Many newcomers feel compelled to make long-term arrangements immediately upon arrival in Canada, or even before departure. This may include signing a lease on an apartment or a contract with an employer, or purchasing a car.
There is nothing wrong with making long-term arrangements to make your life simpler or more affordable, or both. In many cases, doing so is the right thing to do for your particular situation. However, this is the key:
- You don’t have to commit early if you don’t want to.
- There may be a better option.
This article will explore a key concept to help you settle into your new surroundings on arrival in Canada: gathering local knowledge.
Accommodation on arrival in Canada
Most leases in Canada run for 12 months or longer, and most entail a deposit. A lease is a contract, after all, and signing a lease places certain obligations on both the landlord (the lessor) and the tenant (the lessee), as well as certain rights.
Oftentimes, newcomers to Canada who rush into signing a lease come to regret their choice. Maybe the chosen neighbourhood is too far from the workplace or transport links aren’t close to hand. Or maybe there is a dearth of good local restaurants or cafes, or the kids aren’t enjoying attending the local school, or the apartment itself has defects or noisy neighbours. Whatever the situation, there are options for testing a neighbourhood before committing to it.
Since launching in 2009, Airbnb has become the go-to online space for renters and lodgers to rent short-term accommodation, and the service has deep roots across Canada.
One distinct advantage of Airbnb is that many hosts take it upon themselves to act as a local tour guide for their guests. When deciding which host to stay with, read the reviews to see if this informal service is typical of the host – it may help you become acquainted with a neighbourhood, including local knowledge of hidden gems.
Thinking of trying Airbnb? This link allows Moving2Canada readers to get a $45 discount on their first Airbnb booking in Canada!
Subletting is a temporary arrangement whereby a leaseholder physically leaves an apartment or house for an agreed period and has the right to return when the sub-lease comes to an end. The subletter (i.e. the leaseholder) is neither the owner nor physical occupant of the apartment or house for this temporary period, but he or she is still responsible for the lease and has other responsibilities toward the sub-tenant (i.e. you).
Subletting accommodation may be perfect for you and your family, if applicable, because not only do you get to try out a particular neighbourhood, but the accommodation will likely be fully furnished because the subletter has been living in the apartment or house and expects to return.
This may be an option for newcomers arriving without dependents. By sharing accommodation, typically you would have a private room in a shared apartment or house, with common use of living areas, the kitchen, and bathroom. It is quite normal for people in Canada to share an address, even if they did not know each other well – or at all – beforehand. This is especially true closer to downtown city cores, where property values and rent is more expensive.
In addition to saving a significant chunk on your monthly expenditure, there may be a range of other advantages to sharing accommodation on arrival in Canada. For starters, it may help you to create a new social circle, either with the people you share a home or through their friends and contacts, or both. If your roommates are local or speak English perfectly, this may also help as you settle into your new surroundings.
Still not sure? Visit our neighbourhood guides
We offer up-to-date guides on neighbourhoods in Canada’s largest cities to suit every interest, budget, and family size: