How to Find a Rental in Victoria
Everyone knows that finding housing in Victoria can be tough as a student. Maybe your first year at university is coming to a close and you’re starting to think about housing for next year, or maybe you’re transferring from another university and have no idea where to start looking for a rental or roommates.
I’ve been renting in Victoria since 2020 and have my fair share of rental, roommate, and landlord stories by now, so here’s my two cents about finding a rental in the city.
1. Start looking early
If you can, looking for a place as early as possible. Putting it out there that you’re looking for a place and preemptively searching is never a bad thing… looking early will keep your options more open and ideally avoid some last minute stress.
That being said, I do think that if you start looking early and aren’t having any luck, don’t be discouraged. In my experience most rental postings aren’t made until roughly a month or so before the move-in date, and so while looking early will definitely give you a leg up, don’t panic if you haven’t found anything 3-4 months before move-in time.
2. Reach out to your network
Let the people around you know that you’re looking for housing, you never know what opportunities might come through your connections! Posting on your social media if you’re looking for a room or roommates can also be very helpful. Most of my roommates were existing friends or old friends I reconnected with through social media when looking for housing.
3. Check out these online resources
The top places for looking for rentals or roommates online that I know of include:
- Facebook Marketplace – Watch out for scams though and read the descriptions of rentals very carefully.
- Facebook Groups – try joining “UVic off campus housing” or “Victoria community housing network” or “UVic Off-Campus Group” – these are good options and listings are posted on these sites frequently.
- Places4Students – I found my last rental through this website. Just search “University of Victoria” under the school tab and then you can find roommates and housing listings, from landlords that specifically would like to rent to students.
- Craigslist or Kijiji – Not always my first choice, but sometimes you can find options on here. Again, beware of scams.
4. Watch out for scams
Given the crazy rental markets, there are so many scams out there. Be very careful when sifting through ads, and never give anyone a deposit until you’ve seen the place and met the landlord.
Scammers prey on the stress of trying to find housing right now, so just keep an eye out for this and be careful – if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Make sure you know your rights
This year I have had some particularly difficult challenges with my housing situation, which took a toll on my mental health. Life is already stressful enough as a student, so make sure you protect yourself by being aware of how tenancy laws work in BC and are able to advocate for yourself.
The BC Residential Tenancy Branch is your best bet for finding information about this sort of thing. There’s tons of information on their website, and you can also contact the branch by phone or email if you have questions about your situation.
Overall, finding housing in Victoria can be difficult, but isn’t impossible. Living with roommates and finding a place has been extremely challenging for me at times, but also very rewarding when I’ve been fortunate enough to cultivate a positive and relaxing home environment with my roommates.
Best of luck on your housing search!