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Apartment Hunting in Kingston

Apartment hunting can be tricky in a university town like Kingston, especially if you are apartment hunting from far away. As an international student who moved to Canada during COVID travel restrictions, I was not able to visit my apartment before signing my lease. However, I have quite a bit of renting experience from a few different locations, so I put my skills to work and found a great apartment that suits my needs and is well-managed. So, I wanted to write down some helpful tips for other students who might be struggling to find the right place. 

  1. Understand your own priorities. These might include staying on budget, on-site laundry, off-street parking, living alone vs. having roommates, having utilities and Wi-Fi included, proximity to campus, pet-friendly, and smoking vs. non-smoking. For example, my priorities were off-street parking, living alone, dog-friendly, having a private entrance, and living in a quieter neighborhood.
  2. Use your Queen’s resources and contacts. A good place to start is by visiting the Queen’s Off Campus Living Advisor’s website; Adam King can help guide you through this process if you ever feel like you need additional support or knowledge. You can also ask your supervisor to connect you with graduate students who already live in Kingston. You can ask them about different neighborhoods, average rent, and if they know of any apartments that will be available. You should also ask if your department has a Facebook group for graduate students because housing availability is often listed on there.
  3. Start your search on Kijiji. This is a good place to get an idea of prices, and which property management companies have listings in your ideal neighborhood. In my experience, it’s better to rent a place that is professionally managed than one that is managed by the homeowner, especially if you’re moving to a new city where you don’t have connections and can’t tour the apartment in person. You will find whole apartments for rent (one-bedrooms, studios, and bachelors) as well as private rooms available in larger units (a cheaper option and you’ll have roommates).
    • Facebook Marketplace is another great place for finding apartments – especially if you’re looking for roommates.
    • Take everything in the listings with a grain of salt, and always ask lots of questions. 
  4. Look at the websites of the property management companies that catch your eye on Kijiji. Read their reviews on Google and explore the types of apartments they have available. When you’re reading reviews, keep in mind that no property management company will have five stars.
  5. When you find a property management company that seems reliable, you can apply for an apartment that appeals to you and/or reach out via email or through their website to let them know that you’re interested and open to other similar apartments that they may have available. Tell them a bit about yourself, when you want to move in, what your budget and ideal neighborhood is, and any other priorities you think are worth mentioning (i.e. if you have a pet or need parking). It can be a competitive rental market and this email might give you an advantage.
    • Feel free to do this with several companies if you’re interested in a variety of apartments.
    • If you’re in contact with someone who is a current renter and is looking for a roommate, you should still research the property management company. It’s important to know who will be maintaining your apartment while you live there.
  6. When you’re communicating with a property manager, always ask lots of questions and advocate for yourself. But remember – this is a professional interaction, and you want to maintain a productive relationship with the property manager throughout your search and lease. 
    • You can ask questions about average utility costs, snow removal, noise level in the building/neighborhood, if the previous tenants smoke or have pets, how you can submit work orders, and how long it takes to complete work orders, etc. 
    • You should also ask for a tour. You can do this in-person if you’re near Kingston, but I did mine over video and it was very helpful. I was able to see that the current tenants were clean, and the building had a grassy area out back that my dog would enjoy. And they showed me the closet space so I could visualize the storage available in my unit. 
    • Keep an eye out for any red flags. If they don’t know how to answer your basic questions, aren’t willing to give you a tour, are rude or flakey, you might not want to sign a lease with them. 
  7. Be aware of the housing standards in Kingston and know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. 
    • This website lists the housing standards in Kingston. 
    • And you can use this form to review the condition of your apartment when you move in. You can send the form to the property manager and the city, or just review it to fill out maintenance requestions directly to your property manager. 

I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Most importantly – I hope you find a comfortable new home in Kingston!

By: Lisa Cicchetti

Posted in Uncategorized
One comment on “Apartment Hunting in Kingston
  1. Ikeoluwapo Baruwa says:

    Thank you, Lisa

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