How to find housing in Vancouver

Our campus is super isolated from the rest of the city, making it even more difficult to live close without an hour bus ride or outrageous rent prices. File Sam Barringer

Vancouver is known for its beautiful mountains, ocean views and having the most expensive housing market in North America. Finding housing for any individual seems to cost both an arm and a leg, but in particular the UBC student body suffers each year with the question: where to live? Our campus is super isolated from the rest of the city, making it even more difficult to live close without an hour bus ride or outrageous rent prices. Below are a few ideas and helpful websites that can help anyone enduring the housing struggle.

On Campus

Yes, there is actually a reason to log on to Facebook. Facebook offers multiple UBC housing groups where other students, who either are gone for a term or doing co-op, may sublet their room. Though this doesn’t offer any permanent accommodations, it does provide a room on-campus and regulated through UBC Housing. All units are supposedly up to code and roommates will be fellow students. In a pinch too, the lesser-known Commuter Student Hostel located at the bottom of Gage Towers, offers a 24 hour stay for $30.

Off-Campus

Off campus housing is a delicate balance between location and affordability. The classic websites consist of Craigslist, Rentsline and UVrentals. Websites still offer the best selection for housing than current apps. Each present a map with some specific prices to surf through. If you are looking to live in an apartment building, one of the best things to do would be calling the building number listed outside. It’s surprising how many units in older apartment buildings are never actually listed online, so go walk around. Also, a meeting in person or communication over the phone is always better than just signing up on a waitlist. Personal contact can really make the difference.

What to ask your dreadful landlord

If you have ever experienced a perfect landlord, please write in to us. Otherwise, welcome officially to adulting. Be sure to ask the essential questions: the price of rent and lease duration, direct deposit or financial transaction procedures and an up-to-date inspection status. Also, double-check if accommodations will be included in the rent – hot water, electricity, Hydro and heating are important. Repeat: Get all important documents in writing! If you’re able to, check out the space in person or have a possible Skype call with the landlord to see the unit before moving in. If you choose a situation with roommates, ask how everyone gets along in the space to avoid entering tension and unnecessary drama. You may also try to live with people in a similar faculty or social circle if you're really concerned. Double-check if the unit is furnished or if an IKEA run will be mandatory as well.

Bottom line, this place will be your personal escape for at least the duration of the school year, so make sure you're comfortable calling it home. When all else seems to have failed, practice how to sleep standing up on the bus and couch surf through the rest of the year.