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Renting an apartment without job or credit history

Discussion in 'Housing' started by anujoshi, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. A lot of people are asking the same question, so I thought instead of posting/replying individually, I can offer the insight for everyone to read.

    So, you're coming to Canada. First of all, congrats on getting your PR, and welcome to your new home :)

    Since you're new to the country, you won't have any credit history here, and some of you may not have a job here yet either.

    In terms of living accommodation, you have 4 options:
    1. Go for a short-term rental - whether it's a motel (like Motel6) which offers apartment style living usually including a kitchenette, or something from Airbnb/VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) which are targeted towards visitors but work for any 1-8 weeks duration. Benefit here is usually you can rent a shared space or whole apartment (depending on your requirements and budget) without providing credit report and job letter, and it gives you time to get set up in the country. Mostly, these are furnished listings so you don't have any other startup cost.
    2. Go for a private rental - there are room listings and rental listings available on Kijiji that sometimes are OK if you don't have any history or job. These may be available for short or long term. Personally, I have a safety concern with these based on things I've heard in the news regarding rental scams, etc., but if you are on a budget and exploring online private listings, be sure to follow safety procedures such as meeting the landlord in a public place for the first meeting, and asking them to share their ID with you prior to meeting. There are several success stories of people who have found rental homes on Kijiji as well.
    3. Go to a rental building - these are not condo buildings, they are strictly apartment buildings that have in-house office that manages rentals. You can try at these but mostly they will need credit/job.
    4. Go for a formal 1 year lease - this is where a Realtor can help you. We work only with official Realtor listings which are pre-screened and up to a certain standard. These are mostly not furnished and more appropriate when you know where you want to stay and have a job (because you're signing for 1 year standard lease).
    • Immediately after landing - you can go for options 1 and 2 which usually don't require you to have credit history or a job, and are good for temporary options.
    • Within 4-6 weeks of landing - when you know where you want to stay and you already have a job, you are ready for options 3 or 4.
    Usually, option 3 (rental building offices) are not at all flexible; they mostly have their set rules which cannot be bent. Your best bet (when you are ready to get a 1 year lease) is to hire a Realtor to work for you. Realtors work free-of-charge to Tenant (so you don't have to pay their fees), but they represent you and your best interests.

    Without job letter and credit, we do a number of things to help new immigrant clients. It's not always possible and it varies on a case-by-case basis, but we do our best to negotiate it for you.

    So, this is the part you've all been waiting for. Most of these apply to the long term listings and a Realtor is your best choice for helping you negotiate these. Here are some ideas that can be tried. Remember, every landlord is different, and some say NO to everything. It will differ significantly on a case-by-case basis. In the green text is my personal experience of actually using these techniques with my clients' cases. Success rate is not 100% because it depends totally on the landlord and how flexible/reasonable they are, but these are still worth trying...

    Additional rent - it is normal to pay first/last month's rent upfront for a lease, but we can try offering additional rent upfront (first & last month's rent upfront is standard, but you may choose to offer 1-2 additional month's rent in advance). Client example: with one client we recently offered first+last+2 months' rent (total 4 months) upfront, and the landlord was OK with that. They still wanted them to have a job but with 4 months upfront, they allowed it.

    Guarantor - ask a friend or relative you have here to act as your co-signor on the lease. They will need to show their credit history and their current job/income. Client example: one client was immigrating with his wife and child, and his cousin was working/living here. We showed the cousin's credit and income as proof, and the cousin signed as the guarantor on the lease.

    Show proof of funds - sometimes, showing proof of funds from a Canadian bank account (enough to cover the first year's worth of rent and expenses) may assist in securing a rental. This is a less popular because there are other expenses which make it unreliable but some landlords may be open to it. Client example: since this method alone is not sufficient, my client did this but we also had to offer additional rent upfront - and those two things together were OK with landlord.

    International credit - depending on what country you're coming from and if you were using a credit card, there is a way to pull your credit history from your home country. This one is tricky - so we will have to discuss it on your case specifically. Client example: a family immigrated from USA in October last year, and I asked them to provide their credit history and job letter from there. This was agreeable to the landlord and they got the lease.

    Temporary job letter - the people I see immigrating to Canada are highly skilled and from a variety of industries. What a lot of them do is wait to get positions and jobs that are exactly in line with what they're used to. Tough reality: that takes time. And during this time, you feel stressed and frustrated and morale is low. One thing I suggest is consider working a temporary or part-time job. Three benefits are: a) morale stays boosted; b) you have a source of income so you're not depleting your resources which you brought with you; and c) you get a job letter to show to a landlord. Retail stores and fast food stores are almost always hiring. If you are able, you could get a job within 1 week of landing here. Client example: I gave my last client the same advice last month (we had been talking on email for about 4 weeks prior to his family's arrival in Toronto) - he got a part time job at Home Depot on the sales floor, and had a job letter he could show to the landlord. By profession, he is a digital media marketing specialist and looking for a job in his field. Working part time allows him time to apply for and do interviews (which he told me he is doing currently), but working part time has a source of income for him so he doesn't cut through the savings he has brought, and his morale stays up, and he got the job letter on time so we could find his family an apartment.

    There are always things you can do to help yourself and your family settle in Canada, and one of those things is taking the right advice from professionals, as well as from other people who have done it too (that's why it's excellent you are all on this forum sharing your experiences). Do your research thoroughly and keep an open mind - I have nothing but good things to say about Canada :) and I'm sure you will too.

    Have any of you had difficulty getting accommodation due to lack of job/credit?
    Have you tried these tips or anything else?
    What has worked for you?

    Share your experiences below, I'd love to know!
  2. But realtors also list their listings in third party websites such as Craigslist or Kiiji.
  3. Thanks so much for your insightful post,I have actually been searching for posts like this.

    We (family of 5) plan moving to London Ontario,soon and this has been a real source of worry for me

    I have some questions hope you could help

    1. I have an account already in a Canadian bank,that I opened during my last visit to Canada but I don't have a credit card nor credit history
    do you think my account statement will suffice for the credit history?

    2. Will it be acceptable to allow a family of 5 in a 2 bedroom

    3. I will be living in Canada with my family but I will retain my job in my home country,will it acceptable to present proof of employment from my home country. Can I also provide proof of funds from my home country. I earn a pretty good wage in my home country

    Thank you for your anticipated response
    Kaskot likes this.
  4. 1) it really depends on the landlord or their agents
    2) if luxurious condo, probably not. If detached or townhouse, then yes
    3) same as 1
  5. I mean you can rent a unit like you're only husband and wife and not mention the kids. And then you bring in the kids and the landlord absolutely can't do anything about it.
  6. If the tenancy agreement has a maximum number of occupants clause, then you are in breach of the tenancy agreement, you can be evicted, if the TA is silent, landlord can try to evict you for too many people in a small unit something like that, you can dispute it with the tenancy branch, but do you want to have a sour relationship with the landlord and a headache?
  7. I think clauses like that are illegal in Ontario. You can't be evicted. And if things do get sour for something like that and the landlord is harassing you you can take them to the court.
  8. I think it is not illegal in BC, if the LL try to evict you yes you can stay at the place pending the hearing and decision of the tenancy branch if you dispute, it may take couple of months, it's up to you if you want that long wait, headache and sour relationship.
  9. Well there's a principle of customer protection.
  10. #10 pie_vancouver, Mar 16, 2018 at 1:11 PM
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
    Customer is not always right.


    Would you like a response from your LL, "sorry I didn't get your text/email about the broken heater."
    This won't happen if you have a good relationship.
  11. You would be wrong side of the law if you breach lease by keeping more people than whats mentioned in the lease. Law would not protect customer in this case. Would law protect a customer stealing clothes from a shop?
  12. Yes you're right, we do
  13. 1. It varies on a case-by-case basis. Some landlords accept 3 months bank statements to show proof of funds, while others are only looking for someone with a credit score.

    2. Usually, depending on the ages of your kids, 2 bedrooms will not be enough for 5 people. You'll have to go for minimum 3 bedrooms (assuming it's 2 adults and 3 children in the family). Again, it varies from landlord to landlord

    3. I have done leases before where the principal applicant (tenant - you) had a job in their home country which they maintained, and it has been done successfully. Most often, they prefer to see a Canadian job but it can be done with international employment. Recently there was a couple and the husband was working in the US - we provided proof of income/job letter from his US company for the lease here.

    It would probably be best to discuss with a Realtor in London, Ontario (I work primarily in the Toronto market). If you'd like, I can refer a friend of mine who works in London to see if she can assist you further. Please send me a private message if you require her contact info.
  14. We are planning to move to Toronto from 1st July 2018. Please advise for getting short term apartment for 5(me, wife and 3 children)
  15. what is the general rule for the kids' bedrooms? we have a 15 yr old son and a 10 yr old daughter coming with us to winnipeg. should we get a 3-bedroom or we can do with a 2-bedroom house?

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