Are you traveling on Exchange to Emily Carr University? Welcome! You may be worried about finding housing for your four months in Vancouver. It’s great that you’re thinking about it as it’s best to have some information before you arrive.
A Few Things You Need to Know…
Vancouver, BC is a highly competitive city for finding rentals but that doesn’t mean you won’t find somewhere to stay for four months. You just have to be strategic and keep calm.
Most students spend from $400-1000+ (CAD) on housing. On the lower spectrum from $400-600, you could stay at the Hi Jericho Beach Hostel which offers very discounted rates for art students compared to the regular rates on their website. Read about the rates here.
From $600-1000, you can stay at a homestay (such as Liane’s Homestay) or find a room with roommates. Most Emily Carr students have roommates and many live with roommates who aren’t students.
From $1000+, you can find a studio/bachelor or one bedroom apartment. The more luxurious ones are $1700+.
Homestay websites such as homestay.com are a popular option and you may be excited to book immediately after you’ve confirmed your Exchange. However, we never recommend sending payment overseas to someone you’ve never met, whose accommodations you haven’t seen and whose contract you haven’t looked over and signed. This applies to local tenancy contracts for signing apartments and for renting a room, as well.
It’s common practice on homestay websites to ask for payment in advance but this could backfire in several ways: you may be disappointed and feel deceived when you arrive to look at the accommodations, your accommodations may be uncomfortable, you may not get along with your host, the host may present a list of rules that you haven’t agreed to, you may not be able to receive a refund although you’ve pre-paid and you may not be able to communicate with the homestay company to discuss issues. This could happen with hosts with supposedly good reviews. Local homestays in Vancouver (such as Liane’s Homestay) may provide more one-on-one contact and may be more flexible in accommodating to the needs of their students.
Homestay websites are convenient and can be successful experiences for some but it’s not always the case. If you do choose to book online, make sure that the process for booking, paying and establishing rules is transparent and you receive all documents. Transactions should also be done through the website and not through other means that can’t be recorded by the homestay company (ie. host’s private Paypal account). You should also receive a receipt for all payment. Your rights as a tenant should be protected in a clear, documented and transparent way with clear methods for communication/mediation if issues arise. As always, be aware, cautious and trust your gut if things don’t seem right.
When Listings Will Be Posted
When searching for an apartment or room, you can search for sublets, temporary stays and regular listings. If you are searching for a September 1 start date, listings will begin to be posted in mid-July, August and throughout September. For January 1 start dates, they will be posted in November and December. Most tenants must give notice to end their lease a month in advance which explains listings advertised a month before they begin.
Securing Housing Once You Get Here
Some students are very worried when they arrive to Vancouver that they haven’t found somewhere to stay and are staying somewhere temporary like a hotel, Air BnB, hostel or other option. Many or most students find something long-term when they arrive to the city and have the advantage of going to viewings. Most people choose roommates through meeting them in-person and students can suddenly snap up housing once they arrive. If you’re in this situation, schedule viewings for rooms immediately for one to two weeks. If you’re not successful, then perhaps air BnB or a hostel is your best bet. This is why book temporary housing before you arrive is so important.
It’s recommended that you book temporary housing at a hostel, air BnB, hotel or homestay for the first one or two weeks you are in Vancouver. You can find a list of options here: http://findhousing.ecuad.ca/?page_id=66. Temporary housing will be busy in September so ask to make sure there will be space available.
A few suggestions: YWCA Hotel is a great affordable hotel and HI Vancouver Jericho Beach offers an art student discount if you contact their coordinator Janice Kingsley at email@example.com. Liane’s Homestay offers a minimum stay of 2 weeks to as long as needed.
Options for Housing
Emily Carr University does not offer on-campus or off-campus housing so students must find their own. Most exchange students search for a furnished room in a suite or apartment. The lease should be flexible: monthly or up to 4 months. A great website that has furnished rooms/suites and monthly leases is UVRentsline.com. The landlords on that site cater to students, particularly from the University of British Columbia, and will be open to renting to students. If you can afford to stay at an Air BnB or hotel during your time in Vancouver, those are also options.
Another website you can use to search for rooms is Vancouver’s Craigslist. Use the “map” view to look at places in comparison to the school’s location: https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/search/van/roo?hasPic=1. Locations close to Main St., Cambie St., Kingsway, Fraser and Broadway, for example, will take you to school quickly. You can also search through the “sublet” section to find rooms or suites you can rent temporarily while the tenant is away.
The Housing Blog is consistently updated with listings from students and landlords.
One opportunity available for students interested in dormitories is the HI Vancouver Jericho Beach Art Student Dorm. You can find more information on the Housing Blog: http://blogs.eciad.ca/findhousing/category/information/jericho-beach-art-dorms/.
Finally, take a look at the Emily Carr 101: Step-by-step Guide to Finding Housing here.
Transit to the Campus
The Emily Carr campus is located in a central location in metro Vancouver. It’s located between the Skytrain stations VCC-Clark Station and Main St.-Science World Station. Both are a 5 to 10 minute walking distance.
Students have unlimited access to transit (Skytrain, buses and seabuses) through the U-Pass program included in their tuition. The U-Pass is loaded onto your TransLink Compass card that you tap in and out of transit entrances and exits.
The campus is surrounded by major bus routes with buses coming every 15 minutes. If you live within metro Vancouver and live close to a Skytrain station or major bus route going towards the campus, it often takes 30 minutes or less. Use an online map service (ie. Google Maps) to check the commute time.
See Translink’s Frequent Transit Map for frequent travel bus routes throughout the city.
The closest bus lines are the 84 (travels from 4th, 6th and 2nd Ave.), the 3 (travels Main St.), the 99 (Express travels along Broadway), the 9 (travels Broadway), the 19 (travels Kingsway and Main St.), the 23 (travels from downtown), the 8 (travels Fraser St.) and the 22 (travels Knight St.).
The Emily Carr campus is located on the border between Strathcona and Mount Pleasant. See the tiny red star?
The closest neighbourhoods to the campus are Mount Pleasant/Riley Park/Little Mountain, Fairview/Cambie Village, Commercial Drive, Olympic Village/False Creek, Kingsway/Kensington-Cedar Cottage, Strathcona and Grandview-Woodlands. These are neighbourhoods surrounding the campus. They are all safe and beautiful neighbourhoods but the farther east you go, particularly northeast of Hastings St., the more gritty it gets (Chinatown, Grandview-Woodlands).
Not to worry if you don’t live in one of these neighbourhoods! There are plenty of other beautiful, walkable neighbourhoods that take a similar commute time and are close to the school.
Tip: Include the names of these neighbourhoods in your Craigslist search to further narrow the results!
Read: Transit and Neighbourhoods article for more in-depth information.
Tenant Rights in Vancouver
If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your rights as a tenant, you can contact TRAC (Tenants Resource and Advisory Centre): http://tenants.bc.ca/contact/.
TRAC’s Tenant Survival Guide gives important information on what renting is like in Vancouver. This is a must-read reference to start your search: http://tenants.bc.ca/tenant-survival-guide/
Check out TRAC’s information on roommates.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions concerning housing in Vancouver!