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How to Rent in Canada Without a Credit History or Job Letter


Published March 4, 2024 • 6 Min Read

Many newcomers choose to rent a home for their first months or years in Canada. This can give you time to settle down, help you familiarize yourself with your new city, and set aside some savings if you plan to buy a home in Canada in the future.

Unfortunately, renting as a newcomer isn’t always straightforward. Typically, Canadian landlords ask all potential tenants for credit reports, job letters, and references from previous landlords before renting to them. However, if you’re new to Canada you may not be able to provide these, and a landlord might be reluctant to rent to you.

There are several ways you may be able to convince a landlord you’ll be a reliable, trustworthy tenant. Here are eight tips to help you find a home to rent in Canada without a credit history or job letter.

Tips to rent a home without credit history and job letter in Canada

1. Proof of savings in a bank account

One of the simplest ways to help convince a potential landlord is to show proof that you have enough money in the bank to cover rent. You don’t necessarily need to give them a detailed bank statement; your bank may be willing to provide you with a letter (on official bank letterhead) confirming you have enough funds in your account to cover a few months’ rent.

Your Canadian bank statement or letter should show at least four months’ worth of rent. It’s best to transfer the appropriate funds into your Canadian bank account before you apply to rent so they’re available when you need them.

2. Get a local guarantor or co-signer

Having a local guarantor with a good Canadian credit history can help make it easier for newcomers to qualify for rentals. A guarantor or co-signer takes responsibility to pay rent on your behalf if you can’t. As it is a legally binding commitment, usually only very close friends or relatives agree to do this. Keep in mind that if you’re unable to pay rent, it may negatively impact your relationship.

3. Find shared accommodation options

Home-sharing may be another option for you in Canada. These include:

  • Subleasing: You may be able to rent a room or home from an existing tenant. Usually this happens if the tenant wants to move somewhere else or share their space before the lease ends. You’ll pay rent to the tenant, and they are responsible for paying the landlord. For sublets, rental requirements may be more flexible than for landlords.

  • Signing a joint lease with a roommate: Leasing a home jointly with a roommate who has a good Canadian credit score may make it easier to find a rental home.

  • Sharing a home with the landlord or property owner: Landlords who live on the property and rent out part of it may be open to relaxing their rental requirements. However, note that in this situation your rights as a tenant may be different, depending on your province.

4. Offer additional security deposit

Depending on the province you’re moving to, you may be required to pay a deposit when you sign a lease agreement. Rent deposit regulations vary by province. For instance, Ontario’s rental regulations say you must pay the first and last month’s rent when signing a lease, but no security deposit. In British Columbia, however, you must pay a security deposit equivalent to 15 days’ rent.

Legally, a landlord cannot ask you to pay a higher security deposit than what the provincial regulations mandate. However, you might offer to pay a higher deposit to help encourage the landlord to accept your application. This may convince the landlord of both your ability to pay rent and your reliability as a tenant.

In general, make sure your lease document outlines how to get back your deposit.

5. Explore individually owned condos or homes

Apartments are typically in rental-only buildings owned by a corporation, and the property managers can be strict with rental requirements like credit checks and employment verification. It might be easier to rent a condo, basement apartment, or house owned by an individual landlord instead. Individual owners may be more likely to consider your unique situation and offer flexibility.

Tip: Including a personal note can sometimes help convince individual homeowners about your suitability and reliability as a potential renter.

6. Consider neighbourhoods farther away from the city centre

The demand for rental homes is usually higher in city centres or downtown areas. As a result, landlords tend to get more lease applications for their rentals and can choose tenants who meet all their criteria. As a newcomer without a Canadian credit history or job letter, it might be easier to find a home to rent in neighbourhoods further away from city centers. Here there may be more available rentals. Be sure to check your public transit options if you don’t have a car yet.

7. Book temporary accommodation for your first few months

Many newcomers opt for temporary accommodation, such as hotels, homestays, hostels or bed-and-breakfasts when they first arrive in Canada. This can help give you time to build your credit history in Canada or to find a flexible landlord. Another option is to stay with friends or family members for your initial months.

8. Find a “survival job”

As a newcomer, you may not be able to find a job in your field of expertise immediately. Since it’s usually easier to rent a home if you have a job, some newcomers look for survival jobs (entry-level jobs outside of their area of expertise). This can help you get a job letter and an income to help make ends meet while you look for a job in your industry. Common survival jobs in Canada include retail stores, coffee shops, telemarketing or food delivery.

Survival jobs usually do not require a high level of certification, and your work experience or qualifications may not directly relate to it. However, they count as Canadian experience on your resume. Survival jobs may also help you build transferable skills and grow your professional network in Canada.

You can connect with an RBC Newcomer Advisor for more tips on showing proof of savings for rental applications or newcomer advice that goes beyond banking.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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