RFN site is part of the Rentsync rental technology software network, which includes a landlord verification process.
Rental listings are verified
“Importantly, our listings are well managed,” said Frattini. “It’s both technologically and manually driven. Rentsync personnel know who the (landlords) are that are listing on Rentals for Newcomers.”
Frattini added that “We’re working diligently to educate our audience on scam alerts. Through Rentals for Newcomers’ blog posts, we’re constantly updating our audience about scams in the rental category.”
Newcomers can find RFN online at Rentals for Newcomers.
If you’re active on social media, you can also follow RFN on Twitter (@rentalsfornewc), Facebook (Rentals for Newcomers) and Instagram (rentalsfornewcomers) and LinkedIn (Rentals For Newcomers).
*No Chat GPT was used in the writing of this story, and all sources are cited and credited where possible