Advice to Landlords and students...Renting an apartment to an international student in Canada involves specific considerations for landlords. Keep in mind that regulations and requirements may vary by province or territory, so it's essential to check the local laws. However, here are some general guidelines that landlords in Canada might consider when renting to international students:
Letter of Introducation:
It is nice to reassure prospective landlord if you prepare a letter of introduction for them explaining your goals of coming to Canada and telling them a little about yourselves. It is also a good idea to get letters of reference for people you have rented from in the past or even better to provide letters of refernce from Canadian citizens that your landlord could contact that will give them a quality reference
Proof of Enrollment and Study Permit:
Ask for proof of enrollment from a recognized educational institution in Canada.
Verify that the student has a valid study permit. Students should inquire with their post secondary institution if they can aquire a letter explaining their status as a student and the dates of their program
If a students is renting with a partner or a spouse while studying in Canada do they have a work permit? You landlord will want to know if you have some sort of means to support yourself during you time in Canada. Does your post secondary program allow you to work part-time?
Co-Signer or Guarantor:
Some landlords may require an international student to have a co-signer or guarantor. This person is typically a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who agrees to take responsibility for the lease if the student fails to meet their obligations. Do you have any friends or relatives that live in Canada that can guarentee to a landlord payment should you have financial stuggles? Students should get a letter and contact information for their guarantor
Have the student complete a comprehensive rental application, including personal and financial information, references, and any relevant documentation. Landlords should request financial information from students i.e. bank statements or pay stubs as proof of financial stability for your study term in Canada
Request a security deposit, as permitted by local laws, to cover potential damages or unpaid rent.
Students are often surprised at this request but many landlords will request first and last months rent as a deposit for your accomodation. Though this can be a significant amount for a student, it is proof to the landlord that you are serious about aquiring your accomodation and being a good tenant. For landlords international students are sometimes considered higher risk for defaulting on rentals as compared to local renters.
Communication and Language:
Ensure effective communication, as language differences might exist. Have clear written agreements and be willing to clarify any terms verbally if needed.
Provide a clear and detailed lease agreement outlining all terms and conditions, including rent amount, due dates, rules, and regulations. International students are typically required to sign 5 to 10 month lease agreements. Many of these agreemants require written 30 day notice be given to the landlord if you are planning on moving out. Students should be aware if they break their lease that the landlord may retain a portion or all of your security deposit.
Bank Statements or Financial Guarantees:
Some landlords may request bank statements or a financial guarantee to ensure that the international student has the financial means to pay rent.
Determine the preferred method of rent payment. Some landlords may require post-dated checks or electronic transfers. DO NOT Transfer money without guarenteeing the accomodation is reputable and real!
Understanding Local Laws:
Be aware of local tenancy laws and regulations to ensure compliance and fairness in the leasing process.
Encourage or require tenants to obtain tenant insurance to protect their belongings.
It's essential to approach each situation individually, taking into account the specific circumstances of the international student. Landlords should always adhere to anti-discrimination laws and treat all tenants fairly. Additionally, consulting with legal professionals or local housing authorities can provide more specific guidance based on the location of the rental property.
Be aware of fraud: Rental fraud is very common in Canada especially between international students and people pretending to be landlords. Internatioanal students are sometimes niave and too trusting. They are at a disadvantage of distance so they don't have means of advance viewing of rental accomodations. There have been many students that have arrived in Canada thinking they have secured accomodation only to find out that the accomodation doesn't actually exist and the fraudsters have made off with their security deposit.
Independant Student Support Agents Canada (ISSA-Canada) always advises students to be wary of false promises. Sometimes if a rental accomodation looks too good to be true or the accomodation is unusually cheap often it could be a fraudulent situation. It is always best practice to have have someone inspect their future accomodation to ensure it exists, that the landlord is legitimate, ensure that the accomodation is livable (Meets Provincial Fire Code Etc.) and is what the landlord is promising the prospective renters is real (Sometimes internet pictures are fake) A in country person (Family, friend or Professional) can identify any issues in advance and also gather any documents the landlord might require.
Independant Student Support Agents Canada can provide accomodation screening support for $260.00 CDN. For more information email us at email@example.com or 1-780-718-6414. A little money invested up front can save you a great deal of misery later and it is reassuring to know your accomodation is secure and authentic before you come to Canada!
Duly note is best to give yourself at least 90 days to find and source accomodation prior to your arrival in Canada. Leaving things to the last minute can be very stressful and can also cause students to end up finding temporary accomodations such as hotels and or Airbnb's which can be expensive if you have not given adequet time to source accomodation.