Where do you start?

  • Every housing search starts with knowing what to look for. You need to create a list of amenities you will require, as well as a budget, for your apartment. An example would be: Two bedroom apartments, within 20 minute walk to campus, with laundry on site, budget of $1400 with all-inclusive utilities.
  • Do not be too specific with your search requirements - separate your needs from your wants. If you are looking too specifically, your options will be limited. You must also set realistic expectations for your housing search.
  • Expenses to consider and budget for: rent, utilities (water, gas, electricity, sewage), commute (bus, car, etc), tenant insurance, cell phone bill, and internet.
  • Rents in Kingston can vary depending on location, number of rooms, and finishes within the property. If you are living with a group of people, rent can range from $600-$900+ per room. The more people living in the house, the cheaper it should be. If you are looking to live alone, most one or two bedroom apartments can range from $1200-$1900+ per month depending on a number of factors.
  • Once you know what you are looking for, it is time to start searching. You can find the Off-Campus Housing Resource package on the OCLA website which includes a “Where to look for housing” document. In order to make sure you are seeing as many properties as possible, you will need to visit many of these website regularly. A lot of different websites use filters, so you can apply things like number of bedrooms, or price, as a means to specify what you are looking for. A lot of properties in the city of Kingston are listed using Kijiji, Facebook groups/Marketplace, so these great places to check regularly.
  • Check out the Preparing for your Housing Search video

Your Housing Search

  • Know what you will need. Every landlord will ask for something different for their application process. If you are interested in a property, ask the landlord what their application process is like. Landlords will have you fill out an application, submit proof of enrollment/proof of income, and provide references. It is good to have these documents ready, in case you want to apply quickly to a property.
  • Set up viewings – it is very important that you get to view it; whether it be in person or virtual. In person showings are much more preferred than virtual. If you are doing virtual showings, make sure to connect on a large screen so you can see the entire unit clearly. Ask the landlord or whomever is showing the unit to see specific things throughout the house and make sure you see everything within the property. For guidance on navigating your viewings, check out this video
  • Be aware of scams – there are many scammers out there. For advice on how to avoid them, visit the Housing Fraud site.
  • Once you have found a property that you like, and the landlord approves your application, they should send you a lease agreement before you send any money to them. The OCLA offers lease review services, and can go over any lease agreements with you. In Ontario, landlords are required to use the Ontario Standard Lease agreement.

Find the OCLA's Housing Resource document package here.

Do you require additional information or would like to schedule a meeting with the OCLA? Please contact ocla@queensu.ca 

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