Place to Live: Renting, Homestay and Buying

If you are planning to move to British Columbia, one of the first things you must do is to find a good place to live. It isn’t always easy, but your local settlement service agency can help you find housing that fits your family’s needs—and your budget.

  • Apartment or suite: A unit in a building or house that is usually available for rent and has bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room.
  • Condominium (condo): This is similar to an apartment, except you can own your suite.
  • Duplex/townhouse: A house connected to another house that can be bought or rented.
  • Mobile homes: Homes that can be moved from one place to another. Owners must also buy or rent the land to put a mobile home on.
  • Room for rent: A room in a house or apartment where tenants share the kitchen, living room and bathroom.
  • Room and board: A room and meals in a household. Furniture is included.
  • Housing cooperative (co-op): Low-cost housing. There often is a waiting list for co-op housing.


When you rent a house or apartment, you must sign a tenancy agreement with the person who looks after the place. This person could be the landlord or landlady, the owner or manager.

As a tenant, you will be responsible for keeping the place clean, not disturbing other tenants, and paying the rent on time. Make sure you get a receipt for all payments you make to the landlord.

  • Make sure you have a signed tenancy agreement. When you agree to rent a house or apartment, you and the landlord are making a contract. It is called a tenancy agreement. The agreement should be in writing. Your tenancy agreement gives you the rules for renting your home. Make sure you understand everything in the agreement before you sign it. If you are not sure, ask someone who can help you—for example, a settlement worker. You may need to have the agreement translated into your language. For more information on tenants’ rights, go to the website:
  • Check for damage. Before you move in, make a list of any damage you find. You and the landlord should sign the list. This is to make sure you get your damage deposit back when you move out. You can also take photographs of any damage you find in the apartment or house. The law says that landlords and tenants each have certain rights and certain things they must do (responsibilities). A tenancy agreement cannot change the law


If you are student, this option would fit you probably better. Homestay is famous among students who mainly come to study English as a second language for a determinate period of time. It is cheaper than rent a room or apartment and normally include at least two meals, breakfast and dinner, wifi service, laundry or cleaning.

There are many agencies can help you for the research. As well as the ESL Schools provide this service in the most of cases.


Are you thinking about buying a home in British Columbia?

Read the Canada Mortgage and Housing Step by Step Guide ( It will help you answer important questions like is home ownership right for you? And, are you financially ready? It also provides worksheets, information on the home buying process and tips on what to do after you buy your home. You can find homes for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and For Sale by Owner websites.

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