Skip to main content

Off-campus housing

Where to live

When choosing where to live, it helps to consider your needs:

  • will you take the bus, bike or drive?
  • will you need a place to park a car or store a bike?
  • do you need to be close to campus?
  • how much rent can you afford? 

The needs and preferences worksheet can help focus your search.

What to look for

Prepare a list of questions to help you make an informed decision about a unit.

Some key questions include:

  1. How much is the rent per month?
  2. How much is the security deposit?
  3. Are any utilities included in the rent? TV, internet, heat, hot water, electricity, etc.
  4. Are any features included in the rent? Laundry facility, storage locker, parking, etc.
  5. Are there any restrictions? Smoking, pets, long-term visitors, etc.
  6. Is there a minimum duration for the tenancy?
  7. How long does it take to get to UVic? How far away are the nearest bus stops?
  8. Where are the nearest grocery stores, shopping centres, and other amenities?
  9. Are there strong locks on all the doors and windows?
  10. What are the safety features? Are there smoke alarms?
  11. Do all the appliances work?
  12. Do any repairs need to be made?
  13. How is the heating system controlled? Can it be controlled inside this unit or room?
  14. If there is an outdoor area, who is responsible for maintaining it?
  15. Would it be possible to paint the walls or make any other decorative changes?
  16. Why are the current tenants leaving?
  17. When could you move in?

Other considerations:

  • neighbourhood (does it seem safe)
  • check to see if the following are working:
    • toilet (give it a flush and check for leaks)
    • shower (turn it on and off and look for leaks)
    • faucets/taps (turn on and off, and make sure water doesn’t drip after you turn it off)
  • clean carpet (carpet should be cleaned before you move in)
  • level of noise (open the windows and check the noise level from traffic)
  • look for water damage (yellow or brown stains on ceiling or walls) and mouse droppings
  • make sure basement suites aren't too damp or dark

Do not rent a place if there is anything that concerns you.

We recommend going to view places with a friend or classmate. If English is not your first language, a friend can help you get the information you need to make the right decision.

Avoiding scams

It can be hard to determine if a listing is legitimate without actually meeting the landlord or viewing the property.

If you think something is wrong, trust yourself and consider these important questions:

  1. Is the rent really low compared to similar listings in the area?
  2. Does the language in the listing seem different than other listings you have seen? For example, does the listing include many spelling errors or does it seem unrealistic?
  3. Is the landlord unable to show you the unit or unwilling to arrange an in-person viewing?
  4. Does the landlord seem pushy or too eager to rent the unit?
  5. Is the landlord asking you to mail or send your deposit electronically before viewing the unit and agreeing on the arrangement?
The following resources can help you determine whether a rental listing might be a scam:

Ask questions, never send money to someone you have not met, and never pay a deposit before you have signed an agreement and viewed the accommodation.

Before you move in

Inspection report

Before signing anything you and your landlord should complete a move-in inspection report. This is a chance to document the condition of your home before your move in and when you move out.

Tenancy agreement

Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities before signing a tenancy agreement.

Although verbal tenancy agreements are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), it is always best to have a written agreement with your landlord.

Signing a hard copy contract is one of the best ways you can protect yourself as a tenant since it proves the terms you agreed to at the start of your tenancy. Your landlord should provide you with a copy of your signed agreement.

Security or damage deposit

A security or damage deposit secures the tenancy for you and for your new landlord. Once you have paid this deposit, you have committed to moving in and your landlord cannot rent the unit to someone else. The maximum deposit a landlord can charge is half a month’s rent.

Visit the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre for more information.

Tenant insurance

We encourage you to insure your possessions against theft, fire and other damage.

There are many tenant insurance providers. Research your options and ask questions before making a decision.

Conflicts or disputes

Contact the UVic Ombudsperson if you have a conflict or dispute with your landlord.