Living Off Campus

Focal_OffCampusHousing_web

Deciding Where to Live

Neighbourhood cultures, living costs and transit routes are important factors when looking for housing. UBC is served by 13 bus routes with connections to destinations throughout Metro Vancouver. All full-time students receive a reasonably priced TransLink U-Pass that provides unlimited travel on bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus. The cost of the pass is included in university fees.

West Side (15 -20 minutes by bus)

  • Neighbourhoods include Kitsilano (“Kits”), Point Grey, Dunbar/Southlands, Arbutus Ridge, and University Town (University Endowment Lands).
  • “Kits” is fashionable, has many apartments, and is close to the beach.
  • Point Grey and Dunbar/Southlands have many basement apartment suites.
  • Arbutus Ridge and Kerrisdale have many single-family homes and apartment buildings.

West End (35+ minutes by bus)

  • Apartment rentals located in downtown Vancouver.
  • Trendy, close to beaches, and Stanley Park.

East Vancouver (40+ minutes by bus)

  • Commercial Drive and Mount Pleasant are vibrant and trendy neighbourhoods.
  • Apartments tend to be less expensive.

Vancouver suburbs (up to 90 minutes)

  • Cities include Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, and Surrey.
  • Within commuting distance if you have a car or live near transit.
  • Less expensive.

Consider Costs

Rents vary greatly depending on apartment location, age and condition. It is generally more expensive to rent in a condominium building than an apartment building. Keep in mind, these are only general guidelines.

Housing Type Rental Average
Shared with roommates $700
Bachelor/studio $900
One bedroom $1,050
Two bedroom $1,300
Three bedroom $2,050

Additional costs might include:

  • Cable TV, Internet, and landline telephone.
  • Security deposit (one-time cost).
  • Apartment furnishings.
  • Laundry, parking, food, and entertainment.
  • Tenant insurance. BCAA is one option.
  • Vehicle transportation, such as parking, car insurance, and gas.

Finding a Place

There are many ways to search for an apartment in Vancouver—from Internet sites to newspapers, notice boards to telephone services. Where to find notice boards at UBC:

  1. Student Union Building, basement level
  2. This off-campus housing notice board is managed by the Alma Mater Society. Vacancies are updated weekly.

  3. Graduate Student Society, main floor foyer
  4. This off-campus listing service is primarily for graduate students.

  5. International House
  6. This notice board is mainly for international students who are seeking accommodation with Canadian families in the Vancouver area.

Here are some other sources to browse:

After You Find a Place

1. Deposit and documentation

  • Get details of your rental agreement in writing.
  • Take photos to document any existing damage or repairs needed before you move in. If the landlord says something will be repaired or cleaned before you move in, write this down in the agreement.
  • Make sure both you and your landlord have a copy of all the agreements you have signed. If you make any changes to the documents, both you and your landlord should initial next to each change.
  • Prove that you paid. Pay by cheque or money order, or get a receipt if you pay in cash.

2. Furnishings
Most apartments are unfurnished, so you’ll need a bed, desk, sofa, kitchen table, and chairs. Try the following places for good deals:

  • Salvation Army Thrift Stores
  • Value Village
  • Classified ads in newspapers
  • Craigslist
  • Garage and yard sales
  • Flyers posted in Student Union Building (SUB)

3. Apartment utilities
Most tenants need to contact BC Hydro to set up electricity and a communications company for TV, phone, and Internet service.

4. Laundry
Most rental apartments have shared laundry facilities. Neighbourhood laundromats are a good option too.

5. Tenant insurance
We advise that you insure your belongings against theft, fire, and other damage. You may choose to insure your belongings with any private insurance company or BCAA.

Short-term Accommodation

Some students may choose short-term accommodation while searching for a longer term apartment. Here are a few options:

Know Your Rights

We recommend you take time to review information on renting in Canada, leases, tenants’ rights, and dealing with landlords. Knowledge and preparation are key.