Finding a place to live is a top priority when starting your academic journey in Canada, and we understand the search for a home away from home can be intimidating or confusing. Fortunately, at Durham College and in Durham Region, there is a wide range of housing options available to suit every budget and lifestyle. By using the resources and advice below you will have a detailed guide on finding your future home in Canada!
Note: when first arriving to Canada, the International Education office can assist you with finding temporary accommodations of up to two nights when you register through Arrival Services.
TYPES OF HOUSING
Durham College residences are located on the Oshawa and Whitby campuses, and are open to all students.
All rooms include:
· Internet access;
· Cable TV;
· On-site laundry;
· Bi-weekly housekeeping services;
· Twenty-four-hour security;
· Common lounges and games rooms; and
· Evening events for you and your new friends.
These residences are run by private companies, are available only to students and are located near the Oshawa campus.
Eighteen05 – Located on Simcoe Street, just a short walk from the Oshawa campus. These are un-furnished or furnished units, with laundry located on every floor, and group or quiet study spaces. (Requires 12-month lease.)
Foundry – Directly across the street from the Oshawa campus. There are three-bedroom and five-bedroom suites available. Each room has its own bathroom. Kitchen and living space is shared. Bi-monthly cleaning service. Utilities are extra – automatically split between tenants and bill sent directly by Varsity. Apply online or visit a model unit at their showroom. (Requires a lease.)
Village Suites Student Apartments – Five-minute walk from the Oshawa campus on Simcoe Street. There are two- to five-bedroom apartments available (Requires a 12-month lease). These are furnished or unfurnished units that include:
· Group and private study spaces;
· Yoga room;
· Theatre room; and
· Recreation room with billiards, foosball and ping pong.
Homestay places students in Canadian homes with families. There are a variety of options for types of stay, ranging from just a room to full room and board with three meals per day. Options come furnished or unfurnished. Unfurnished student accommodations are very common, so it is important to clarify if you require furniture.
Interested students can apply through Canada Homestay Network
If you are looking to find an apartment within the Durham Region then the following websites cater to a wide range of budgets:
FINDING OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING
Landlords require 60 days’ notice from tenants who are moving out, so you can start looking as early as two months before you need to move in. Availability varies depending on the time of year – August/September is a very busy time; January and May have less competition, but also less availability.
Look for housing:
· Ask your friends if they know of any available units; and
· Ask the International Education office if there are any students with rooms available.
Want to check out how close an accommodation is to campus? Use the Durham Region Transit (bus) schedule planner.
Contact potential landlords to:
- Find a place you are interested in.
- Arrange to view it.
- Get the details and ask questions.
- Ask for an application.
- Fill out and submit the application with all supporting documents.
- Wait to hear if your application has been approved (48 hours is acceptable turn-around time)
If you are thinking about renting an apartment, here are some questions you should ask:
- How much is the rent per month?
- Does the rent include utilities like electricity, water, cable or Internet?
- Is the heat centrally controlled?
- Is smoking allowed?
- Do you require first- and last-month’s rent or security deposit?
- When is the move-in date?
- What furnishings and appliances are included?
- What day is rent due and how do you pay? (Cheque, email, money transfer, etc.)
- Is there laundry on site? Does it cost extra? How to pay for it?
- Where does the mail go?
- Who maintains the driveway/path when it snows?
- Are garbage and recycle bins provided? Where do they go?
TIP! Try to make several appointments on one day, so that you can compare your options.
STARTING THE SEARCH FOR ACCOMMODATIONS
When looking for a place to live you should ask yourself the following questions.
- Should I live by myself or with roommates?
- What things can I live without and what things do I absolutely need? (For example, can I live without laundry on site?)
- What is the maximum amount per month I can afford to pay in rent, including utilities (heat, electricity, water)?
By answering these questions, you can create your search parameters and set initial expectations for your future home.
During your search you can expect:
- To look at more than one place;
- To have to make an appointment to view an accommodation;
- To go on a tour with other potential tenants; and
- To receive an application to take home with you.
When you find an accommodation you like, you will likely have to fill out an application. Applications will often ask for:
- Your previous addresses;
- The contact information of your current landlord and your current address;
- The contact information of your current employer and your employment history; and
- Your Social Insurance Number, which is needed to perform a credit check.
- Your Social Insurance Number is personal information that should be protected. If you do not feel comfortable sharing this information or are not sure if you should provide it, you can speak to someone in the International Education office for advice.
Once you have applied and it has been approved, you will likely have to sign a lease. Leases are important for many reasons:
- They protect you legally under the Landlord Tenant Act;
- They establish the responsibilities of the landlord as well as the tenant; and
- They act as a contract guaranteeing the cost of rent per month and how long you may live in that accommodation.
Some things to note about leases:
- You should not expect to be able to negotiate the cost of the rent; and
- In most instances, once you have lived somewhere for 12 months on a lease, you are able to go month-to-month under the same conditions as you were on the lease. Speak to the International Education office or Service Oshawa for more information.
TIME TO MOVE IN: SETTING EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR NEW HOME
Once you have signed your lease and agreed to the terms with your landlord, you will be able to move in to your new home. There will be some adjustments to the new living situation. When settling in, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Your landlord is expected to maintain the property so that it is safe and functional, but it is not their responsibility to make aesthetic changes for you that were not previously agreed to. For example, paint the walls a different colour;
- Your landlord may need to enter the unit or send in maintenance staff. Once you have officially moved in, the landlord is required to give you 24 hours’ notice before entering the apartment; and
- Your landlord must ensure the apartment has working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Your landlord is not allowed to take any of your personal belongings, including luggage or personal documents, like passports.
Students often choose to live with roommates or housemates. If this is your situation, remember:
- You may be sharing living spaces, like the kitchen or bathrooms;
- You are entitled to respect and privacy, as are any other people living in the same unit. This includes from the landlord; and
- You do not have to share a bedroom or bed without your consent or prior knowledge.
It is important to have a record of your rent payments. Common ways to pay are:
- E-transfer (email money transfer, EMT) – you can send monthly payments using a banking website or app. Most banks do not charge a fee for EMTs and you will have an electronic record of the payment;
- Cheque – you are able to pre-date your cheques and they provide a paper record of paying rent; and
- Cash – cash is insecure and untraceable, and there is no guaranteed record of payment. If you pay cash, you must get a receipt.
We always encourage students to view every potential accommodation before agreeing to pay money or sign a lease. Paying rent with gift cards is never a good idea.
The online housing listings information has been submitted by individuals not associated with Durham College.The accommodations listed have not been inspected by Durham College and the college makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information posted, the worthiness of the landlord or the suitability of the accommodation for student use.
Durham College assumes no responsibility in regard to any lease made with the landlord or any arrangements made by students sharing the accommodation. Students are advised to meet with the owner and inspect the premises before signing a lease. Further, students seeking housing in the area immediately surrounding the Durham College campus (view map) [PDF – 199 KB] should ensure prospective landlords have current licences, according to the City of Oshawa By-Law 20-2008 [PDF – 545 KB] regarding Residential Rental Housing Licensing.
Contact the International Education office if you have any questions regarding housing or are having issues with your landlord.