- Download our Moving to Calgary Guide (PDF)
Calgary has seen significant suburban development in recent years. Unfortunately, despite this development, the competition for good-quality housing remains stiff, and with high demand comes high prices. Although still not nearly as expensive as Vancouver's, accommodation prices in Calgary are now almost on par with those in Toronto.
Types of accommodation in Calgary
Expats moving to Calgary will find a range of accommodation options, so most house hunters should be able to find something suitable for their budget and lifestyle. The city has a wide variety of housing types, including apartments, condos, townhouses, as well as detached and semi-detached houses.
Most Calgarians live in stand-alone houses, with apartments, row houses, duplexes and semi-detached houses making up the balance. Once expats have found something they like, they should be quick to act as listings don't stay on the market for long.
Finding accommodation in Calgary
Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation options are available in Calgary – with the former generally being much more expensive than the latter.
It is highly recommended that expats do pre-departure research about the various areas and suburbs in Calgary to familiarise themselves with the city before starting their search for a home.
When searching for accommodation in Calgary, it's always a good idea to start with online listings, as these are updated regularly. Expats should also check out their desired suburb's community pages and forums on social media for listings.
If expats don’t want to go this process alone, they can enlist the services of a real-estate agent. These professionals can be helpful, as they are familiar with the local property market and the leasing and negotiation logistics.
Since many landlords in Canada choose not to bother with the hassle of finding tenants, estate agents often have a mandate over the best rental properties in the country. That said, as helpful as agents can be for new arrivals, they will expect a fee for this service, ranging between 10 and 100 percent of the monthly rent.
Renting accommodation in Calgary
Lease agreements in Calgary and greater Canada are strictly adhered to. Expats should be sure to read their contracts carefully, as once they’ve signed the agreements, their conditions will be legally binding.
Standard lease agreements are generally for 12 months. Expats may negotiate shorter agreements directly with the landlord but most property owners may be reluctant. Leases can vary depending on the landlord and usually require one month's notice prior to moving out.
The security deposits on rentals in Calgary are usually two months' rent. When viewing a house or an apartment, expats should take inventory of any issues or changes that may be necessary before moving in. The full deposit should be refunded if there is no damage to the property upon the tenant’s departure.
The lease will state whether the tenant is liable to pay for utilities such as gas, water, electricity, cable and so forth, which will vary between landlords.
►For expats planning on staying in Calgary indefinitely, our article Renting vs Buying provides a realtor's perspective on the issue and is an essential read
►Check out the top sightseeing spots in Calgary on our Lifestyle page
"Every neighbourhood has a good selection of different housing and something for every budget. We live in a detached house with a back deck and small yard. A feature we particularly love about our house is the finished basement, which adds a lot more living room to the house."
Read more of South African expat Catherine's experiences in Calgary.
Are you an expat living in Calgary?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Calgary. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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