Once you arrive in Canada, you will need accommodation, or short-term housing as it is referred to, until you are ready to rent and eventually buy a home. It makes sense to plan for short-term housing before you arrive in Canada. If you can stay with family or friends when you arrive, that would be helpful and less expensive. However, that’s not always an option for many people. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of other short-term housing options to consider.
Finding short-term housing:
Finding short-term housing when you arrive in Canada is important for two reasons:
- To reduce your stress, it’s best if you arrange short-term living plans several weeks in advance before leaving for Canada. This will ensure that you have suitable housing that is affordable, safe, and convenient when you arrive in Canada.
- By finding temporary housing, you can take the necessary time to find a more permanent housing solution that best meets your needs. It will also allow you to test out a neighbourhood, or even a city, before you make a commitment to rent or purchase a house. Remember, if renting month to month without a contract, costs can be higher.
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What are some short-term housing options?
While you search for your ideal neighbourhood or city, some examples of short-term living options that you may want to consider include:
Airbnb: connects homeowners who rent their homes to those looking for short-term accommodation. Usually it is less expensive than hotels and you can easily book online and view pictures of the property. Be sure to find out about any added fees.
- Cost: $$$ to $$$$ depending on location and facility.
- Website: www.airbnb.ca
- Tip: You could also look for sites that offer vacation rentals from a week up to a month.
Discount Motels and Hotels: Some extended stay rooms have small kitchens that can be a wise choice and can help you to save money. Cooking your own meals instead of spending money at restaurants can help you to manage your budget. Some motels may have laundry facilities available, and many have fitness rooms, barbecues, and pools. Motels are generally less expensive than hotels in Canada.
- Cost: $$
- Tip: Google Motels in your landing city
Hostels: this option can be comfortable and economical for single people or a small family. At a hostel, you will share a kitchen and bathroom.
- Tip: Google Hostels in your landing city
Tips for searching for short-term housing:
- Search the internet for hotels and hostels in the area you intend to settle. Most hotels and hostels have websites with all the information you need about cost, ratings, location, and amenities.
- Search the internet for the name of the city or town where you intend to settle and check out the tourism section for hotels and hostels.
- Contact an immigrant organization in the area you intend to settle about housing assistance that is available for newcomers.
- Book short-term accommodation before you arrive in Canada but, if you haven’t, go to the information desk at the airport for information about accommodation. If you arrive at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, you can visit the New Immigrant Information Kiosk. You can obtain helpful information about government programs across Canada that are available to all new immigrants.
What to think about when looking for long-term/permanent housing
Long-term or permanent housing is defined as housing that is for a minimum yearly contract and then goes month to month.
How much can you afford?
Think about how much you much you can afford. As a general rule, housing should be about 30% of your before-tax monthly income. Remember to budget for other housing costs. When looking at monthly expenses, you’ll want to budget carefully. A budget allows you to manage your money, plan your monthly expenses, and help you to live within your financial means.
You can expect to budget for additional housing costs such as:
- cable TV
- other additional fees
Rental Listing Websites:
- Check the Craigslist site of the city you plan to live in.
- Check the classified ads in local newspapers (many newspapers let you search classified ads online for free).
What’s in the neighbourhood?
While you adapt to your new country, you will want to be close to services and businesses, especially if you don’t have a driver’s license. Things to consider include the location or distance to:
- Shopping and markets
- Child friendly neighbourhoods (for example, a neighbourhood that is close to where children need and want to go such as schools, parks and playgrounds)
- Place of worship
- Settlement agencies
Proximity to public transportation
When you first arrive, you may have to rely on public transportation that is close and convenient for shopping or other appointments. So, consider how close you are to a good transportation system.
By planning your short-term housing requirements before you arrive in Canada, you’ll be in a great position to find housing that is affordable, safe, convenient, and just right for you!