Finding a place to live in Vancouver

Finding a place to live in Vancouver if you came here for a longer time than just vacation is a really tough mission. The main reason why – there are more people who are looking for rent than people who are offering housing.

Prices are very high. To rent a 2 bedroom apartment costs 1600 – 2800 CAD, depending on a location and conditions.  One bedroom suits and studios costs a little bit less.

It is usual to start renting  on the first day of a month (or sometimes on 15th day of a month). Keep it in mind while planning a trip to Vancouver. If you will come here, for example, June 25 and will not find anything until July 1 – you will probably have to wait until August 1 to move in.

It is usual to organize viewings for different people on the same time. So don’t be surprised if there will be you and 5 or sometimes even 10 strangers in a viewing, trying to get the same apartment.

You like the apartment you just saw and want to rent it? Not so fast. Usually the property manager or an owner will ask you your job, bank account and previous place you had lived references. It is not very difficult if you are local. But it becomes difficult if you are a foreigner: don’t have a bank account here yet, no job and still live in a hotel.  What can you do then?  Here is my advice: before you go to Vancouver, get a reference from your local bank in English. There supposed to be a balance of your bank account. More money there are – better it is. It will not work on every property manager – but at least will on some of them. How to solve a problem if you don’t have a job? Use the white lie: find a friend who lives in a Canada, have a Canadian phone number and warn him about a possibility of the property manager’s call. Match up all the details with him: where do you work, how long do you work there, how much do you earn. Say that you earn at least 3 times more than the rent is (if you are looking for a rent alone). The last thing is reference from the previous landlord. There are two possibilities: tell the landlord, that you just came here and can’t give any references yet. Another one possibility – use the white lie again, just give another person’s you know Canadian phone number, match up all the details and that’s it.

Let’s say everything worked and you are ready to move in. The rent is usually paid at the beginning of the month for the next month. You will also have to pay a deposit, which is usually a half of the month rent.

It is usual to rent places to live without any furniture in Vancouver. So prepare some money for that. If you want to buy new furniture – one of the cheapest places to do that is IKEA in Burnaby. If you are good with second hand furniture – just use Craigslist. It is cheaper. Some people are even giving their furniture on a Craigslist for free, you just need to get there and bring it to your place.

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