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Off-campus housing

Where to look

Short-term or temporary housing

You may need to stay in short-term accommodations while you look for a more permanent place to live. This will allow you to view potential housing options in person and can help you avoid scams

Online resources:

Long-term housing

Once you have arrived in Victoria, you can shift your focus to finding long-term housing.

Online resources:

Facebook groups:

Property management companies:
You may find an apartment to rent through a local property management company.

Important: Please be aware that off-campus housing options are not verified by UVic for legitimacy or quality. It is important that you or someone you trust visits the unit in person.

Housing terminology

Types of housing

Single-family home: House that contains only one living space, usually with multiple bedrooms

Apartment: An individual living unit within a larger residential building

Condominium: Similar to an apartment, but with individual ownership of the unit

Townhouse: A house that may share walls with neighboring units, often including a small yard or patio

Duplex: A single building divided into two separate units

Tiny house/Garden suite: A small home typically under 500 square feet, normally located in the back yard of a single-family home

Basement suite: A self-contained apartment located on the lower floor of a single-family home. Usually includes a separate entrance, kitchen and bathroom.

What to look for

Viewing rental listings

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

Location and transportation
  • 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?

It will also be important to consider how much you can afford to pay for housing. In addition to your monthly rent payment, you may have other costs, including:

  • Utilities such as electricity and heating
  • TV or internet
  • Coin-operated laundry
  • Storage unit fees
  • Parking fees or permit
  • Transit costs
  • Tenant insurance
  • Security or pet damage deposit


  • If you have children, you will need extra time to find accommodation.
  • It is illegal for landlords to refuse to rent to you based on your family status.
  • Some landlords may limit the amount of people who can live in a rental unit.


  • In Victoria, you will have limited options for accommodations that allow pets.
  • Search for listings that state “pet friendly”, "dogs allowed" or “cats allowed."
  • A pet deposit is typically requested from the landlord.

The needs and preferences worksheet can help focus your search.

Viewing a suite

When viewing potential housing or communicating with a landlord, 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 items to consider when you are visiting your potential new home:

  • 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.

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.

Rights and responsibilities

It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in British Columbia (BC).

Residential Tenancy Act

In BC the Residential Tenancy Act is the provincial law that outlines landlords' and tenants' rights and responsibilities.

Housing arrangements NOT covered under the Residential Tenancy Act include:

  • Shared bathroom or kitchen with the owner of the property
  • Accommodation provided to a student or employee by their school
  • Short-term accommodation under certain circumstances
  • Emergency shelters
  • Co-operative housing
  • Sublets or Occupant/roommates

A full list of housing not covered by the Residential Tenancy Act can be viewed on the the Tenancy Resource & Advisory Centre website.

The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) provides landlords and tenants with information and dispute resolution services, guided by the Residential Tenancy Act. The RTB provides resources to help individuals know their rights and responsibilities as both landlord and tenant. If you have a landlord-tenant matter, RTB has a process for dispute resolution.

Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC)

The Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC) is a non-profit organization that provides free legal education, representation and advocacy on residential tenancy matters.

TRAC has the following resources:

Other resources for conflicts or disputes

In addition to the resources above, for support in navigating conflicts with your landlord you can also reach out to:

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.

Tenancy and roommates

If you will be living with roommates, it’s important to understand the type of tenancy agreement you have. Depending on your situation, you may or may not be protected under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).


  • Each individual name is on the rental agreement; therefore everyone is protected under the RTA.
  • Co-tenants pay rent to their landlord collectively, and must decide amongst themselves how to divide the cost.
  • Co-tenants are jointly responsible for everything that is related to their tenancy, which means that everyone is equally responsible for each other's behavior.

Tenants in common

  • Tenants in common live in the same rental unit, but each individual has a separate tenancy agreement with the landlord. Tenants are protected under the RTA.
  • Each tenant is responsible for their own behavior.
  • Tenants in common may not have control over who else is living in the home.


  • An “occupant/roommate” is someone who rents from another tenant with whom they live – not the landlord.
  • Occupant/roommates are not protected by the RTA.
  • Legal disputes between roommates can be resolved through the Civil Resolution Tribunal.

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.



Need help?

If you're having trouble finding a place to live, consider your options:

  • Can you stay with relatives or close friends?
  • Are you able to afford short-term accommodation while you look for a place to live long-term?
  • Can you reconsider what you want? Maybe you can't have your perfect place right away, but will get there with time.
  • Have you looked at all of the resources on this website?
  • Have you looked on the bulletin boards in the Student Union Building?

Contact the International Centre for Students if you need support.