Housing & finance

For COVID-19 related information, visit the COVID-19 Information webpage and the UVic Return to Campus website. Please note, as information can change without notice, for the most current immigration information, always visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website and the Government of Canada website

Before you arrive in Victoria, you need to think about where you are going to live and how you are going to pay for your tuition fees, student fees, and living expenses. Spend some time exploring the available housing options and considering how you will manage your finances.


Housing

Explore Your Housing Options

Victoria is a diverse and beautiful city with many accommodation options to choose from and UVic will be a place you call home regardless of where you choose to live. It is important to find a place that meets your needs and helps you feel settled and at home before you start your studies.  Searching for housing in a new city, and especially a new country can be challenging. Whether you choose to live in residence or off-campus or in a homestay, take time to think about what type of accommodation would best suite all of your needs.  Below is information to help you decide on where to live while you study at the University of Victoria.

On-Campus Housing

Some of the benefits of on campus housing at UVic is being close to classes, cafeterias and recreation.  Additionally, meeting new people, establishing lifelong friendships and meeting people from all over the world are some of the benefits of living on campus at UVic. There are different options for on-campus housing for students: dormitory rooms, cluster units, apartments and family housing. 

Check out this video to give you an idea about what UVic residences are all about. Also, MyUvic Life is a blog that follows 20 UVic student bloggers’ daily experiences as they explore UVic.  Maybe you could find your home on-campus at UVic!

Spaces are limited, so apply as soon as possible. For more information and to apply online, visit the Residence Services website. It is your resource for learning all you need to know about on campus student residences.        

UVic is looking forward to welcoming you to your new home away from home. 

Off-Campus Housing

The rental market in Victoria can be challenging to navigate. It may take some time to find your home in Victoria. There are many different types of housing options, like shared accommodations which can include apartments, condos, and houses etc. Another option is an independent living environment which can include accommodation for students.

Where to look for short-term/temporary accommodation for when I first arrive?

You may need to stay in short-term accommodation while you look for a more permanent place to live.  Below is a list of options for you.

Hotels in Victoria 

Minimum $85/night - $149/night PLUS FOOD

Airbnb

Minimum $45/night – $239/night PLUS FOOD

VRBO

Minimum $63/night - $239/night PLUS FOOD

Hostel

Minimum $29/night PLUS FOOD

Where to look for long-term accommodation?

Online resources

Apartmentlove

Craigslist Victoria

Facebook Marketplace

Kijiji Victoria

Places4Students

Rentals.ca

Used Victoria

Zumper

Facebook groups can be a useful resource.

UVic Off Campus Housing

UVic Off-Campus Group

Victoria, BC Rental & Housing Market Resource

Hire a realtor to help you find a place to rent or lease

This option could cost you $500-$700 CAD for one time service fees. If you are interested in this option we suggest finding a realtor through the Victoria Real Estate Board.  

Important: Please be aware that off-campus accommodation options are not verified by UVic for legitimacy or quality. Therefore it is important that you or someone you trust views the accommodation in person.

You must read and understand the tenancy agreement carefully, understand the terms and be fully responsible for the terms of the agreement before you sign. The Government of British Columbia has a fact sheet that outlines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

Please be aware that there can be fake rental ads posted on websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and UsedVictoria. If you are asked to send the landlord, property manager, or potential roommates any money before you can visit the rental in-person, or before you sign a Residential Tenancy Agreement, you should be extremely cautious because it is likely a scam. To learn more about how rental scams work and how to protect yourself click here.  

What is the average monthly rental costs in Victoria?

Studio apartment: $1323

One-bedroom apartment: $1660

Two-bedroom apartment: $2075

Room in a shared house: $800

(Zumper)

What to look for when viewing a potential rental suite:

When you are viewing a place to rent, look for these very important elements:

  • Think about location (bus stop/grocery store)
  • Strong locks on all doors and windows
  • 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 off and on and make sure water doesn’t drip after you turn it off
  • Clean carpet (carpet must be cleaned before you move in)
  • Pet policy (check if pets are allowed )
  • Neighbourhood (does it seem safe)
  • Level of noise (open the windows and noise level from traffic

Look for water damage (yellow or brown stains on ceiling or walls) and mouse droppings. Do not rent if you see these things. If you look at a basement suite, make sure it is not damp or too dark.

Housing Advertisement and Rental Terminology

  • Appl/appliances – stove, refrigerator (fridge) and dishwasher
  • Apt – apartment
  • Bdrm or Br – bedroom(s), bedrooms are separate from kitchen and living area
  • Bsmt – basement, below the main floor of a building; in the bottom part of house
  • Close to amenities – location is near bus, school, store etc.
  • Common/shared laundry- other people in the house use the laundry area
  • F – prefer female occupant only
  • F&s – fridge and stove
  • Furnished – has furniture
  • Hydro – electricity
  • Gdn lvl: garden level, basement suite
  • Kitchenette – small kitchen
  • M - prefers male renter
  • Month to month – no long term commitment required for renting
  • n/d – non-drinker of alcohol
  • n/p – no pets
  • n/s – no smoking
  • prkg – parking
  • prt ent – private entrance
  • r&b or room and board – cooked meals provided
  • ref – references required
  • Self-contained- complete, has everything that is needed (kitchen, laundry etc.)
  • Shared bath – other people in house/apartment use the bathroom
  • Sublet – to take over someone else’s lease, for a short period of time (ie. Summer)
  • Unfurnished – renter must have their own furniture (no furniture)
  • Utilities included (incl util) – no additional cost of electricity, water, heat etc. will be charged monthly
  • Year lease – commitment of paying rent and staying in place for a year

Learn your rights and responsibilities before signing a tenancy agreement

You are probably very excited about finding your new home while you study at UVic, but make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities before signing a tenancy agreement.

We strongly recommend that you visit the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC) website to read the “Tenant Survival Guide. TRAC also offers a free online Renting it Right course in partnership with the Justice Education Society, which is a great introduction to renting housing in BC.

The Residential Tenancy Branch of the Government of British Columbia is another good resource for more information.

If you have a conflict or dispute with your landlord, you can also consult with the UVic Ombudsperson.

Three important things need to happen 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 fill out a checklist and document the condition of your home before your move in and when you move out.

Sign 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 hardcopy 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.

Security Deposit or Damage Deposit

  • Security Deposit or damage deposit secures the tenancy for you and for your new landlord. Once you have paid this deposit your landlord cannot rent the unit to someone else and you have committed to moving into the unit. The maximum a landlord can charge is half a month’s rent. For more information,  visit the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre website.

Educational Resources

Municipal bylaws and community standards

Students living off campus in the Greater Victoria Region can learn about traffic, parking, garbage and recycling, safety standards, and being a responsible community member on the Office of Student Life website.

Students living on campus can learn about conduct and community standards on the Residence Services website.

Tenant insurance

We advise that you insure your possessions against theft, fire, and other damage.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing where you want to live

What type of accommodation should I choose?

  • Choosing the accommodation that is right for you can be a challenge and also it is easy to feel overwhelmed. First, think about your needs – for example, do you plan on using the bus, biking or will you be getting a car? Would you need a place to park your car? Do you need to be close to campus? Its important to think of the pros and cons of each place.  This worksheet from Renting It Right is a great resource to help you make the right decision for you!!

How do I know what I can afford and how can I budget for my bills?

  • It is so important for you to estimate how much rent you can afford, before you start looking for a place to call home. Preparing a budget will help you determine how much rent you can afford. This worksheet will help you determine that. 

Visiting a potential rental

When I go and view a rental, what are some questions I should ask the landlord? 

It is important to go to a rental viewing prepared with some key questions that will help you gain more information about the place you are viewing. Here are some key questions you should ask when you are viewing a place for the first time. 

  • How much is the rent per month? How much is the security deposit?
  • Are any utilities included in the rent? 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, long-term visitors, etc.
  • Is there a minimum duration for the tenancy?
  • How long does it take to get to UVic? How far away are the nearest bus stops?
  • Where are the nearest grocery stores, shopping centres, and other amenities?
  • 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? Can it be controlled inside this unit or room?
  • If there is an outdoor area, who is responsible for maintaining it?
  • 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?

Is it ok to view a suite alone or should I take a friend with me?

  • Victoria is a safe place, but it important to think about your personal safety.  We recommend going to view places with a friend or classmate so you are not alone.  Plus, if English is not your first language your friend may be able to help you understand and help you ask the questions you need to make the right decision.

Scams

I am looking for a place to live off campus. How can I determine if the advertisement or listing is legitimate or if it is a scam?

  • It is often very hard to determine if a listing is legitimate without actually meeting the landlord or viewing the property. University endorsed platforms like Places4Students are always safer, yet not guaranteed. Craigslist, Kijiji Victoria, Facebook marketplace and Facebook groups often have legitimate listings, however you need to be more careful of scams and people trying to take your money. Never send money to someone you have not met and never pay a deposit before you have signed an agreement and viewed the accommodation. If you think something is wrong, trust yourself and ask yourself these important questions:
  • Is the rent really low compared to similar listings in the area?
  • 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?
  • Is the landlord saying that they are unable to show you the unit and not willing to arrange an in-person viewing? Or does the landlord seem excessively eager to rent to someone?
  • Are they asking you to mail or send your deposit electronically prior to viewing the listing and agreeing on the arrangement?
  • Does the landlord seem pushy and do they want you to pay immediately electronically prior to viewing the listing and agreeing on the arrangement?

The key is trust your instincts. Ask questions and do not send money to anyone you have not met.

Trouble finding housing

I have been looking and I can not find an apartment or place to rent that I like. What should I do?

  • It can be a challenge finding a place to call your home while you study at UVic. Be prepared and have a plan in place if this happens. International Student Services is here to support you through this process but the plan starts with you. Make a list of your options:
    • Can you stay with relatives or close friends?
    • Are you able to afford short-term accommodation (Airbnb, VRBO or a hostel) while you are looking for a place to live long-term?
    • Have you thought about compromising on your wants? Maybe you cannot have your perfect place right away, but maybe you could rent a place on a short-term basis (e.g. month to month) while you look.
    • Have you looked at all the resources provided on this website?
    • Visit the campus and look on the bulletin boards in the SUB.
    • Do not hesitate to contact International Centre for Students if you require more assistance and need support!!

Financial planning

Tuition and student fees

Students who do not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status are required to pay international tuition fees at UVic.

The tuition fee estimator is a helpful tool for predicting tuition and student fee amounts based on your program of study. However, your actual tuition and student fee amounts will depend on both your program of study and your course registration.

Please note that you will not receive invoices for your tuition and student fees.

Once you have registered for a term, a summary of your tuition and student fees will be available in your UVic student account, which you can access through Online Tools > Student Services > Finances.

When you add or drop a course, allow 24 hours for your UVic student account to be updated.

Instructions for how to pay your tuition and student fees are available on the Tuition, fees and budgeting page.

If you are sponsored by an organization who will pay your tuition and student fees directly to UVic, please visit the Tuition page for information on third-party billing.

Fee deadlines are available in the UVic Calendar.

Reminder: Be sure to pay your tuition and student fees on time. A penalty service charge will be added for late payments. Failure to pay tuition and student fees on time may also result in cancellation of course registration and denial of services. 

If you have more questions about tuition and payment methods, please contact .

Exchange students:  While at UVic, you will pay tuition fees to your home university, but you will be responsible for paying all other student fees to UVic.

Graduate degree-seeking students:  More information about tuition and fees is available on the Graduate Studies website.

Tuition and student fees do not include the cost of textbooks, course materials, and other supplies associated with your program of study.

Living expenses

Living expenses include housing and utilities, food, clothing, personal care, and recreation for you and any family members who accompany you to Canada.

Costs associated with living in British Columbia (BC) are available on the Employment and Social Development Canada website. Look for the table that outlines student living allowances for the most recent year. This could be a helpful tool for predicting living expenses, but keep in mind that your actual living expenses will depend on your lifestyle and the choices you make.

We recommend setting aside some additional money for unexpected costs.

Financial assistance

Awards available to international students studying in Canada are listed on the International Scholarships website.

Visit the Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) website for information about scholarships, bursaries, and other funding opportunities available to international students at UVic.

Graduate degree-seeking students:  More information about funding opportunities is available on the Graduate Studies website.

Employment

As an international student, your primary purpose in Canada must be to study, and you must be able to cover all the costs of your studies without relying on employment income.

However, there are some specific options available for gaining work experience in Canada as an international student.

Visit Working in Canada for information about work authorization, finding work, applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), and filing an income tax return.

Please make sure you understand the restrictions associated with working in Canada, and never work without the proper authorization.

Working in Canada when you are not authorized may result in enforcement action taken by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It could also negatively impact your current temporary resident status and any future applications you make under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations.


If you have questions about any of the information on this page, please contact the International Centre for Students (ICS) team.

Last updated:  November 2021