UBC Student Housing Response to COVID-19

Last updated: Thursday, June 4 at 2:08 pm.

Along with UBC, Student Housing has implemented plans to provide the best possible accommodation for our residents given COVID-19 challenges and the fact that most classes will be held online during fall 2020. This website contains useful FAQs and resources, and is being updated regularly following advice from provincial and federal health agencies.

Health and safety remains our first priority and we continue to work closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines.

Residence for Term 1 (Fall)

Winter Session Residence (First Year)

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we will have limited residence options. We recognize some first-year students may need to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for qualifying students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be adjusted to abide by health authority guidelines.

If you need to live on-campus, please click here to learn more and complete the First Year Residence Eligibility Application by Saturday, June 13, 2020.

You may continue to submit applications to be considered based on availability. Applications submitted by the June 13 deadline will be prioritized.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year): Ongoing provision until further notice

UBC Student Housing will provide Winter Session accommodation for upper year and graduate students. Residence offers for September occupancy will be distributed by email beginning later in June. Once received, students will follow our normal protocol and will have a few days to accept and pay the first instalment of residence fees.

Year Round Residence: Ongoing provision until further notice

UBC Student Housing will continue to accommodate upper year and graduate students who call UBC home. We will continue to charge 2019-20 rental rates until further notice. Due to IT hurdles, we’ll do this by charging 2020-21 rates, and then crediting all accounts to bring the fee back to 2019-20 rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

General enquiries

Why are Year Round and some Winter Session residences open, but not all First Year residences?

First Year traditional residence facilities and programs are intentionally designed to be communal and emphasize shared experiences in shared spaces. In a typical year, most first year students live together in close quarters, eat together in large residence dining rooms, and spend time together in communal study, social and recreation rooms. Most first year residences have community bathrooms shared by 30+ people. While in normal circumstances these shared spaces are advantageous, they now make meeting physical distancing and other public health expectations overly challenging.

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we continue to have residence options. We recognize some first-year students may need to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. If you wish to live on-campus, please click here and follow the application instructions. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be limited to abide by health authority guidelines.

Upper Year residence generally houses upper year students, graduate students, and students with families. These apartments and townhouses are home to smaller groups of students and are more akin to a small household bubble.

Can I still apply for housing for Term 1? What are my options?/Tell me more about applying for Year Round Residence.

If you are a first year student, you may still be eligible to apply for housing for Term 1. Please visit this webpage.

If you are not a first year student and interested in either Year Round Housing or Winter Session Housing (Walter Gage, Fairview Crescent, Ritsumeikan-UBC House and Ponderosa Commons (Cedar) House), you can submit an application online. You must meet the eligibility requirements for these residences. You will be placed on a waitlist and offers will be dependent on availability. More information on this page.

I have concerns related to the payment of my residence fees, who can I contact for help?

If you would like to discuss short term payment deferrals, our Assignments team is here to help. Please see the list of emails below and contact the one most appropriate for your residence area.

If you’re facing financial hardship or have questions around your finances, speak to an Enrolment Service Advisor.

Will there be first year residence spaces for Term 2?

If classes are in person on campus for Term 2, depending on the safety protocols and guidelines as provided by the BC Provincial Health Authority, we anticipate some first year residence spaces to be available. Your application will remain on file and we will contact you with more information in the fall.

With most classes going online, what are the academic eligibility requirements to live in student housing?

Students will be required to be enrolled in at least 9 credits each term (in-person or online) to maintain their eligibility for student housing.

Tell me more about applying for Year Round Residence.

Student Housing offers over 5,000 Year Round Residence spaces in 8 different residence communities that feature a wide variety of room types and suite/studio configurations. Annual contracts began May 1, 2020. If you don’t require 12-months of housing, you may be able to sublet to another eligible UBC student. If you are interested in this type of accommodation, we recommend that you apply immediately.

If you receive and sign your contract offer, you can cancel later. We have waived our cancellation fee during this COVID-19 situation; you will only be charged up until the day you check-out of your residence room. We will not restore our typical cancellation fee without first notifying you so that you have a chance to cancel penalty-free, if you wish to do so.

If you receive a contract offer and decide not to accept it and request an alternate move-in date, we will maintain your position on our waitlist upon request. Please note, however, that demand for student housing remains high and continues to exceed our housing supply. As a result, we cannot guarantee you will receive another offer by September and it may be challenging for you to secure student housing. If you wish to change your move in date, please email us at yearround@housing.ubc.ca.

Where can I find more information about student supports and resources related to the COVID-19 outbreak?

Health and Safety

I’m sick, what should I do?

If you are ill and experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), we recommend that you visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website for the most up to date information about what to do if you’re sick. The site includes a link to the BC COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool that you can use to help determine if you need further assessment or testing.

Contact your Residence Life Manager to alert us of your situation, and we will outline supports for you.

I’m moving into UBC Student Housing in Fall 2020 and will need to quarantine (self-isolate) for two weeks. Can you help?

If you are arriving from outside of Canada, whether returning to campus or moving in for the first time, the Canadian Government requires you to quarantine (self-isolate) for two weeks. You cannot self-isolate in a shared unit in Upper Year residence or in a single room in First Year residence.

We may be able to offer students who have a Residence Contract with us a self-isolation suite either on-campus (depending on availability) or off-campus for the 14-day isolation period.

Options

On-Campus | UBC Conferences & Accommodations | Up until August 15 only
  • Available for isolation periods ending by August 15 only.
  • Rate: $69 + tax per day.
  • Suites include private bathrooms and cooking facilities.
  • No food services, but quarantining (self-isolating) guests can arrange to have grocery or meal delivery.
  • No housekeeping services will be provided during the stay, but extra linens will be placed in the room prior to arrival.
  • Residents may apply for Early Arrival into their assigned units (if available). Occupancy will begin upon completion of the required quarantine (self-isolation) period.
  • For more information and associated fees please email reservations@housing.ubc.ca.
On-Campus | UBC Conferences & Accommodations | Between August 15 and September 5
  • Premium hotel studio suites located on campus.
  • Rate: $69 + tax per day.
  • Suites include private bathrooms and cooking facilities.
  • No food services but quarantine (self-isolating) guests can arrange to have grocery or meal delivery to the hotel.
  • No housekeeping services will be provided during the stay, but extra linens will be placed in the room prior to arrival.
  • For more information and associated fees please contact reservations@housing.ubc.ca or 1-888-822-1030 (student number required).
On-Campus | UBC Student Housing | Between August 15 and September 5

If a resident is assigned to a studio or one-bed unit, they may inquire about its availability for Early Arrival by contacting information@housing.ubc.ca.

Off-Campus | Various Hotels

We are working with local hotels to put together self-isolation packages for students, and will include details once we have them available. You may also opt to stay at one of Vancouver’s many hotels throughout your self-isolation period.

What will happen if a resident contracts the virus while living in student housing?

A number of self-contained suites have been set aside for residents in the event of illness that may require self-isolation/quarantine support during the Fall 2020 term. If this occurs, we will work closely with Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure all safety precautions are taken for ill individuals and other residents. Student residents who are ill are asked to contact their Residence Life Manager for more information.

Will I be told if another person at UBC or on my floor/house/residence is diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19?

In the event of a confirmed case, information would be provided to the public by the relevant health agency, according to their protocols. Typically, contacts of confirmed cases would be contacted by public health to discuss precautions.

What Residence amenities have been adjusted in response to COVID-19?

We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, and help create a healthy, safer and supportive community environment. Key adjustments may include:

  • Communal/common spaces may be temporarily closed or have seating removed. This includes fitness, music, study and meeting rooms, along with outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Larger community building events and activities will not take place, including team sport activities, musicals and more.
  • There may be a reduced number of residents overall, and limited opportunities and support for building communities.
  • The Residence Meal Plan will be modified: less selection of food and physical distancing protocols mandated.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is recommending but not enforcing physical distancing. As Vancouver Coastal Health reminds us, they “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.”

How is residence supporting physical distancing, hygiene and health protocols?
  • Residence staff trained to refer residents with cold or flu-like symptoms to HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, Student Health Services or their own health care professional.
  • Limited number of self-isolation units set aside for residents who are not local and have been directed by their health professional to self-isolate.
  • Additional signage in community and public washrooms and throughout residence buildings reminding residents, staff and visitors to wash their hands. View all our SHCS Covid-19 signs, posters and decals to date.
  • Elevator protocols have been adjusted and guidelines have been posted.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers in each Commonsblock and the residence dining rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Fitness, music, study, meeting rooms as well as common spaces are either closed or have had seating removed.
  • Outdoor recreational areas are closed. Some outdoor courtyard spaces remain open, but with the reminder to maintain physical distancing.
What are preventative measures I can take?

The advice from health agencies is:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • If a sink is not available, 60-90% alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer) can be used to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol-based disposable hand wipe to remove the dirt and then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Do not touch your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow, and then wash your hands.
  • Stay home when you are ill to avoid spreading the illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.
  • If you are ill, have symptoms of flu like a fever or cough, you should stay home.
How will you ensure my student doesn’t get sick?

Student Housing is taking measures that align with guidance from health authorities and help create a healthy, safer and supportive community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal. Please appreciate that in a pandemic situation no one can ensure safety from sickness.

Offers

What Do I need to know before I accept my First Year Residence offer?

If you have received an offer, before you accept, we also want you to understand that, in light of the ever changing dynamics of COVID-19, it is not possible to offer you a “typical” residence experience. We ask that you adjust your expectations so that you can make an informed choice. We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, to help create a healthy, supportive and safe community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal.

Key adjustments include:

  • Our traditional residence Houses will be closed, reducing the first year community by 3,000 students. Only single rooms will be available.
  • Communal/common spaces may be temporarily closed or have seating removed. This includes fitness, music, study and meeting rooms, along with outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Larger, in-person community events and activities will not take place, including team sport activities, musicals and more.
  • There will be a reduced number of residents overall, and reduced opportunities for building communities.
  • The Residence Meal Plan will be modified: less selection of food and physical distancing protocols mandated in the dining room.
  • If you are arriving from outside of Canada, whether returning to campus or moving in for the first time, the Canadian Government requires you to quarantine (self-isolate) for two weeks. You cannot self-isolate in a shared unit in Upper Year residence or in a single room in First Year residence and must make a separate arrangement for this period. Please find additional details and options in the Health and Safety section above.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with the recommendations of public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is recommending but not enforcing physical distancing. As Vancouver Coastal Health reminds us, public health authorities “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.

Please find additional details and FAQs above.

What do I need to know before I accept my Upper Year Winter Session Residence offer?

If you have received an offer, before you accept, we also want you to understand that, in light of the ever changing dynamics of COVID-19, it is not possible to offer you a “typical” residence experience. We ask that you adjust your expectations so that you can make an informed choice. We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, to help create a healthy, supportive and safe community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal.

Key adjustments may include closing common spaces such as fitness, music and study rooms, or canceling in-person community building events and activities.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with the recommendations of public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is recommending but not enforcing physical distancing. As Vancouver Coastal Health reminds us, public health authorities “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.

Please find additional details and FAQs above.

If you are arriving from outside of Canada, whether returning to campus or moving in for the first time, the Canadian Government requires you to quarantine (self-isolate) for two weeks. You cannot self-isolate in a shared unit in Upper Year residence or in a single room in First Year residence and must make a separate arrangement for this period. Please find additional details and options in the Health and Safety section above.

Cancellations, refunds, waitlists and reapplications

Winter Session Residence (First Year)

We will retain your $50 application fee in the hope that we can apply it to a January (Term 2) Housing offer. If Term 2 is online, your application fee will be refunded.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year)

We will refund your $250 deposit fee if you cancel your offer no later than June 11, 2020. Otherwise, our normal cancellation procedure applies. For more information about cancellations and refunds visit this page.

If you would like your application to be eligible for a possible Term 2 Winter Session offer, please email information@housing.ubc.ca by October 30, 2020. We will prioritize your Winter Session application for a January 2021 offer based on availability.

Year Round Residence (Current)

We know you may be interested in or required to adjust your accommodation plans. As such, we’ve modified several policies:

  • The Year Round contract cancellation fee will be waived if you give us your notice of cancellation on or before June 18, 2020 and move out by July 15, 2020.
  • We will give you a pro-rated refund from the date you check out and return your keys to us if you give notice on or before June 18, 2020 and move out by July 15, 2020.
  • If you cancel your contract and want to reapply to Year Round Housing to be waitlisted for future vacancies, we will enter a complimentary new Year Round Housing application for you if you email us no later than June 18, 2020.
  • We have extended the typical summer subletting policy/procedure to December 22, 2020 (end of Term 1).
  • For more information about cancellations and refunds visit this page.
Year Round Residence (Applicants)

Waitlisted YRH applicants who cancel their application (or do not accept their residence offer) are not eligible for a refund of their $50 application fee. For more information about cancellations and refunds visit this page.

Why is the $50 Residence Application Fee non-refundable for upper year residents?

Residence application fees continue to be non-refundable because UBC is still offering student housing for upper year students. We are anticipating that a number of upper year students will continue to seek housing on campus for the fall term. As a result, we will be continuing to send residence offers for September, and our typical refund policy with respect to application fees will stand.

Exception: Residence application fees for First Year Residence (Winter Session) will be refunded only if we are unable to open First Year Residence by Jan 2021.

If I cancel my application can I maintain my place on the waitlist (original application date)?

Winter Session Residence

If you cancel your application, you will not maintain your place on the waitlist. Please contact us if you are only interested in a Term 2 offer. Please update your Winter Session application to preference only the residence areas and room types you will accept if offered.

Year Round Residence

If you cancel your application, you will not maintain your place on the waitlist. You are able to go online and adjust your preferred occupancy date.

If I decline an offer can I maintain my place on the waitlist?

Winter Session Residence

Typically not. Please update your Winter Session application to preference only the residence areas and room types you will accept if offered.

Year Round Residence

Typically not. Please contact yearround@housing.ubc.ca for more information.

Checking out of residence

If I’ve cancelled my contract and am no longer in Vancouver, what options are there to support me with removing belongings from my residence room to complete my checkout from residence?

There are many third party storage/moving companies located in Vancouver that can support you with the removal and storage of belongings that remain in your residence room. Some of these companies include:

Once you have secured a service to remove your belongings, you can complete a designated move-out form. This form allows you to note the contact information of a friend who can meet the storage/moving provider at your designated pick-up time and accompany them to your residence room. By completing and submitting this form, your residence front desk will grant your friend temporary access to your unit at the time of your move.

Please remember to return your keys once you have fully moved out of your residence room. If you are planning to mail your keys back to your respective residence front desk, the mailing address can be found on our Contact Us webpage.

If you are unable to find someone to meet a third party mover or have additional questions regarding how to fully check out of residence, please contact your Residence Life Manager.

Subletting

How does subletting work?

If you are a UBC Student and meet all eligibility factors, you may be able to sublet a space from a Year Round Housing resident. If you accepted a Year Round Housing contract, you may be able to sublet your space to another eligible UBC student. Find subletting guidelines, resources, required application form for authorization, and access to the UBC Sublet Forum on our subletting webpage.

Due to classes being mostly online during Term 1 (Fall), we have extended the typical summer subletting policy/procedure to December 22, 2020 (end of Term 1).

With most classes going online will I be able to sublet for non-academic related reasons for the school year?

Students will be required to be enrolled in at least 9 credits each term (in-person or online) to maintain their eligibility for student housing.

I am currently subletting my unit and my sublessee wants to stay there. Can I still cancel for the end of August?

You can submit a cancellation online at any point in time. However, to be exempted from normal cancellation fees and to receive a pro-rated refund, you must cancel by June 18, 2020 and your residence room must be vacated by July 15, 2020.

The sublet agreement is between you and your sublessee. Depending on the agreement you have in place with your sublessee, you may choose to discuss a contract termination arrangement.

Students who continue to seek on campus accommodation may be eligible for Summer Housing or sublet from another student living in residence. Please note, this year our typical subletting policy/procedure will be extended to December 22, 2020 (end of Term 1).

Spring and summer residence

Tell me more about Summer Student Housing.

All current UBC Student Housing residents are eligible for Summer Student Residence. In addition to the 700 spaces available at Fairview Crescent for spring/summer occupancy, we are now offering studio units in Ponderosa Commons Cedar House. This expanded inventory means residents interested in Summer Student Housing now have access to two residence communities and an increased variety of room types. Students who have already applied to Summer Housing and those yet to apply will both have access to these suites. We encourage current residents to apply online for Summer Student Housing as soon as possible. Summer Student Housing is available on a month-by-month basis, with rates starting at $28/day.

Where can I buy food/dine on campus this spring/summer?

UBCV Food Services is keeping Harvest, a small but mighty grocery market within Ponderosa Commons, open all summer. Tim Hortons (Forest Science Centre), Mercante and The Point will all be reopening in early May for tasty takeout service only. There are additional third-party food service amenities open on UBC University Boulevard Central and at nearby Wesbrook Village.

What is UBC Student Housing doing to help residents to find accommodation on campus this spring/summer?

We enhanced our Summer Student Housing inventory to include studio units in Ponderosa Commons Cedar House.

We will not be applying the annual rent increase that typically occurs in May. This represents a 2%–3% savings depending on unit type.

Additional Questions?

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Residence Life Manager who can direct you to help.

We also understand this is a challenging time for many and we are here to support residents. This support includes our Counsellors in Residence who remain available for students looking for support and opportunities to chat during these unprecedented times. Find out how to make an appointment.

If you’re facing financial hardship or have questions around your finances, speak to an Enrolment Services Advisor.