Tia's Advice: Living Off Campus

UVic Global Community Newsletter: July 17, 2017

Tia's Advice is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes International Student Advising information and a list of Important Dates for undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students, incoming exchange students and incoming visiting students.

Most UVic students live off campus

Every year, demand to live on campus greatly exceeds the number of rooms available, so most students live off campus for at least some of their time at UVic.

On-campus housing is convenient, especially for your first few months in a new city, but off-campus housing offers more independence and opportunities to explore everything Victoria has to offer.

The following information covers important things to know about finding a place to live, starting a tenancy and maintaining a healthy relationship with your landlord and/or roommates.

Finding a place to live

Explore your options.

Start by exploring your options and identifying your priorities. This will make it easier to narrow down the choices.

One option to consider is the neighbourhood you want to live in. The following neighbourhoods in the Greater Victoria Region are closest to UVic:

Other options to consider:

  • House, apartment or suite?
  • Live alone or share with roommates?
  • Furnished or unfurnished?
  • Desirable features?
Search for available rentals.

The following resources are provided by UVic:

Please be aware when using these resources that rentals have not been inspected. Landlords, property managers and potential roommates have not been interviewed or screened. To protect yourself, we recommend visiting rentals in person, asking lots of questions and making detailed notes.

Visit rentals in person.

An ad for a rental might be posted by a landlord who owns the property, someone who manages the property on behalf of the landlord or someone who is already a tenant and who is looking for a roommate.

Some important questions to ask:

  • How much is the rent per month? How much is the security deposit?
  • Are any utilities included in the rent? Cable, TV, internet, heat, hot water, electricity, etc.
  • Are any features included in the rent? Laundry facility, storage locker, parking, etc.
  • Are there any restrictions? Smoking, pets, overnight guests, long-term visitors, etc.
  • Is there a minimum duration for the tenancy?
  • Where are the nearest bus stops, shopping centres and other amenities?
  • What are the security features? Are there locks on all the doors and windows?
  • What are the safety features? Are there smoke alarms?
  • Do all the appliances work?
  • Do any repairs need to be made?
  • How is the heating system controlled?
  • Would it be possible to paint the walls or make any other decorative changes?
  • Why are the current tenants leaving?
  • When could you move in?

Starting a tenancy

Do the paperwork.

The tenancy starts when you agree to pay money to occupy a rental.

Please make sure you are familiar with the rules and regulations that govern this process in British Columbia (BC).

Three important things need to happen before you move in:

Do not give the landlord, property manager or potential roommates any money before you sign a Residential Tenancy Agreement.

Change your address.

Update your address in UVic My Page every time you move.

Make sure you continue to receive your mail, even if it is sent to your old address:

If you are moving out of on-campus housing, give Residence Services a completed change of address form so they can forward your mail. Be sure to ask how long they will provide this service.

If you are moving from one off-campus location to another, you may wish to sign up for the change of address service provided by Canada Post. Order the service online or in person at any post office. There is a post office located in the Student Union Building.

Purchase tenant insurance.

Insure your possessions against theft, fire and other damage.

What if there is a flood in your basement suite and the water destroys your computer? What if you forget something on the stove and it starts a fire that damages the kitchen? Do not assume the landlord's insurance will cover the contents of your rental or any damage caused by you.

There are many tenant insurance providers. Research your options before making a decision!

During the tenancy

Tenancies are most successful when everyone involved fully understands their legal rights and responsibilities. It promotes a healthy relationship and helps prevent disputes.

Learn about municipal bylaws and community standards in the Greater Victoria Region.

Consult the rules and regulations to resolve tenancy issues when they arise. Tenancy issues include the following:

  • Renewing a fixed term Residential Tenancy Agreement
  • Requesting repairs and services
  • Making a noise complaint
  • Changing locks

You should also consult the rules and regulations when you are ready to end your tenancy.

If you have questions about your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant in British Columbia (BC), the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC) are excellent resources.

More International Student Advising information is available on our website. If you can't find the answers you are looking for, or if you require more information, visit or contact the International Student Centre.

Important Dates

August 7: British Columbia Day. This is a statutory holiday, so classes will be cancelled and UVic services will be closed.

August 20: U-Pass privileges begin for fall term.*

August 21: Summer session ends.

* Incoming exchange students do not automatically receive U-Pass privileges but can opt in by purchasing a UVSS or GSS membership package.

Want to know what else is going on? Join the to receive regular updates about opportunities, events and programs, both on and off campus.