When you arrive in Canada, you will need to find a place to live. Finding a place to live is one of the first things you will need to do after you arrive in Canada. You may need to find temporary housing while you look for a more permanent place to live. Temporary housing may be available at an apartment hotel, travel hostel, bed-and-breakfast or student residence in a university or college. There may also be emergency shelters available for short-term accommodation when none of these other options is available.
Generally, you share a bathroom and a kitchen, but for single people or small families, these hostels can be comfortable and economical.
A bed and breakfast, often referred to as a B&B, is usually operated out of a large single-family home. Usually, you have a private bedroom, with or without your own bathroom. In most cases, breakfast is served in the morning. However, you do not have access to kitchen facilities.
Some college and university residences rent rooms (such as dormitory rooms) to non-students. More rooms are available during the summer months, May to August. Look for information about "student services," "conference services," "housing," or "student residence."
Budget or discount motels and hotels - Motels are usually cheaper than hotels in Canada.
Apartment hotels rent furnished suites. They have daily, weekly and monthly rates, and are generally cheaper than hotels.
Some home-owners and tenants of apartments look for people to share their place. You have a private bedroom and share the other living spaces, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
Shelters and hostels are 2 common examples of emergency housing that is short-term accommodation for people who are homeless or in crisis. Usually these facilities restricted to men, women, youth or other groups with specific needs such as victims of abuse. People can get basic necessities such as a place of sleep, shower, do laundry, get clothing, and eat or get money for food. If people need to help or for more information about nearest emergency housing, please call 211.
There are many different ways you can look for an apartment or house to rent in Ontario. Here are some examples:
These are private companies that search for housing for you. There is usually a fee for this service.
maintain lists of rentals. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.
Walk around neighbourhoods that interest you and look for signs that say "For Rent" or "Vacancy" in front of apartment buildings or in house windows. Even if there is no sign, you can ask if any apartments are available or will become available soon. Ask if you can be put on a waiting list.
Look in community centres, laundromats, brocery stores and other local businesses. If you are a student, check the boards at college and university housing services.
The advertisement section of major daily newspapers and weekly community newspapers have list rentals. You can read the newspaper for free at public libraries. Many newspapers let you search their classifieds ads online for free. Find your local community newspaper's website.
Many people find places to rent through personal contacts. Ask your friends, family, co-workers and others if they know of any places that are available.
These guides are free. Look for them in boxes on street corners or in store entrances.
There are many websites that list rentals. Here are some examples and you can use a search engine to find others.
* These listings are for your information only. KCWA does not recommend or endorse any particular listing.
Whether you rent or buy, you can choose from many different types of housing.
Usually includes 1 bedroom or more, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. A bachelor or studio apartment has 1 room for sleeping and eating.
May be in a building or a house.
There are highrises (6-30 stories high with an elevator) or lowrises (fewer than 6 stories high, often with no elevator and called a "walk-up").
Generally, apartments are owned by a landlord and managed by a superintendent who lives in the building.
A type of home ownership where you buy a unit in an apartment building or townhouse complex, but do not own the land. Owners sometimes rent condos to tenants.
Condominium owners join together in a corporation and elect a board of directors to manage the building and the land. Each owner pays his or her own mortgage, taxes, utilities and a monthly fee towards property maintenance.
A house that is divided into 2 or 3 separate apartments, one on top of another. The owner of the house may live in one of the apartments.
May be a detached house, semi-detached house, or a townhouse.
A room in an apartment, house or other type of accommodation that is rented to 1 person. The tenant usually shares the kitchen, bathroom and living room with other tenants.
Furniture is often included. Meals may be included.
A lease is a legal agreement between you and a landlord when you rent housing.
A lease can be in writing or it can be a spoken (verbal) agreement. A lease may also be called a tenancy agreement or a rental contract.
A lease usually states:
How long the lease is (usually 12 months).
How much the rent is.
If the rent will increase and when.
What is included in the rent (for example, utilities, parking).
Anything in your lease that conflicts with the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) is not valid.
The landlord may also ask you to sign an agreement to follow house rules. These rules cannot violate your legal rights as a tenant.
When you sign a lease, you are responsible for paying the rent during the period of the lease. You also have other responsibilities, read "What are my responsibilities as a tenant?" for more information.
At the end of the lease period, you can either renew the lease or rent on a month-to-month basis. Read "When do I have to tell my landlord that I am moving out?" for more information.
Landlords cannot select or refuse tenants based on family status (e.g. children), marital status, age, gender/sexual orientation, place of origin, ethnic origin, religion, status in Canada, or disability. These personal questions that interfere with tenants’ right under the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, landlords have the right to choose a tenant using income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, and guarantees, and similar business practices as prescribed in the Ontario Human Rights Code regulations. Landlords can also ask for the number of people to live with and their name, pets, or smoking. Many of landlords want to check tenants’ credit rating and many people think that a SIN is necessary for this process, but according to a Canadian Credit Bureau, this is not true. A landlord can check tenants’ credit history with tenant’s full name, birth date and current address. This means that giving out tenant’s SIN for credit purpose is optional.
Do not agree to anything that you do not understand or cannot do. If you are having trouble understanding the lease, ask the landlord if you can take it away and bring it back later. That way you can have a friend or community worker help you complete the form.
Before you move out, you have to let your landlord know that you are leaving. This is called "giving notice." You can make an oral agreement but it is a good idea to have a written agreement.
How much time or notice you have to give your landlord depends on your rental agreement:
If you pay rent by the day or week, you must give 28 days notice (for example, if you want to leave on March 1, you have to give notice by February 1).
If you pay rent by the month, you must give 60 days notice.
If your lease is fixed for a period longer than a month, you must give 60 days notice.
When you give notice, you have to let your landlord know what day you want to end your tenancy. This must be the last day of the rental period. For example, if you pay rent by the month, the last day of your tenancy must be the last day of the month.
A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act
This resource is from Landlord and Tenant Board. Published in 2007.
This guide from is a summary of Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The RTA sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants of residential properties.
In this guide, you can find information about:
Maintenance and repairs
When a landlord can enter the rental unit
Ending a tenancy
There are a few ways to submit an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. There are also certain steps you must follow after you submit the application.
If you believe that your rights as a tenant or a landlord were violated, you can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). This body can resolve problems between most residential landlords and tenants.
First you must decide which application is best for your specific problem. See:
If you need help filling out the application, contact a legal clinic or housing help centre for more information.
If there is an application fee, you must pay it when you submit the application.
Submit your application:
By mail, courier or fax to the Landlord and Tenant Board office which deals with your area. Do not mail, courier or fax your application to a Service Ontario Centre.
Online (select applications only)
The LTB will send you a package that includes copies of your application and a Notice of Hearing.
In most cases, you must serve (officially give) a copy of the application and a copy of the Notice of Hearing to your landlord (or tenant), and any other parties who you have included in your application. Keep copies for yourself.
It is very important that you serve these documents by the deadline and in the proper way:
You must submit a Certificate of Service to the LTB within 5 days of serving the documents to confirm that you did this.
At the hearing, a member of the LTB will consider your case and make a decision about what, if any, action should be taken.
For More Information:
Provides information about the RTA and to resolve disputes between most residential landlords and tenants.
Explains the most important sections of the RTA. Available in more than 10 languages.
Topics covered include rent increases, deposits and other charges, repairs and maintenance, privacy, moving out, and eviction.
Information for tenants about their human rights in relation to housing. Explains how to file a human rights complaint.
Find clear language publications on the rights of tenants in rental housing.
Depending on your needs, you may want to get a home phone service, get a cell phone or use public phones.
Bell Canada and Rogers are the 2 major home telephone providers, however many companies provide similar services. Search for telephone providers in the Yellow Pages.
Usually, you pay a standard monthly fee for the line and pay extra for long-distance calls (calls outside of your local area). Most companies have long-distance plans.
You might want to buy a bundle, in which a single company provides many services, such as telephone, television and internet. It can be cheaper to get all of these services from 1 company.
Contact different companies to discuss their plans and rates. Bell and Rogers also have stores where you can talk to a customer service representative in person. You can find numbers and addresses in the Yellow Pages.
Most telephone companies have long-distance plans. Prepaid phone cards can be an inexpensive alternative to a long-distance plan.
Some long-distance numbers are called toll-free numbers. There is no charge if you call one of these numbers. They start with the numbers 1-800, 1-877 or 1-888. Government offices, community agencies and many businesses have toll-free numbers.
1-900 numbers are not toll-free and you are charged by the minute.
In Ontario, there are public and private radio stations and television (TV). Public stations get money from the government, so in many cases, there are no commercials. You may be able to get some public stations for free, depending on where you are located and if you can get a good reception of the signal.
Here are some examples of TV stations in Ontario:
There are many different radio stations across Ontario. Radio stations usually focus on a particular format, such as news, type of music, talk radio, community-based information and more. Some radio stations broadcast over the internet.