When to Arrive?
- It is best to arrive two to four weeks to a month before classes begin to arrange Off-Campus Housing, as the selection diminishes as September nears, and can be even more limited in the winter months. This will be challenging during the COVID-19 crisis as you will need to demonstrate proof of capacity to quarantine for 2-weeks upon arrival in Canada.
- You will need to reserve an absolute minimum of one week of temporary housing in advance of your arrival, so that you will have a place to stay while you arrange your permanent housing. During the COVID-19 crisis, we would recommend that you try to arrange your permanent housing prior to arrival. This can be tricky, but is possible and we are able to provide support.
- Remember to budget for the added cost of temporary housing, given your arrival date.
- We caution you not to enter into any rental agreement until you have viewed the housing in person (or during COVID-19, online via video conferencing) and met any prospective roommates.
- Carefully review the details of the contract before signing. It may be wise to review the Alberta Landlord Tenancy Act and compare it to your contract to ensure that anything you are agreeing to outside of normal provisions is acceptable to you.
- Please be aware that Concordia University of Edmonton staff cannot and will not enter into any housing agreement on your behalf.
Where to Look?
- Off-Campus Housing is available in the neighbourhoods surrounding Concordia University of Edmonton.
- Prices for non-campus housing vary depending on size, facilities and location. Some apartments include the cost of utilities (electricity, heat, water, etc.) in the monthly rent.
- One-bedroom apartment rentals are in the range of $750 to $1,100 and up, per unit, per month. A popular form of housing is a room or suite in a private house, sometimes in the basement, where costs range upwards from $550 per month (for a single room with shared bathroom and cooking facilities).
- Keep in mind that if you are willing to look beyond walking distance of Concordia University of Edmonton, you will find a greater selection of accommodation, and there are several areas of the city that have convenient access to campus by bus or subway (LRT). Maps of bus routes and LRT can be accessed online through the Edmonton Transit Service.
- Also note that sharing housing can be significantly less expensive than renting an apartment alone. You can look for potential roommates in our Facebook group.
Homestays in Edmonton
If you prefer to have your housing arranged in advance of your arrival, and are interested in living with a Canadian family, a home stay may be a good option for you.
Canada Homestay Network
Since 1995, the Canada Homestay Network (CHN) has helped tens of thousands of students find a home away from home in Canada. Over the years they have earned a unique reputation for client satisfaction, based on common values, successful experiences, and the highest professional standards in the industry. As a not-for-profit society, and as parents, CHN provides the kind of care that they would want for their own sons and daughters.
Learn more at: www.canadahomestaynetwork.ca.
Tips, Considerations & Questions to Ask
- If you are not able to see the housing in person, ask the landlord to provide you with pictures of the accommodation. It is best if there are pictures of each room. Another option is to arrange a video call with the landlord to walk through the house online. You can use CUE’s Google Hangouts access to facilitate this.
- Ask if the rent includes utilities (heat, water, power, telephone, cable, and/or internet). If these are not included, ask what the average bill for each of these is in the Fall, Winter, and when it is likely to be most expensive.
- Find out about laundry facilities.
- What are the public transit connections?
- If possible, limit the time period for which you sign a lease for only as long as you intend to live in the space.
Roommates & Rental Law (in brief)
In Alberta, the relationship between a landlord (owner/manager of a property) and a tenant (person paying to live in the property) is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Although the RTA does not address the relationship between roommates, it still applies to shared housing as long as the landlord is not one of the tenants. For details regarding your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, visit the Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board, or call +1 780.496.5959. Here are some common rental terms you should become familiar with:
This is a sum of money that is held by the landlord when a tenant moves into rented property. The sum is held on conditions that are set out in the lease, and if damage occurs to the property, the cost can be deducted from the security deposit when you move out. If the terms of your lease have been met, you should receive the full amount back when you move out. Read your lease carefully before signing, especially regarding cleaning requirements at the end of your tenancy.
A written agreement where the landlord agrees to rent premises to a tenant, and sets out the conditions under which that rental will take place. Among other things, this should include:
- Amount of the rent.
- When rent is due.
- Amount of the security deposit.
- Who is responsible for paying the rent.
- Who is responsible for making repairs to the property.
- What the conditions of the property should be when the tenants move in, and when they move out.
A person or company that owns property and rents some or all of it to someone else. This includes persons such as building managers who stand in the place of the owner in dealing with the tenants.
Person or people renting property from the landlord.
A written report that the landlord and the tenant complete together at the beginning and end of the tenancy. The inspection report at the beginning is often called the move-in inspection report, and the one at the end is called the move-out inspection report. The reason to have the inspection is so that both the landlord and the tenant have a common understanding of the condition of the property at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
Finding & Choosing a Roommate
Sharing housing with another person is a great way to reduce your costs. One way to find a roommate is to post an ad in our Facebook group. Choose your roommate carefully! Taking a pro-active approach to your living arrangement can protect you. Think carefully before agreeing to any living arrangement. Never agree to a living arrangement that makes you feel unsafe or causes you discomfort. Sign a written agreement with your roommate(s) and include details such as:
- How much rent will each of you pay?
- How much notice must a roommate give to the others before she/he moves out?
- What basic “house rules” must all roommates adhere to? It is best to address concerns early in the term of the living arrangement.
- Inform your landlord when you change roommates and put the new roommate on the rental agreement.
- When deciding on a roommate, you should ask…
- Does one of you like to wake up late, while the other gets out of bed early?
- Does one of you need quiet at all hours, while the other needs constant “background” music?
- Does one of you study at home frequently, while the other does not?
- Do you prefer to have a quiet home, or to have parties on a regular basis?
- Are overnight guests acceptable?
- What are your expectations?
When looking for suitable accommodations, you should ask:
- Type of accommodation desired
- Cost of accommodation
- How much can each person afford?
- How much is the security deposit?
- How will you share costs?
Before signing a lease, you should know:
The landlord can collect all of the rent from any one of the tenants who have agreed to live in the rental unit under a residential tenancy agreement. This means that if a roommate moves out without paying the rent, or misses a payment, the other tenants are still responsible for the full rent or damage done to the rental unit. It is a good idea to have a written agreement between roommates that is separate from the tenancy agreement.
Roommates can agree about responsibility for bills, how rent is to be shared, and the possibility of reimbursing each other for a share of the security deposit should one tenant leave before the end of the tenancy. A tenant who leaves during a tenancy agreement will not generally be able to recover their share of the security deposit when they leave. The return of the security deposit from the landlord can only be dealt with when the tenancy is ended, unless the tenancy agreement states otherwise or another agreement is made.
If Conflicts Arise With Your Roommates…
Talk to your roommates. Remember to speak calmly, and explain yourself clearly. Put yourself in your roommate’s shoes. Try to see things from their perspective. Be aware of how your behaviour is affecting them, not just how they are affecting you. Assume they are not annoying you purposefully, but from a lack of communication or different expectations.
Be respectful. If you have trouble speaking to your roommate face-to-face, try writing them a note. Explain why you are writing a note, so they don’t think you are just avoiding themRemember that you and your roommate share a common goal, to have a pleasant living experience. Focus on observable behaviour and your feelings instead of their intentions. For example, saying “When you leave your dishes in the sink for a week, I feel disrespected because it makes it hard for me to use the space too” Is a lot better than “You are a slob and it makes living here impossible”. Both of those statements, may seem true, but if your goal is to resolve the conflict and change the situation it is always better to de-escalate.