Accommodation in Waterloo
The standard of accommodation in Waterloo is generally high and in line with what one would expect throughout Canada.
All homes have heating systems to ward off the worst of Ontario’s weather. Home security is not a major issue, and as long as they exercise some basic common sense, expats are unlikely to experience problems.
Due to the short-term nature of most expat assignments, the majority of foreigners in Waterloo rent rather than buy property.
Types of property in Waterloo
There's a wide range of housing options for those moving to the city. Rental prices for accommodation in Waterloo are reasonable and generally more affordable than in Toronto.
Many modern apartment complexes and condos are being built in the Waterloo-Kitchener area and rental prices for these luxury properties are more expensive.
Most couples and families rent houses rather than apartments. An option for those on a tighter budget is renting a basement flat within a large house.
Both furnished and unfurnished properties are available to rent in Waterloo. Properties advertised as unfurnished can still be expected to include a refrigerator and stove, and perhaps even a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or microwave.
Finding property in Waterloo
Those planning a move to Waterloo should ideally begin their search for accommodation before they arrive. Residing at a hotel while finalising living arrangements is a costly exercise and should be avoided if possible.
It's best for expats to do some research to pinpoint areas and suburbs in Waterloo that offer the best range of housing within their budget. It's important to also consider an area’s proximity to public transport, road links and good schools.
Renting property in Waterloo
Expats who wish to rent a property will require a copy of their passport, employment contract and references from previous landlords.
Lease agreements are usually followed to the letter in Canada. Expats should read their contract carefully, as its conditions are legally binding once signed. The agreement will cover the following considerations: duration of the lease (usually 12 months); additional financial responsibilities of the tenant (water is usually included in the rental charge, but tenants will have to pay for gas and electricity usage); deposit (usually two months’ rent, refundable in principle); and forfeiture conditions (which explains how any breach of the contract leaves the tenant liable for eviction from the property).
After securing a rental property and signing the lease, expats will need to ensure that the utilities are turned on and transferred into their name.