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A UBC Student’s Guide To Renting

A UBC Student’s Guide To Renting

A UBC Student’s Guide To Renting

By now you should know whether or not you’re going to get a spot in residence for the 2015-16 school year. If you’re wait-listed but think you’re not going to get in, read on.

UBC Student’s Guide To Renting

Know your budget

Believe it or not, this is something that is often overlooked by people. Many people think that they can rent an apartment that looks nicer (and also costs more!) by cutting down on things like their daily coffee, eating out, and spending money unnecessarily. As a result, they have to stay home a lot. While being thrifty is a good thing, having to give up a social life for just for rent is not.

What you might want to do is to first work out a monthly budget that includes how much you will spend on food, bills, and necessities. That will allow you to decide what your budget for rent will be.

Usually, basement suites are more affordable, and the further you rent from campus, the cheaper it gets. Kerrisdale and West 4th are good places to consider, as they’re relatively close to campus renting is reasonable.


Know you what you’d like, and what you wouldn’t like in housing.

Besides having Wi-Fi or electricity included in your rent, other factors you want to consider are:

  • How close you are to campus
  • How close you are to grocery shops
  • If you would mind living in a noisy neighborhood (or in a unit that faces a main road)
  • Security
  • Renting furnished or unfurnished
  • Laundry
  • Having a roommate


Begin your search!

Besides Kijiji and Craigslist, Padmapper is a very useful website as well. We’ve also found that using Craigslist on the “map” function (where they show every rental unit on a map) to be more helpful. There’s also the AMS Rents Line to check!

Sometimes, apartments don’t advertise online, but leave a sign outside their building instead. If you have a neighborhood in mind, it may be better to walk around instead, and call them when you’re outside the building to schedule a viewing. One example was when I was trying to rent in UBC. I found one apartment on Padmapper, but when I walked around, I found another three more units.


Schedule viewings!

This is my favourite part about moving. When you view a unit, it’s not always about the aesthetic of the apartment. I signed for an apartment that was beautiful and modern, but then regretted it when I was about a month into my tenancy. The walls were so thin that they would get scratched if I brushed past them. I had to constantly keep my blinds drawn because it was a first floor unit and it faced a main road.

Apart from that, I was near a hospital, so I heard sirens all the time. People started climbing into the patio, and I finally had enough when someone tried to break in. When you view a unit, you may also want to check

  • The water pressure of the taps
  • How well the heaters work
  • The overall neighborhood
  • Bugs / Insects (for example: in the carpet, or in the building). There’s no harm in searching it up on bedbugregistry.com first.


When you sign your lease agreement…

Always do a condition report. This is something you will do at the start and at the end of the tenancy. It is important because it ensures that you will not be held liable for the damage that has already been done to the unit prior to the date you move in. Inspect the unit with your landlord, and take pictures if possible. Point out any possible damage you notice, and mutually agree on the condition of your unit.



Lastly, if you’re renting unfurnished and need furniture, you don’t always have to go to IKEA. Thrift stores sell decent second-hand furniture sometimes, and it’s always worth checking the dollar store for things such as floor mats, kitchen utensils, and storage solutions.


Happy renting!



Written by: Sarah C

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