How Can I find short-term rental properties in Canada?


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International students are entering the front entrance to a short-term rental apartment in Canada.

Finding a short term rental is an important step in the housing journey for immigrants and international students who arrive in Canada.

Before finding their First long-term home in CanadaNewcomers require temporary housing while they settle into their new home. Find a job It’s time to settle down.

In many parts of Canada, it can now take as long as two months to find an affordable and suitable long-term rent.

According to a recent report, that’s due to fierce competition and historic low vacancy rates amid a rental housing crisis.

Short-term rentals are the most popular solution, and here’s what to know about how to find them:

Do your online research before you arrive

Airbnb is a popular short-term rental company that allows operators to rent out their homes or rooms.

The laws that govern short-term rental vary across Canada. For example, in Toronto,The initial short-term lease period must be less than 28 consecutive calendar days. So, check with the operator about the city’s bylaws and rules.

According to Statistics Canada the short-term rentals industry is thriving across British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, OttawaVictoria VancouverThe most popular Canadian cities to rent short-term apartments are listed below.

Accommodation in Canada & Options for Newcomers

How to Find Accommodation with Rentals in Canada for Newcomers

Edmonton skyline during winter at dusk.Edmonton skyline during winter at dusk.
It is easier to rent a short-term apartment in Canada when the demand is low.

Arrival is Important

There are busy seasons and slower seasons For short-term rental.

In general, the busiest seasons are spring and summer (March-August), and winter is the least busy.

Be aware that many rentals are also based on events.

Prices and rental availability change based on supply (and demand). Booking early will help you get the best price and ensure that you can rent a car.

While searching for a long term rental, a downtown location allows you to access public transportation and other services.

Location Matters

Renting a place for a few months in a city where you intend to live is a good strategy if you are unsure of the location you will be living. This allows you to explore the area and decide if it is suitable for you and family.

If you already know where you’ll be working, renting a home near your office can help you determine the cost and commute time.

A rental in or near a city’s downtown core allows you to look for your first long-term rental home in Canada and offers many benefits (though rental fees may be higher) such as access to:

  • Adjoining neighbourhoods

Make sure you do plenty of homework before you arrive. There are websites, videos, and webinars that describe neighbourhoods in many major Canadian cities. Pre-arrival settlement agenciesWe can also provide guidance before you arrive at Canada.

Prices for short-term rentals vary across Canada so research pre-arrival is importantPrices for short-term rentals vary across Canada so research pre-arrival is important
A recent survey found that it could take renters up to two months to find long-term rentals.

Short-term rental costs vary

Rental rates for short-term rentals in major cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver. CalgaryThe cost of living in large cities like Hamilton, Regina or Fredericton is higher. That’s a fact. You can search through many short-term rentals websites (see the list below) to find a rental that suits your budget.

Consider this: A recent survey by revealed that it can take Canadian renters up to two months to find an affordable, suitable rental.

Hopefully, that won’t be your experience.

Still, it’s vital to know that the Canadian long-term rental market is competitive, and The vacancy rate is at a historic lowMany cities are popular with students and immigrants.

Budget for your short term rental accordingly. You might stay longer than expected.

It’s also a smart strategy to follow rental housing trends and solutions in Canada before you arrive.

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Renting a short-term apartment: An example of the cost

The price of short-term rental varies in different cities and provinces.

A recent study has shown that there are still many unanswered questions. Ontario government short-term rental reportThe average DAILY rental rate for the Greater Toronto Area from January to April of 2024 was $114.32. That’s up 9.2 percent from the same months in 2023.

The average daily rate for the famous tourist area of Niagara was $194.44 during the same period.

According to the Ontario report the average rental rate per day in Canada was $159.88. That’s up 11.8 percent from 2023.

Remember that the demand for short term rentals is low from January to April.

Keep track of all your rental payments in order to build a good credit history.

Renting out your home in Canada?

When you arrive in Canada most financial transactions such as your short-term accommodation can help to Build your credit history. Keep track of both your rental payments AND the addresses for your rental(s).

It is also helpful to get a positive recommendation from a rental owner. Looking for long-term accommodationThe following are some examples of how to get started: impressing Canadian landlords.

Understanding the Cancellation Policy

All reputable short-term rental operators define and advertise their cancellation policies. Look for and review it before booking.

Ask questions if the rental company does not have a policy. Many operators, for example, have a 30-day policy on cancellations with a full reimbursement.

How can I find short-term rental properties in Canada?

Airbnb This is a popular and well-known short-term rental website with a strong presence on the rental market.

Many others do operate in Canada. Newcomers would be wise to research them.

You can also search for VRBO. HomeAway. Expedia. FB Groups. HostelWorld.

When looking for a short-term apartment on Kijiji or Craigslist, international students and immigrants to Canada should remember that these websites are classified ads and have been the home of rental scammers in the past.

Do your homework prior to renting through Kijiji and Craigslist. Also, be cautious when evaluating an ad on these sites.

Scam Alert is written on a yellow traffic sign.Scam Alert is written on a yellow traffic sign.
Beware of rental scammers who are active on classified listings sites.

Beware of Scams involving Short-Term Rentals

Scammers who target short-term rentals are most likely to target newcomers, international students and those with a student visa.

Scammers tend to post their rental ads on well-known sites like Facebook, Kijiji, or Craigslist. Scammers like classified sites because they are hard to regulate.

How to Protect Yourself From Scams

  1. If the price sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. You should walk away.

2. You’re asked to wire cash. Scam alert: Any request for money is a scam. Turn away.

3. You are unable verify the address. Leave the area.

4. The pictures of the rental don’t seem right or don’t match the price (meaning the property and the amenities are too impressive). You should walk away.

5. You’re unable to reconnect with the rental host. You should walk away.

6. You’re asked for too much personal information regarding banking and credit cards. Walk away.

Contact your Canadian bank if you are scammed.You can open an account if you already have one) and credit card provider to see if you can stop payment. You can report the scam to local police.

Renting a home is a must for newcomers before they arrive in Canada.

Action Plan for Newcomers

  • Use short-term rental as a starting point in your Canadian housing journey.
  • Rents in cities like Toronto and Vancouver are higher than the national average.
  • Understand local laws and research short-term rental properties before you arrive.
  • Renters beware!
  • Keep track of your rental payments in order to build a credit history.
  • Before you book, contact pre-arrival settlement agents.

SOURCES: Statistics Canada, Ontario Government,

Steve Tustin, the editor of Rentals for Newcomers, is also a contributing editor for Prepare for Canada. He is the former managing editor of and was a senior editor at both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

*Prepare for Canada used no AI-generated content in the writing of this story, and all sources are cited and credited where possible.

© Prepare for Canada 2024

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