GUIDE TO RENTING
Get familiar with the Residential Tenancy Act
The Residential Tenancy Act is the legal guidelines of being both a tenant and a landlord. In this case, we will be talking about being a tenant. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Residential Tenancy Act as it also provides insight as to your rights as a tenant.
The rental market in Kamloops is very rigid, sparse and at times, competitive. Rental prices are considerably high and according to the Humane Society's cat adoption paperwork at Petland, less than 3% of landlords are pet friendly. If you come from a place where you have never rented before, I have written a little about the experience of this process.
Begin by find an interesting & within budget suite. I have observed that a 1 bedroom suite starts at around $800-900, a 2 bedroom at $1300-1500. Rent is becoming more challenging to keep affordable, no matter how many roommates you have or how much space you live with. Try to be considerate of your own income and how much you are able to spend on housing. It is said that the average Canadian spends between 30-35% of their income on rent or housing costs.
Some places that have appear to be the primary source for rentals are: Kijiji, Zoeken, Kamloops 4 Rent, Kamloops Home & Suite Rentals, Kamloops Pet Friendly 4 Rent, and Kamloops 4 Rent Pet Friendly. You can also try your luck with Craigslist.
When searching for a potential home, try to make a list of things you hope to have. These are the luxuries that you may feel like you cannot live without. Some examples are [lots of, south facing] windows, situated above ground, good water pressure, a bathtub, sufficient storage, a dishwasher, in-suite laundry, utilities (heat etc.) included, is it pet friendly and more. Some of these things will be more challenging to find than others here in Kamloops. My first basement suite without roommates had 2 very small windows, no dishwasher, and minimal living space for $700; I was happy there!
Rental agreements vary from Landlord to Landlord. Typically, they are a 1 year agreement or lease, or month-to-month if you're lucky. When you sign a one-year lease, it is said that you are "locked in" to the suite for one whole year. It should be noted that there are ways of terminating a lease prior to it's end in certain situations. It is recommended that you communicate with your landlord about your situation & options. In many cases, a landlord will compassionately allow you to terminate your lease early with little or no repercussions.
Should you find an ad for an interesting & within budget suite, make contact with the potential landlord. It is recommended that you represent yourself almost as if it were a job interview; because it's equally as important. Introduce yourself, your housemates, and your current places of work. It is beneficial right away to inform them that you have steady, reliable income at this time. Let them know that you are interested in the suite & would like to book a viewing.
Some landlords may require you to present proof of income, references, even a credit check. Out of laziness, I usually do not pursue those with income or reference checks as I am young with unstable credit. Persuing this route may result in a cost associated with the credit checks,
Living on campus & in dorms is an experience that many people look forward to trying if given the opportunity. TRU has no shortage of parties, dorm life stereotypes, and brand new friendships that last a lifetime. However, in the experience I had while living in TRU's North Tower (or New Residence), was that the dorms were very very small. They were equipped with very small storage/closet space, no dishwasher, no ovens/stovetops for each dorm (only select communal kitchens had these), and incredibly small showers. These are some of the things that you should keep in mind when you compare costs of living on campus and living off of camus.
Keeping Safe While Rental Searching
One of the first things that you should know while searching for the right home to rent in Kamloops, is that there are a LOT of scams out there looking to take your money & leave you homeless.
One of the most common ways that people try to do this is by posting an ad for a gorgeous apartment that is suspiciously affordable.
Upon emailing them your interest, you will receive a long winded sob story about their life and how they have been forced to move internationally for work or a family loss. In one way or another, they are unable to meet you in person but still looking to rent property to you! They will tell you that you feel like the right tenant, and that they will be mailing you the house key. They often throw in "you'll love it as soon as you see it", and ask for the damage deposit without even viewing. If there is one thing that you take away from this page: Always meet people in person. Get their vibes, trust your gut, and protect yourself. Check out more tips on staying safe while searching for a rental.
Familiarize yourself with the city neighborhoods & communities. It is important to even ask around for opinions on areas. While the North Shore & Brock area has a reputation for being a risky neighborhood to reside in, after taking the time to speak to some of it's residents you will find out that the community and people are actually quite happy living there. Crime is everywhere in Kamloops.
Click the typewriter to read a PDF informational guide on affordable housing for Seniors in BC.