- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Ottawa Guide (PDF)
Expats moving to Ottawa will have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. No matter their budget, expats should be able to find a home close to essential amenities and within commutable distance of their place of work.
Ottawa has various unique residential neighbourhoods to suit people from all walks. The central areas such as The Glebe or ByWard Market are popular among young professionals, while the affluent Rockcliffe Park is home to the city’s diplomats, politicians and businesspeople.
Whether expats are looking for a modern apartment in the heart of the city or a larger family home in the countryside, they are sure to find the perfect accommodation in Ottawa.
Types of accommodation in Ottawa
When it comes to the types of housing, Ottawa has everything from compact city apartments and townhouses to condominiums, duplexes and multiplexes. Furnished, semi-furnished and unfurnished accommodation is also available. Furnished properties will often come at a higher price, although these may be the most convenient option for expats in Ottawa on a short-term assignment.
New arrivals should consider the condition of a property before committing to an agreement. Many prospective tenants like the idea of moving into a historic apartment or home full of character, but expats should consider the fact that many older properties require renovation and a great deal of maintenance.
Property size and proximity to good schools will certainly be key criteria for families moving to Ottawa with children. Fortunately, many schools in Ottawa offer bus services. Expats may also be able to find a home within walking distance of a local school. We also recommend that those who will be regular commuters look for accommodation near a bus stop or O-Train station.
Finding accommodation in Ottawa
The best place to start the house hunt in Ottawa is online using portals such as PadMapper and RentSeeker. Online listings allow house hunters to tailor their searches based on rental costs, property type and size, and accommodation suited for students, families and senior citizens. Some websites can filter accommodation searches based on parking availability and pet-friendliness.
Many new arrivals prefer enlisting the services of a real-estate agent, who is usually familiar with the local property market. They can connect expats with landlords and advise them on the best areas and suburbs for value for money.
Renting accommodation in Ottawa
Making an application
Once expats find a property they like, they will need to complete a preliminary application. Generally, prospective tenants must include a letter of employment from their company stating their salary, position and length of employment. In addition, some landlords or rental agents request a reference letter from a previous landlord. Expats may also have to provide their Social Insurance Number (SIN) for a credit check.
Most landlords in Ottawa require tenants to sign a rental agreement for at least a year. The lease should state the monthly rental costs and the separate charges, which often include water and electricity.
Prospective tenants looking to secure a rental property in Ottawa mostly have to pay the first and last month’s rent upfront as a security deposit.
Typically, utilities, such as water and electricity, are not included in the rental price. With the frigid Ottawa winters, expats should budget for these costs carefully. That said, with some condominiums, expats will find that the rental is inclusive of electricity.
►To learn more about transport options available to new expats read the Getting Around Ottawa page
"Vancouver and Toronto are the most expensive cities for housing, followed by Montreal and Ottawa. There are many options available—we have enough land!—but it depends on your budget and way of life."
Find out more about living in Ottawa in our interview with French expat Juliette.
Are you an expat living in Ottawa?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ottawa. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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