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What To Look For In A Rental House

Not all buyers buy houses, and not all renters rent apartments. Many renters require more space than an apartment unit can provide, or they want a private yard for pets and children.

Rental houses differ in many ways from high-rise buildings and walk-ups. Rental houses can take different forms. Some houses for rent in Canada are part of a purpose-built rental community – such as a townhouse complex. Others are single-family homes put up for rent by the owner. Some homes are multiplexes with multiple units in one house, and others have basement or upstairs apartments for rent, with the owner living in the main part of the house.

With so many options, how does one know what to look for in a rental house? Here are some suggestions to start with.

Why a house? – You need to ask yourself your reasons for wanting a house rather than a unit in a building. Knowing why you want/need a house is a great way to narrow down your search. For some, it’s about neighbourhood – wanting to live on a suburban residential street rather than in an urban neighbourhood. Yard space is a big reason for renting a house for many. It’s nice to have a fenced yard for dogs and kids to play.

House for rent label

Square footage – While families can and do live in rental apartments, 3-bedroom rentals are harder to come by if you’re just searching in buildings. Big families require more space, and not all families can qualify to buy a house. Get more bedrooms and living space with a rental house. So, make sure you pay attention to the number of bedrooms and the floor space to ensure you’re looking at appropriate properties.

Maintenance – Even if a rental house is a bit dated, make sure it’s at least well-maintained. You will also want to find out who is in charge of repairs and maintenance services before signing a lease agreement. Are you responsible for cutting the grass and maintaining the garden? These are things you should know before agreeing to anything.

Yard work around the house

Price – For obvious reasons, most rental houses are more expensive than units (when you’re renting the entire house, not an apartment in a house). While you should accept that it will cost more, you want to make sure you’re paying a fair amount for what you get. You need to find out what’s included in the price. Rents don’t always include electricity, heat and water. Some rental houses will come with cable and internet, so factor that in when pricing out homes.

Security – Most apartment buildings have some sort of security. Usually it comes in the form of locked entrances and buzzer systems designed to keep strangers from wandering in. Houses have door locks, but you want to make sure that the rental house has secure windows, too, to prevent break-ins. You should also research the neighbourhood to make sure it’s a safe place to live.

Neighborhood watch sign

Use the best apartment rental websites to search for the perfect rental house for your needs. allows you to search for a house and narrow it down by city, number of bedrooms and other must-have features. Good luck on your search for a beautiful house to rent!