Accommodation in Canada for international students is usually provided by the learning institution itself. Most colleges and Universities in Canada have some form of accommodation that they provide to their students, where the students of the first year are prioritized. They need to be taken care of the most. This is a great option, as it helps you reach many people, be close to where your classes will be held, and make new friends – all essential during your stay on campus.

When it comes to the accommodation itself, foreign students in Canada can expect to be placed in dormitories or dorm rooms, which are either single or shared. When it comes to these, it is easy to conclude that at least some of the spaces will be shared. The kitchen, the living room, the sports room, if there is one, etc. are usually shared. This is the most common model of accommodation available to foreign students and one of the best ways to stay through your first couple of semesters.

There are on-campus residences and off-campus residences. Those described above are usually on-campus residences, while the latter kind is usually in the form of apartments that you can rent by yourself or with your friends. Beware that some of these may be cheaper than on-campus accommodation. You should also understand that they may also be further away from instruction buildings and other amenities that you may need to have close access to as a student.

Finding On-Campus Student Accommodation in Canada

The cheapest accommodation in Canada for international students could be the furthest away from the University or college buildings. If you are considering getting this kind of student accommodation, you need to be aware that you will need to consider all the added costs of living further away from the campus. These include the transportation costs (especially if you have your car, in which case, you should consider the cost of fuel and parking), as well as the time that is lost in the commute.

The busses may not always be the most punctual, and you may also need to consider the time spent cooking for yourself, as it will be difficult getting to student restaurants if you live further away. You may also need to consider the time lost during the transportation itself. Sure, you can listen to an audiobook while on a bus, but this does not always cut it.

For this reason, we recommend you stay on campus. The extra cash you spend will be the cash you can save on transportation and time lost. And losing 1 hour per direction per day during the peak hours, or having to walk in rain and snow during winter is not that smart. Sure, you will have a good chance to get to know the city better, but this will mean knowing the campus a bit less than you should. We recommend you consider on-campus accommodation and possibly start looking for a part-time job, which can be found – on the campus.

Finding Off-Campus Student Accommodation in Canada

Accommodation in Canada for new immigrants is not that easy to find, even if you are an international student. It is difficult to find a place to live in Canada to begin with. You may have to spend a considerable time looking for a good place to stay, and, to save money, we recommend you share the costs with somebody. That somebody could be your colleague or friend. In general, we do not recommend you mix with adults, especially foreign ones. Cultural boundaries and age gaps do not go well together.

What Is a Subletting Student Accommodation

Yet another thing you can do when looking for a place to stay is subletting. Subletting is when a person (a signer on the lease) allows you to take the place over for a while and to live there instead of them. This is usually done by students of older years in colleges and Universities and is perfectly legal, for as long as there are no restrictions to subletting in their initial contract. When it comes to subletting, this is a great way to find temporary accommodation (up to a few months) but we do not recommend it for longer runs or as a permanent solution for you. If you are an international student visiting Canada for a single semester or a school year (approximately 9-10 months), this is still appropriate for you.

Renting Homestays Student Accommodation

Student Accommodation in Canada also comes in one more form: homestays. Although not nearly as popular among college and University students as the on-campus and off-campus accommodation, it is still worth noting that many students use this kind of accommodation during their school year in Canada.

The idea behind homestay student accommodation is that students stay with local Canadian families. This way, they can experience the language and the foreign (Canadian) culture from within a home itself, and they can have a great experience in doing so. They get to spend a considerable time with their host family. This includes the holidays (if they decide to stay in Canada and not go home) and most of the time during the year. This is a popular option among students coming to Canada for secondary education (high school education).

Important Considerations While Selecting an Accommodation in Canada

While homestays are usually not expensive, it is important to consider that the kind of accommodation you will be staying in will have a big say in how good your stay in Canada will be. Finding the right people to surround yourself with will have a big say in what kind of time you will have in any type of context, so it is important to choose wisely. And while you may do all you can to provide the best possible experience for yourself, it is clear that some things are outside of your scope of influence: you cannot choose the pricing or your roommates, after all.

However, let’s see what you can do with the things you can influence and how they can influence your stay in this beautiful country:

  • The budget
  • Starting the search for a place to stay early enough
  • Seeking assistance when necessary and also knowing whom to contact
  • Being thoughtful and aware of what your needs are
  • Using online resources for the research
  • Remembering the key aspects of your stay in Canada

Plan Your Budget

Planning your budget will be of utmost importance even before you arrive in Canada. Remember that you will really need to have just enough money to even get the visa, so consider this money when applying for one. You will need to be able to support yourself during your stay in Canada, and you will need to consider that different forms of accommodation will come with different pricing.

Larger cities will have very high housing costs, even for students. This being said it is clear that staying away from city centres and large cities will be cheaper. Staying off-campus or further away from one will also make a big dent in the budget you need to dedicate to your accommodation. Be frank about the money you have and be ready to find a part-time job if you need to secure a better living spot for the next few years of your life.

Start Your Search Promptly

How to find accommodation in Canada for international students? Start early enough. We cannot stress this enough. When it comes to the best time to start looking for a place to stay in Canada, it is best to contact your University and see what they can do to help you find a place to stay. Usually, as a student in the first year, you will be able to be prioritized for the on-campus accommodation, but this may not always be the case, or all the vacancies may be full already.

In this case, a good practice would be to contact some older students and see what advice they have for you. Maybe they know someone whose lease is about to expire or somebody spending a year abroad and looking for someone to sublet the apartment to. The more people you contact the better. While looking for a place to stay, avoid shady Internet websites that may ask for money or payments with no signatures, no security deposit, etc. These are usually scams, so be realistic about what is being offered and at what prices.

When Necessary, Seek Assistance

When looking for a place to stay, you will need help. You will also need help to find your way around campus, to purchase healthcare insurance, the SIM card, and your Internet plan. Find someone you can trust, and ask for help. People will generally very gladly help you and will try to make your moving to Canada a breeze when it comes to the paperwork and similar things. Never forget that locals know a lot about things that you still have to learn about, so rely on them as much as you can. Canadians are known to be very polite and helpful.

Be Thoughtful

Needless to say, there are a lot of conpersons trying to make a quick dollar or two on the back of those who are fresh in Canada. When it comes to these, you will need to be careful at all times, check and recheck everything you read online or have been told in person, and never make a payment unless you are positive about the company and the people working in it. These cons come in many shapes and forms.

On the other hand, not everything will be a scam, but it may be overpriced or otherwise of a lower quality or quantity than you would like or need. A good example is SIM cards or SIM chips sold to students at discounted prices. These usually include long contracts that are difficult to get out of. They may also include a low number of gigabytes of Internet traffic (which is what you need most of), especially for the price that they are sold at. You are much better off checking in with the providers themselves first before falling for eye-catching slogans aimed at students.

Useful Online Platforms for Research

When moving somewhere, first of all, find good websites that present the apartments in the area and their costs. Start your research here and try to find online reviews. You should do this for every single place you are interested in, and do not forget to be thorough and to seek multiple sources to confirm all that you read. In addition to this, the alumni networks, social networks, and Facebook groups are all amazing sources of contacts and information on accommodation in any Canadian city.

Remember the Key Aspects

Some of the key aspects during your studies are how close you are to campus, a possible workplace, and the places that you would like to be close to. When it comes to these, you will have to make a list of all the priorities you have, and then be realistic about those that may be of essence to you. Be ready to sacrifice some, but to pay for others, but getting all of them together in one place and one apartment may be too difficult to find.

How To Find Accommodation in Canada for International Students?

If you want to learn how to manage your finances in Canada, you will first have to learn how to find accommodation that is appropriate for you and your budget. This way, the first lesson has been learned already. Not all accommodation is valued fairly, and you may have to learn to find a balance between pros and cons to ensure you get to enjoy the most benefits. However, finding even a place like this can be challenging, so let’s have a look at some ways that you can use to find accommodation for students in Canada:

  1. Contact your University and ask about their on-campus accommodation
  2. Contact your University and ask about their off-campus accommodation
  3. Contact your University and ask for their online resources for student accommodation – many Universities and colleges have online pages dedicated to vacant accommodation ads. Here, you can find a lot of affordable offers for students of all ages and grades
  4. Search online for verifiable ad pages on student-friendly accommodation
  5. Search social networks to see what you can find on different vacant apartments, student houses, student accommodation units, subletting chances, etc.
  6. If already in Canada, go through printed media as well. Although not as often as a decade or two ago, there are still pages of ads on rental units available

Check Out How To Find a House In Canada For International Students:

Temporary Student Accommodation

In any case, once in Canada, it is advisable you first find temporary accommodation. This way, you can spend some time in this accommodation while looking for something more permanent. Temporary accommodation is something we always advise. The alternative would be to find a place for long-term accommodation even before you come to Canada. This can be dangerous and tricky, especially if you are expected to pay a deposit, security deposit, or anything else before even seeing the place.

Airbnb and are our choices. These two platforms are very popular, and they allow you to see what options you have for renting a place. You can also see the pictures, testimonials (passport-verified), as well as lists of amenities that are of service to you. In addition to this, you will also know the exact address and you usually have a form of insurance with each booking.

When it comes to some other options, there are motels (cheapest), hostels (mid-priced), and hotels (not-so-high-end experience for a high-end price). All of these can serve as temporary accommodation, but make sure you get to stay in them for a limited time only, as they can get very pricey. One night to spend there before continuing to your city in the morning is one thing, but spending a month in a hotel is simply not worth the dime.

How To Settle Deposits for Student Accommodation?

Before you move into your new place, you will need to provide a deposit for that apartment, often called the security deposit. When it comes to the deposit amount, it is usually as low as half a month’s rent or as high as 2-3. This depends on the condition the apartment is in, to begin with, and depending on the preferences of the landlord.

The security deposit is used when you leave the apartment to cover the expenses of fixing anything that has been broken. It can also be used to fix any damage to the property or to clean or repaint the place. When it comes to this, the amount that is withheld from the security deposit is equal to the damages that have been done to the property. Still, it is necessary to understand how this damage functions and how the money from the security deposit is used to pay for these damages.

When it comes to issues that you may have, it is clear that the landlord (the holder of the security deposit) will have to return the deposit before you leave the apartment or on the last day of your lease. However, some may try to use the situation and your young age to keep the deposit, keeping 1-3 months’ worth of rent without an actual need to do so. For this reason, to avoid being scammed, we recommend the following:

  • When moving in, make sure your parents are around, if possible
  • Take your smartphone and take photos of any stains on walls, or damage to the property or the furniture. Also, take photos of any fixtures that seem to not be working right, photos of any damage to the flooring, the painting job, decorations (if any), etc
  • Inform the landlord about any potential damage in person (as they should be there). Also, inform them over email – sending an email with specifications of the damage and pictures of it will leave a written trace that you can rely on later on during the lease
  • Make sure to read through the lease agreement and pay special attention to the small print on damages and how they are handled. Usually, the landlord will be responsible for all the damages to the apartment, including light bulbs, and over time, you will be taking over more and more responsibilities, as per the contract
  • During your lease, the landlord should invest reasonable effort to remove any damage that you have noticed. You may be responsible for some damage if it was a direct influence of you not knowing how to handle the appliances or by force exerted by you (pay attention to the landlord’s possessions – act with them as if they were your own, this is a simple idea of being a responsible young adult)
  • On the day you are moving out, your parents should be present and should recheck the apartment and all the damage with you and the landlord themselves. We do not insinuate that EVERY landlord will try to take advantage of you, but few may. Having the pictures taken before you moved in and after will help you resolve any disputes
  • If the security deposit is high and the landlord does not want to give it back, you will have a written trace (emails) that you have informed the landlord of the damage BEFORE you moved in. Therefore, you will not be responsible for the damage. Please beware that there are also students who may try to trick their landlords, and do not be one of them. The landlord may also have pictures of the place and may keep the security deposit if the apartment is not returned to its original shape upon you leaving the place

At all times, be reasonable and respectful. Disputes and misunderstandings do happen. For this reason, stay aware that you may need to work your way to the landlord. Establish a good rapport with them and be willing to work things out and resolve any issues with the deposit.

Know Your Rights Before Looking for Student Accommodation

When it comes to the rights and responsibilities of you as the tenant, you are not the only one that has them. When it comes to the landlord’s rights and responsibilities, they have them as well. For example, they can ask about your income (at least an approximate one). You may choose to show a bank statement to prove that you do have the funds to cover the rent. On the signage of the lease, they do have the right to ask for the first and the last rent immediately, and in some provinces only the first.

Check out your contract/lease and make sure you understand everything written there. When it comes to your responsibilities as the tenant, you should keep the place in good condition, clean, free of smoke and pets (if required by the contract). You should also follow all other responsibilities and conditions outlined in the contract. When it comes to the landlord, they should equip the place with all the necessities, such as a kitchen, water heater, stove, oven, refrigerator, etc. They should be available for larger maintenance works and upkeep. You must inform them of any major appliance malfunction, or structural issues to the building and the furniture in it.

Another common misunderstanding is your right to end the lease early. In most provinces, this is possible, but only if there is a good reason for this. For example, you may want to consider moving to a different city or province for professional or academic reasons. The rental property may have structural issues or issues with appliances, etc. that may deem life in it too uncomfortable (heating not working is a common example). Also, you may have dropped out of school and will be returning to your home country. Although you do have the right to end the lease early, you also have a responsibility to use the right responsibly and to respect the landlord and the contract/lease.

Taxes and Utilities Included in Student Accommodation

When it comes to taxes in Canada, your income made in Canada will be taxed, just like any other income would be, and just as any other person would be taxed. However, it is important to note that you do NOT pay the taxes on the property and that this is the responsibility of the landlord. In addition to this, the landlord will have to pay taxes on their rental income and do so in such a way as has been outlined by the CRA – Canada Revenue Agency.

When it comes to the utilities, it should be clearly outlined (in the lease itself) which utilities you will be paying and which are already included. In some leases, you are responsible for your own electric and Internet provider bills, with all other utilities included in the rent. Make sure to understand all other costs that you may be required to cover during your stay in the place, but you should be able to find them all in the contract.

Insurance for International Students

Insurance for international students is not that common, but you may want to take it out. While some countries include student insurance in the tuition fees themselves, others may offer an option that students can opt in or out of. Some may offer it only to the students living in the University’s or college’s residence. These packages usually include contents coverage, personal liability coverage, and additional living expenses (to be claimed only if during an insured case, you have to seek temporary accommodation).

Cost of Living for International Students in Canada

The cheapest place to live in Canada depends only partly on the place you live in and mostly on your lifestyle. You could move into a very affordable area, have a scholarship and grants, and still spend more on going out every year than others spend for their entire cost of living in a more expensive area. For this reason, we recommend that you always take care of your expenses. Be reasonable with the money and possibly look for a part-time job, either as an additional source of income or simply to meet more people and form more friendships. However, there is more to the cost of living of international students in Canada, so let’s consider some larger cities.


One of the best cities to live in Canada, Toronto is a University city. Toronto is on the expensive side of the cities in Canada, but it offers you access to some legendary, high-rating institutions of learning. Toronto is expensive to live in, but you can check out Kingsview Village, The Annex, Dufferin Grove, and Clairville for some more affordable options.


Main Street, East Van, Chinatown, and Commercial Drive are some of the most popular parts of Vancouver. Known to be one of the most expensive cities in Canada, Vancouver will be a challenge for most students to live in. Still, the universities are very good and internationally recognized and the city offers accommodation to students at a price of between CAD900 and CAD1,300 a month.


The Downtown area, Old Montreal, and Griffintown are all good places for students to start looking for accommodation in Montreal. Although the city is more expensive than the surrounding area, it still offers plenty of good Universities, such as the University of Montreal, Concordia University, and McGill University. This being said, you should consider this as a possible place to live and study.


Downtown, Beltine, Brentwood, and Kensington are the most popular areas for students to look for accommodation in. When it comes to these areas, they are relatively affordable, too, with rent options from CAD600 to CAD1,400. The University of Calgary and the Mount Royal University are both very famous.


What Documents Do International Students Need to Rent an Apartment?

Landlords in Canada can ask for some documents to prove that you are a student and that you can pay for the place you are trying to rent. When it comes to this, it is clear that you will need to have proof of enrollment, bank statements, references, and identification documents. The landlords cannot ask you any questions about your origin, nationality, religion, etc.

Is Canada Costly to Live In?

Yes, Canada can be very costly to live in. Accommodation is particularly expensive, especially considering that Canadian university tuition fees are very costly. When it comes to tuition fees, you can look for grants and scholarships to help offset a part of the expenses. For the accommodation itself, you should be ready to cash out some CAD600-CAD1,400 per month for a simple rental unit.

Is Canada Expensive for Indian Students?

Studying in Canada can be expensive, but there are scholarships and grants that you can use to offset some, if not all, of these costs. An average school year in a Canadian post-secondary school will cost CAD7,000-CAD35,000. You should add the cost of accommodation (CAD600,1,400 per month), and all other expenses, including utilities and food to these, to get the final cost of living in Canada for Indian students.

How Much Is an Apartment Rent per Month?

The average rent for students in Canada depends on several factors, such as the province that you would like to move to, the city that would live in, and the size of the rental unit itself. In general, as a student, you can expect to pay some CAD600-1,400 per month for an average rental unit depending on the above factors. You should consider that units closer to the campus or on campus itself will be more expensive compared to those in other areas of the city.

What Is The Cheapest Accommodation in Canada for International Students?

The cheapest accommodation for international students in Canada depends on the area and the part of the city that you would like to stay in. While some may find that the on-campus accommodation is the cheapest for them, others may find that the cheapest option for them is a shared apartment far away from the campus. When looking for temporary accommodation, it is clear that hostels, Airbnb, and are very affordable, especially for short-term accommodation, while you are looking for a place to stay during your studies.

Final Thoughts

Student accommodation in Canada is a bit expensive. For this reason, it is best to be aware of what your exact needs are and to ensure that you get to pay and enjoy what you need. At the same time, as an international student in Canada, you should be aware that there may be some differences in how accommodation is organized in Canada. Also, you should be aware of both your rights and responsibilities. Our guide aims to provide you with enough knowledge on the topic of accommodation so that you can make your own informed decisions and avoid being scammed for your money.