Where to Start
There are a number of factors to consider before deciding where to live. If it is your first time renting, the process can be intimidating, but the list below provides some items to consider as you begin the process. If this is your first year at Sheridan, the first-year student checklist is another helpful resource.
First time renter?
Here are some things to expect:
- You may need a co-signer, which could be your parents/guardians. This is to give the landlord assurances that the lease agreement will be honoured
- You may need to provide references or credit check prior to being approved to sign a lease
- You are expected to pay rent in a timely manner within the criteria set out in the lease agreement
- Be sure to view the unit before signing anything or making payment. Make sure you are satisfied with the condition of the unit and be aware of any rules or additional conditions that are stated in the lease
- If you are new to the area be sure to look into local by-laws that you must adhere to as a new member of the community
We also have some additional resources to help you in your search:
- A rental checklist and top 10 top ten tips provide additional information to assist you in your search for off campus housing.
- If you are renting with a roommate it will also be beneficial to use a roommate agreement to help resolve any issues that may come up by having a set agreement. Use this handy blank template.
Signing a lease:
It is important to understand the elements of a lease. Here are some insights/resources to help you make the most informed decision:
- Make sure you take a lease seriously. A lease is a legally binding contract that you must adhere to; if you don’t, there could be long-standing consequences that will not only affect your ability to rent again, but also your credit score.
- If you sign the lease and then experience issues with repairs, not getting along with your roommate or you simply don’t want to live there anymore, you still have to abide by the lease you signed and will have to continue to pay. Be sure you read the details of who is responsible for what before you sign.
- What kind of specific items will be in a lease?
- Length of the agreement (12 months, or month-to-month)
- Payment amount and payment schedule details
- Property maintenance rules
- Utilities included or not included (cable, hydro, heat, property taxes)
- Name and address of landlord and tenant
- Notice period required to terminate tenancy, could be 60-day notice for example
- Subletting rules, if landlord allows tenant to do this
- Specific restrictions (no smoking, no pets)
- Notice instructions for when the landlord can enter the premise
- Dispute resolutions that may come up and how they are dealt with
- Become familiar with the Residential Tenancies Act as a lease can only be terminated following the guidelines of this act.
- If any issues occur that go against the lease you signed, be sure to reference the Landlord and Tenant Board, as you will need to follow their process with any issues that come up.
When looking for off campus housing, it is important to consider how far you will be from campus and/or to public transportation. Be sure to use resources like Google Maps to determine how far different housing locations would be from campus and how to plan your route if you are driving or taking local transit. Be sure to use these links for Miway (Mississauga transit), Oakville transit, and Brampton transit to help you plan your route once you have found an ideal location to live.
Make sure you consider the overall costs you will have when going to school, and budget accordingly. Cost can vary depending on the city and type of accommodation you choose to live in. Most leases are 12 months, so make sure you budget accordingly and choose a location that you can afford for the duration of your lease. This budget calculator can help you plan your finances according to your current income, and gives you insights and tips on how much should be saved for housing, food, and other important budgeting considerations.
Type of accommodation:
When looking for the right place to live, the type of accommodation can make big difference in cost. Make sure you think about your comfort level living with others or alone, as sharing a space will be the most cost-effective option for most. The following is a breakdown of accommodation options to consider.
Renting a Bedroom in Student House or Apartment
This is the most common accommodation among students and is also the most affordable. With the shared space usually comes shared costs of utilities and other costs that are agreed upon. If cost is your top concern, consider a bedroom in a shared space to get a lower monthly cost for your living accommodation.
Renting a Bedroom in a Landlord’s Accommodation
This accommodation is also common and affordable for students, and will most likely have shared spaces including living room and kitchen.
Renting an Apartment in House
This accommodation would provide a separate living space within a home, such as a basement apartment. These are more expensive, but will include a private living space, kitchen, washroom, and bedroom.
Renting an Apartment in a high or low-rise building
This accommodation would be a self-contained unit within the building, with a private bathroom and kitchen. This may be a good option for those looking to live on their own or with a roommate, but may be a more costly option. Be sure to consider these factors before looking into apartment accommodations.
Renting a House
This could be the most expensive housing option, depending on how the costs are split and how many people would share the costs. Renting a house means you may be responsible for extra costs like property taxes, utilities, and potential repair costs that all make this option the costliest.
When exploring this option, make sure you follow local by-laws and do not exceed the amount of people that can safely live in the space.