Imagine sitting on a sandy beach that dots the edges of a vibrant metropolis nestled between snow-capped mountains, minutes away from downtown’s best amenities and mere hours away from some of Canada’s best ski resorts.
You could almost call it paradise…or you could call it Vancouver, home to nature lovers, foodies, and ambitious urbanites.
If you’ve come to rent a home in Vancouver, you were probably drawn to this modern city on the Pacific west coast by the mild winters and the draw of the natural beauty that surrounds it.
A clean, cosmopolitan city with excellent public transportation (and the option of biking everywhere), low crime rate, and a wide variety of cultural and recreational availability, Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Living in Vancouver means access to year-round cycling, kayaking, hiking, canoeing, sailing, skiing and golf. (This may explain why Vancouver has some of the healthiest people in Canada.)
Living costs in Vancouver
All this comes at a price, of course. Still, Vancouver is an expensive city; it’s something you have to accept if you’ve decided to rent an apartment here.
It can be hard to enjoy living somewhere if you’re always short at the end of the month, so choose your neighbourhood carefully. Many people also elect to share an apartmentto reduce the costs.
Good public transport
From frequent and efficient buses and seabuses to the Sky Train and commuter trains, public transit makes it easier to rent anywhere Vancouver. With its mild weather, you can also rely on your bicycle (or your feet!) as a viable mode of transportation to get to work or school.
Where to rent an apartment in Vancouver
Vancouver has some wonderful neighbourhoods, each unique in its own way where tenants are sure to find a great rental apartment.
Everything is within walking distance in the Downtown core, and with the sea all around, the beaches and the parks, it’s a popular, though pricey, spot to rent an apartment in one of the city’s many high-rises.
The city is divided more or less into Vancouver East (East Van) and Vancouver West (West Side), not to be confused with the "West End" of Vancouver (the area just west of the downtown core near Stanley Park) or the City of West Vancouver (across the Lions Gate Bridge, and west of North Vancouver).
The West Side is young, vibrant, close to downtown, and generally more expensive, but East Van has much to recommend it, including ethnic diversity and a strong sense of community.
Your personal finance will dictate to a large degree where you rent your apartment. Lifestyle is an important factor that will influence your happiness, so make sure you visit the neighbourhood as well as the apartment.
If you’re moving here with a young family, your children’s school will be determined by where you live, so you may want check out the best-performing primary schools first.
There are also more affordable housing options in Metro Vancouver:
Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody
To find a place, check local community bulletin boards, local papers, or online at RentersPages.com. Welcome BC has a handy Newcomer’s Guide online.
Use a checklist as you visit the apartment and the neighbourhood to make sure you’ve covered all angles.
Read the lease agreement carefully before you sign it.
The landlord may do a credit check on you and ask you for a deposit, which you can get back when you move out. It's illegal for landlords to ask you for an application deposit, though. You’ll probably also be asked to obtain rental insurance.
You’ll most likely have to furnish your own apartment and you may have to set up your own utilities and internet services, but with some rentals, this will be covered by your rent (check your rental agreement). You'll also have to get tenant's insurance, in case of a fire or robbery.