Live Off Campus

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Neighbourhood cultures, your chosen mode of transportation and cost are all factors when looking for a place to live in the Kelowna area. Many students choose to live in neighbourhoods such as Lake Country, Ellison, Glenmore, and Rutland, and often live with other students to reduce costs.

UBC Okanagan is served by BC Transit. All UBC Okanagan students receive a U-Pass, or universal transit pass, giving you unlimited access to local transit services. Buses operate from early morning hours to after midnight.

Consider costs

Rents vary greatly depending on apartment location, age and condition. It is generally more expensive to rent in a condominium building than an apartment building. Additional costs of renting a place off campus might include:

  • Cable TV, Internet, and telephone.
  • Security deposit (one-time cost).
  • Apartment furnishings.
  • Laundry, parking, food, and entertainment.
  • Tenant insurance.
  • Vehicle transportation, such as parking, car insurance, and gas.

Finding a place

Before you begin your search, make sure you know what kind of place you’d like to rent and how to avoid scams.

There are many ways to search for an apartment in Kelowna—from websites to notice boards.

At UBC Okanagan:

  • Off-campus housing listings in the Student Union offices (lower level of the University Centre)

Online:

(These sites/groups are provided as a resource to students. UBC does not endorse these sites or their rental listings.)

After you find a place

1. Inspection
Make sure that you’re getting all you were promised. Before signing a lease, inspect the unit (or have someone you trust inspect it for you).

  • Do the appliances work? Check inside the fridge and turn on the stove.
  • How loud is traffic noise when the windows are open?
  • Are there locks on all doors?
  • Do the shower and taps work? Turn each one on.
  • Do the walls require new paint? If so, ask the landlord to paint before you move in.
  • Is the carpet clean? Ask the landlord if the carpet will be cleaned before you move in.
  • What does the rent include?
  • Will you have to pay extra for heat, electricity, cable, laundry facilities, storage, or parking?
  • Is smoking allowed?
  • Is the place pet-friendly?
  • Can you paint the walls?
  • Are you allowed to hang things on the walls?

Water damage (yellow stains on the walls and ceiling), mouse droppings, and cockroaches are very bad signs. Avoid renting suites that have these problems. Be sure to alert your landlord to these issues if they come up after you move in.

2. Deposit and documentation

  • Get details of your rental agreement in writing.
  • Take photos to document any existing damage or repairs needed before you move in. If the landlord says something will be repaired or cleaned before you move in, write this down in the agreement.
  • Make sure both you and your landlord have a copy of all the agreements you have signed. If you make any changes to the documents, both you and your landlord should initial next to each change.
  • Prove that you paid. Pay by cheque or money order, or get a receipt if you pay in cash.

3. Furnishings
Most apartments are unfurnished, so you’ll need a bed, desk, sofa, kitchen table, and chairs. Try the following places for good deals:

  • Salvation Army Thrift Stores
  • Value Village
  • Craigslist
  • Garage and yard sales
  • Flyers posted around UBC

4. Set up utilities
Most tenants need to contact BC Hydro to set up electricity and a communications company for TV, phone, and Internet service.

5. Laundry
Most rental apartments have shared laundry facilities. Neighbourhood laundromats are a good option too.

6. Get tenant insurance
We advise that you insure your belongings against theft, fire, and other damage. You may choose to insure your belongings with any private insurance company or BCAA.

Know your rights

Review information on renting in Canada, leases, tenants’ rights, and dealing with landlords.