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2.4 Search Options

You can try searching websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, PadMapper, or online listings from property management companies in your area. Keep your eyes open for bulletin board postings at stores or schools, ads posted outside buildings with vacancies, and listings in the classifieds section of your local newspaper.

You can also get the word out within your network of family, friends, coworkers, teams and clubs, through social media or word of mouth.  If you’re getting your haircut or paying for groceries, consider mentioning that you're searching for somewhere to rent.  You never know who’s going to have a lead on the place that’s right for you.  As is the case with most things in life, the more time and effort you put into your housing search, the more likely you are to get good results.  Make sure to reference your “Rental Needs and Preferences” worksheet to help focus your search.

Websites like CraigslistKijiji, and PadMapper have a lot of legitimate rental listings, but you need to be careful of scams. Never send money to someone you haven’t met, and never pay a deposit before you have viewed the place.  If you are suspicious of a potential landlord, trust your instinct.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when searching for rental housing:

  • Is the rent suspiciously low?  How much do similar rental units in the community cost?
  • Are you being asked to mail your deposit in cash, or “wire” it electronically?
  • Is the person you are in contact with not willing to arrange an in-person viewing?
  • Does the person you are in contact with seem too eager? Most landlords will ask for references and/or a credit report before committing to a tenant.
  • What do the neighbours say?  Depending on the type of housing, you may be able to ask questions about the owner and property to people living nearby.

If you are moving to BC and want to have a home lined up for when you arrive, try to find someone you trust to view the place and meet the landlord before accepting an offer. You may want to consider staying in a hotel or hostel until you have taken the time to find the home that is right for you.