Tips and Resources

So You've Started your Search for Off-Campus Student Accommodation

Mar 8, 2024

Elev

Navigating the initial phase of renting, particularly the research and search for the ideal student accommodation, presents its own set of challenges. Whether you’re flying solo, landing in Canada from overseas, or transitioning from on-campus residence, snagging that perfect spot to call home is no small feat.

Here are a few strategies that will help you overcome common obstacles when searching for a place to live off campus.

Obstacle 1:You have a Limited Budget

Importance: A tight budget is a common constraint for students, making it crucial to find housing that doesn't strain finances. On average, students can expect to spend 30-50% of their budget on housing, underscoring the need for affordable options. Venturing beyond the typical student zones might reveal hidden gems that are kinder to your wallet without stranding you in the middle of nowhere.

How to go about it:

  • Prioritize your housing needs over wants.

  • Consider living with roommates to split costs.

  • Explore various neighborhoods where rents might be lower.

  • Utilize student housing resources offered by your university for budget-friendly listings.

On average, students who start their housing search early and consider living with roommates save up to 20% on their housing costs compared to those going solo in prime locations.

Obstacle 2: You’re competing against High Demand

Importance: The high demand for rentals near campuses can lead to a competitive market, especially during peak moving seasons. This can limit your options and potentially increase rental prices due to the high competition. 

How to go about it:

  • Begin your housing search well in advance of the semester start date. Searching during off-peak times can mean less competition and more negotiating power on lease terms or rent.

  • Consider less conventional options like off-campus shared houses or apartments a bit further from the university with good transit connections to broaden your choices.

Eye-Opening Stat: Students who secure their housing at least three months in advance are 35% more likely to report satisfaction with their accommodation choice compared to those who waited until the last minute.


Obstacle 3: Lack of Experience with Renting

Importance: Navigating the rental market for the first time can be daunting, with many students unfamiliar with the process of finding, securing, and maintaining a rental property. This inexperience can lead to overlooked details that may affect your living situation and potentially lead to less-than-ideal living situations. 

How to go about it:

  • Seek advice from seasoned renters, whether friends or family.

  • Utilize online guides or student workshops tailored to first-time renters.

  • Familiarize yourself with common leasing terms and tenant rights in your region to build your renting knowledge.


Obstacle 4: Identifying Scams and Unreliable Listings

Importance: The prevalence of online rental scams poses a significant risk, especially to students eager to secure housing. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, young adults aged 18-30 are among the most frequent victims of rental scams, highlighting the importance of vigilance. 

How to go about it:

  • Always inspect properties in person or through a trusted contact, and ensure the landlord’s credibility before making any commitments.

  • If a deal seems like a steal, proceed with caution. Scammers often lure victims with unrealistically low prices.

  • Never hand over money without a signed lease in hand. This paper trail is your safeguard against fraudulent deals.

  • Verify listings through reputable websites.


Obstacle 5: Searching under Tight Time Constraints

Importance: Juggling lectures, exams, and perhaps a part-time job, all while scouring the housing market, can make finding the right place feel like a race against time.

How to go about it:

  • Allocate specific times each week dedicated solely to your housing search to manage your time effectively.

  • Utilize digital tools and apps to streamline the search process, set up alerts for new listings.

  • Lastly, consider enlisting the help of friends or family in your search.

By addressing these challenges, you can navigate the initial phase of renting. Set a solid foundation for your next step in mastering property viewings.



Navigating the initial phase of renting, particularly the research and search for the ideal student accommodation, presents its own set of challenges. Whether you’re flying solo, landing in Canada from overseas, or transitioning from on-campus residence, snagging that perfect spot to call home is no small feat.

Here are a few strategies that will help you overcome common obstacles when searching for a place to live off campus.

Obstacle 1:You have a Limited Budget

Importance: A tight budget is a common constraint for students, making it crucial to find housing that doesn't strain finances. On average, students can expect to spend 30-50% of their budget on housing, underscoring the need for affordable options. Venturing beyond the typical student zones might reveal hidden gems that are kinder to your wallet without stranding you in the middle of nowhere.

How to go about it:

  • Prioritize your housing needs over wants.

  • Consider living with roommates to split costs.

  • Explore various neighborhoods where rents might be lower.

  • Utilize student housing resources offered by your university for budget-friendly listings.

On average, students who start their housing search early and consider living with roommates save up to 20% on their housing costs compared to those going solo in prime locations.

Obstacle 2: You’re competing against High Demand

Importance: The high demand for rentals near campuses can lead to a competitive market, especially during peak moving seasons. This can limit your options and potentially increase rental prices due to the high competition. 

How to go about it:

  • Begin your housing search well in advance of the semester start date. Searching during off-peak times can mean less competition and more negotiating power on lease terms or rent.

  • Consider less conventional options like off-campus shared houses or apartments a bit further from the university with good transit connections to broaden your choices.

Eye-Opening Stat: Students who secure their housing at least three months in advance are 35% more likely to report satisfaction with their accommodation choice compared to those who waited until the last minute.


Obstacle 3: Lack of Experience with Renting

Importance: Navigating the rental market for the first time can be daunting, with many students unfamiliar with the process of finding, securing, and maintaining a rental property. This inexperience can lead to overlooked details that may affect your living situation and potentially lead to less-than-ideal living situations. 

How to go about it:

  • Seek advice from seasoned renters, whether friends or family.

  • Utilize online guides or student workshops tailored to first-time renters.

  • Familiarize yourself with common leasing terms and tenant rights in your region to build your renting knowledge.


Obstacle 4: Identifying Scams and Unreliable Listings

Importance: The prevalence of online rental scams poses a significant risk, especially to students eager to secure housing. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, young adults aged 18-30 are among the most frequent victims of rental scams, highlighting the importance of vigilance. 

How to go about it:

  • Always inspect properties in person or through a trusted contact, and ensure the landlord’s credibility before making any commitments.

  • If a deal seems like a steal, proceed with caution. Scammers often lure victims with unrealistically low prices.

  • Never hand over money without a signed lease in hand. This paper trail is your safeguard against fraudulent deals.

  • Verify listings through reputable websites.


Obstacle 5: Searching under Tight Time Constraints

Importance: Juggling lectures, exams, and perhaps a part-time job, all while scouring the housing market, can make finding the right place feel like a race against time.

How to go about it:

  • Allocate specific times each week dedicated solely to your housing search to manage your time effectively.

  • Utilize digital tools and apps to streamline the search process, set up alerts for new listings.

  • Lastly, consider enlisting the help of friends or family in your search.

By addressing these challenges, you can navigate the initial phase of renting. Set a solid foundation for your next step in mastering property viewings.



Navigating the initial phase of renting, particularly the research and search for the ideal student accommodation, presents its own set of challenges. Whether you’re flying solo, landing in Canada from overseas, or transitioning from on-campus residence, snagging that perfect spot to call home is no small feat.

Here are a few strategies that will help you overcome common obstacles when searching for a place to live off campus.

Obstacle 1:You have a Limited Budget

Importance: A tight budget is a common constraint for students, making it crucial to find housing that doesn't strain finances. On average, students can expect to spend 30-50% of their budget on housing, underscoring the need for affordable options. Venturing beyond the typical student zones might reveal hidden gems that are kinder to your wallet without stranding you in the middle of nowhere.

How to go about it:

  • Prioritize your housing needs over wants.

  • Consider living with roommates to split costs.

  • Explore various neighborhoods where rents might be lower.

  • Utilize student housing resources offered by your university for budget-friendly listings.

On average, students who start their housing search early and consider living with roommates save up to 20% on their housing costs compared to those going solo in prime locations.

Obstacle 2: You’re competing against High Demand

Importance: The high demand for rentals near campuses can lead to a competitive market, especially during peak moving seasons. This can limit your options and potentially increase rental prices due to the high competition. 

How to go about it:

  • Begin your housing search well in advance of the semester start date. Searching during off-peak times can mean less competition and more negotiating power on lease terms or rent.

  • Consider less conventional options like off-campus shared houses or apartments a bit further from the university with good transit connections to broaden your choices.

Eye-Opening Stat: Students who secure their housing at least three months in advance are 35% more likely to report satisfaction with their accommodation choice compared to those who waited until the last minute.


Obstacle 3: Lack of Experience with Renting

Importance: Navigating the rental market for the first time can be daunting, with many students unfamiliar with the process of finding, securing, and maintaining a rental property. This inexperience can lead to overlooked details that may affect your living situation and potentially lead to less-than-ideal living situations. 

How to go about it:

  • Seek advice from seasoned renters, whether friends or family.

  • Utilize online guides or student workshops tailored to first-time renters.

  • Familiarize yourself with common leasing terms and tenant rights in your region to build your renting knowledge.


Obstacle 4: Identifying Scams and Unreliable Listings

Importance: The prevalence of online rental scams poses a significant risk, especially to students eager to secure housing. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, young adults aged 18-30 are among the most frequent victims of rental scams, highlighting the importance of vigilance. 

How to go about it:

  • Always inspect properties in person or through a trusted contact, and ensure the landlord’s credibility before making any commitments.

  • If a deal seems like a steal, proceed with caution. Scammers often lure victims with unrealistically low prices.

  • Never hand over money without a signed lease in hand. This paper trail is your safeguard against fraudulent deals.

  • Verify listings through reputable websites.


Obstacle 5: Searching under Tight Time Constraints

Importance: Juggling lectures, exams, and perhaps a part-time job, all while scouring the housing market, can make finding the right place feel like a race against time.

How to go about it:

  • Allocate specific times each week dedicated solely to your housing search to manage your time effectively.

  • Utilize digital tools and apps to streamline the search process, set up alerts for new listings.

  • Lastly, consider enlisting the help of friends or family in your search.

By addressing these challenges, you can navigate the initial phase of renting. Set a solid foundation for your next step in mastering property viewings.