How to Find an Apartment in Vancouver

The high demand for Vancouver rentals can make finding a place to live seem daunting, but the process doesn’t have to be.

In this Remitly guide, we’ll explain how to find Vancouver apartments and give you tips on how to rent one you’ll love.

How to find apartments for rent in Vancouver

To find the best apartments Vancouver offers within your price range and ideal location, you’ll need to do some research, and both online and offline sources can help you discover great places to live.

Let’s dig into some of the ways to learn about available apartments in Vancouver.

Search online

Your favorite search engine is a great starting point for your apartment hunt, especially if you search for specific terms.

If you know what type of apartment you prefer or which area of the city you want to reside in, search for that specific term. For example, you may enter “apartments for rent North Vancouver” or “studio apartment Vancouver.”

In addition to conducting a general search, you can browse specific websites that feature apartment listings, such as:

These sites cater to people of all ages and backgrounds looking for apartments in Vancouver, and each one will likely have a unique mix of properties, making it worth checking them all out.

Depending on your situation, specialty rental sites and services may also be helpful.

There’s Off-Campus Housing 101 and Global Education City for students, Comfort Life and Senior Advisor for seniors, Rentals for Newcomers, and BC Charms for immigrants and refugees.

Check Facebook

The same social media site you use to stay connected with family and friends can also help you find a great Vancouver apartment.

Check out the Facebook Marketplace, where you can find landlords looking for renters, set up tours, and communicate about rentals all in one place.

Also, join Facebook groups dedicated to rentals in Vancouver and the city as a whole. Browse the posts for discussions about apartments or make one of your own, saying you’re looking for a place to live.

Go for a walk

While many Vancouver apartment rentals will be advertised online, not all vacant spaces will have listings.

Walking around neighborhoods you’d love to live in can help you discover hidden gems. As you walk, keep an eye out for signs advertising vacancies.

In some cases, you may be able to head inside and talk to a property manager right away. If not, call the number from outside to see if you can set up an appointment.

Ask around

Word of mouth can open the doors to rental opportunities. Talk to locals you already know and discuss your need for an apartment. They may already have some leads for you to explore; if they don’t, they’ll likely keep their eye out for prospective places.

Try asking around on social media, too. Join the Vancouver subreddit and get to know the community. You can also make posts about your apartment search on your social sites.

Hire a pro

If you’re short on time or struggling to find a place on your own, a rental broker may be your best bet.

Also called apartment brokers, rental brokers are like real estate agents, except they help people looking to lease and rent apartments rather than those hoping to buy and sell homes.

Great rental brokers build relationships with property management companies and can often access great apartments before they even get listed on the Internet.

Most brokers will also assist with the leasing process, acting as a go-between for the prospective tenant and the landlord.

In exchange for their services, rental brokers do charge fees. However, in some cases, the landlord may be responsible for paying them.

To find rental brokers, conduct an Internet search. Read reviews for top brokers and then contact a few to ask:

  • How long have you been a broker?
  • What are your areas of specialty?
  • What are your fees, and who pays them?
  • What are the benefits of choosing you as my broker?

Conducting quick interviews can help you find the best broker for your specific needs.

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Vancouver apartment rental tips

As you search for apartments in Vancouver, begin touring places, and start receiving lease agreements, keep the following tips in mind. Doing so will help ensure that the rental process goes smoothly and that the apartment you secure aligns with your needs.

What’s your budget?

Having a rough idea of how much you can afford to spend on rent each month is an important first step when renting.

To do so, set up a monthly budget that maps out how much you bring in and what you need to spend it on. Our guide on How to Make a Budget will walk you through the process step by step.

Start early

If you have a deadline for your move, start looking as soon as possible. Finding an apartment can take weeks or even months when demand is high.

College students looking to rent Vancouver apartments for off-campus housing may find it easier to look for a place beginning August 1 rather than September 1.

Getting a headstart can help you beat the rush and acclimate to life in Vancouver before classes begin.

Know what you want (and what you can part with)

Before searching for apartments for rent in Vancouver, make two lists: Must Haves and Nice to Haves.

In the Must Haves column, write the non-negotiable items—things that you’re not willing to do without. Then, jot down the things you’d appreciate having but could go without if necessary.

For example, you may need an apartment with an elevator or a ground-floor space if you have a mobility issue.

On the other hand, having a second bedroom for guests might be nice, but a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver would suffice if you can’t find an affordable place with two.

Find a roommate

Searching for a roommate can be an alternative to looking for an apartment. Many people who have already leased apartments may be looking for someone else to move in to make the rent more affordable.

Some sites let you quickly search for and discover roommates based on a variety of criteria, such as:

Consider subletting

Subletting is when you take over a lease from someone who needs to move out of their current apartment, and it can be a good way to snatch up a great apartment in Vancouver.

Sublet.com is the top site for finding subletting opportunities. Some of the general apartment rental and roommate sites above also allow you to search for sublets

Make a tenant resume

A tenant resume can be a great way to impress potential landlords right from the start. Basically, it’s a one-page document that includes:

  • A photograph of you
  • Your full name
  • Your phone number and email address
  • Information about where you live now
  • Details about why you’re looking for a place
  • Your rental history for the last 5 years
  • Your current employment situation, along with your income
  • Three or four references who can attest to your character

Along with the resume, prepare copies of your recent bank statements, pay stubs, and/or tax returns, as most landlords will request this information.

Beware of scams

While most of the apartment rentals advertised online are legitimate, there are scammers out there looking to take advantage of prospective renters.

To protect yourself, do some research before signing a lease. Look up the apartment building and the name of the landlord or property manager.

Be wary of landlords who use high-pressure tactics or extremely low-priced rentals. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it could be a scam.

Read contracts thoroughly

Once you have a lease copy, read the whole document carefully. Ask questions about confusing terms and ensure you understand what you’re agreeing to before you sign.

Have a deposit ready

In most cases, you’ll need to provide a security deposit when you sign the lease. Having the money saved ahead of time can help you seize the opportunity to reserve that Vancouver rental of your dreams

Know your rights

The BC Rental Tenancy Act gives people renting apartments in Vancouver certain rights. Becoming familiar with the law can help you advocate for yourself when negotiating with your landlord.

Some key things to know about the law include:

  • Security deposits are capped at half of a month’s rent. Landlords can charge an additional half of a month’s rent if you have one or more pets.
  • Landlords can only raise rents once during a 12-month period and only after notifying you 3 months in advance.
  • A dispute resolution process is in place that allows you to file a complaint if your landlord fails to make repairs or otherwise doesn’t adhere to the terms of a lease.

You can find a copy of the law here.

Short-term rentals in Vancouver

If the date you’re hoping to move by is fast approaching and you haven’t yet found the place of your dreams, consider securing a short-term rental.

Temporarily renting a place will allow you to settle into the city and experience it yourself. You may discover that you prefer a particular neighborhood due to its vibe or proximity to work or school.

Additionally, you may discover great apartments for rent through word of mouth once you relocate to Vancouver.

Some sites that make it easy to search for short-term rentals in Vancouver include:

Start your search for apartments for rent in Vancouver, BC

Vancouver’s picture-perfect location provides easy access for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the mountains and the beach.

The city is home to five public universities, and dozens of companies have their corporate headquarters there.

It’s no wonder so many people from all around the world are eager to move to Vancouver and are looking for apartments for rent.

Now that you know how to find Vancouver rental apartments, it’s time to start your search for that perfect place to live.

Once you’ve signed a lease, you can plan your international move, find a job, and open a bank account. As you prepare to relocate to Vancouver, don’t forget to download the Remitly app so you can send money back home to your loved ones quickly, easily, and affordably.

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