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5 Things to Look for in Off-Campus Housing

Canadian university and college students have recently finished their school year, and high school students have graduated and are busy planning for their post-secondary studies in the fall. This means during the summer break you have to buy school supplies, register for your classes and secure student housing.

If you can’t (or are choosing not to) live in residence, you will need to seek out off-campus housing. Looking for a student apartment or house is a bit more like traditional renting than applying for on-campus housing through your school. You sign a lease, are subject to the terms of the rental agreement, and so forth.

When looking for off-campus accommodations, there are some things you will want to consider before committing to a place.

1. Proximity to campus

Your number 1 priority when choosing an off-campus apartment or house should be to find a place near campus. Luckily, most college and university towns and cities have clusters of student rentals near the school. Try to look within these neighbourhoods.

young college friends

2. Rental period

Even though most students attend college or university from September to the end of April/early May, standard rental leases are at minimum 12 months. Most landlords do this because filling vacancies for the summer can be tough and not worth it.

That said, if you don’t intend to stay there for the summer, you can sublet your place to ensure you can keep it for the next school year. Some landlords may offer month-to-month renting after that first year.

3. Public transit and walkability score

While being close to campus is a must, you should also be able to get to other amenities easily. If you don’t have a car, this will mean taking public transit or walking.

Can you easily get groceries and other necessities? How late does transit run? Can you go out late at night and take transit home?

Students should also check the rental’s walkability score. This will tell you how walkable and bikeable the area is. It also scores properties on their proximity to transit.

handsome young man

4. Safety

When moving to an unfamiliar city or town for school, you want to make sure you’re safe. For parents, this factor is probably higher up than nearness to campus! Students can be night owls. Whether you’re out with friends or burning the midnight oil at the library studying, chances are you’re going to have to get home after dark on more than one occasion.

Look for buildings and houses on well-lit streets. If looking at high-rise student apartments, look for buildings with locked lobby doors and possibly on-site security.

5. Cost

Lastly, you need to look at the cost of off-campus housing. Student rentals can vary in price depending on available space. Some student housing is geared to post-graduate students who require quieter, more mature accommodations. You will also pay higher rent for a house versus an apartment.

The cost can be reduced if you have roommates to share with. It’s best to figure out how many roommates you need prior to looking at apartments.

packing for moving out of the dorm

It’s time to start looking for your off-campus housing! Use to find student rentals near your school.