NSCC offers on-campus living at Truro Campus. Two more residences are currently under construction – one at Strait Area Campus/Nautical Institute and the other at Annapolis Valley Campus’s Centre of Geographic Sciences.
We’ve gathered some housing tips from fellow international students and have included them below.
For more detail on living on and off campus, view Housing
Bachelor: Small apartments, ideal for one person. They have a separate bathroom but kitchen and living room are usually a common area.
Basements: Apartments that are below the ground level. Check that they're well insulated, lit and ventilated.
1, 2- or 3-bedroom apartments: They have a separate bathroom and have 1, 2 or 3 separate bedrooms. They might have a separate kitchen and living room, or these might be combined in a common space.
Average housing costs in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), will resemble the following:
- Bachelor apartment - $865 per month
- 1-bedroom apartment - $1,016 per month
- 2-bedroom apartment - $1,255 per month
- 3-bedroom apartment - $1,455 per month
- Rooms in homes are often for rent and range in price from $500 to $700 per month.
Housing costs are lower outside the HRM but then transportation costs such as owning a vehicle must be considered.
In addition to rent, there are several other costs to consider each month.
Rental insurance: If something serious happens to the place that you're renting, or you accidentally break something, insurance will cover the costs associated with the damage. Plans cover different things and have different costs, from $15 to $30+ a month … shop around for quotes!
- Electricity: Sometimes electric is included in the cost of your rent. If not included, it's important to find out the average cost of electricity for your future apartment. If you've never had an account with a provider, you may have to pay a deposit/service fee.
- Internet: Look for an internet provider that offers discounts for students. The average price for internet is $90 per month. You might have to pay installation fees as well.
- Water: Cold and hot water are usually included in your rent; if they're not, ask about the average costs per month.
Parking: If you own a vehicle, it’s important to ask about parking. Depending on location, street parking may be an option but best to find out and consider options. Prices for parking spaces can range from $25 to $100 per month or more.
Appliances/furniture: Most apartments have appliances (stove, fridge) and on-site laundry facilities (laundry might be coin operated, so this could be an added weekly cost). Unless specified that you're renting a furnished apartment, you'll have to provide your own furniture. You can find second-hand basic items at thrift stores or through social media. Prices vary depending on where you shop.
It's very difficult to rent an apartment or a house if you have pets. Options are limited.
In order to rent an apartment, a house or a room, you have to prove that you have enough money to pay your rent. Asking someone to pay multiple months of rent in advance is an illegal practice in Nova Scotia. Application fees or key money are also illegal. When you submit your application, you'll be asked about:
- A guarantor: this is someone (a parent, for example) who can take responsibility for your rent in the event you can't pay it yourself
- A Canadian bank account: this is what you'll use to pay your rent (make sure to open an account as soon as you arrive in Canada - or from abroad, if possible)
- Employer references (or other proof): this is how you show you're able to work on and off campus
- Bank statements: these show that you have savings, enabling you to pay your rent
You should always sign a lease (or a rental agreement). If the person you're renting from doesn’t want to sign a lease, think twice before renting from them.
- Read your lease: check for the starting and ending date on the lease, description of your place, utilities included, number of people on the lease, inspection dates, amount of rent that you owe each month, amount for your first month’s rent and the amount of security deposit (note: it's illegal to ask more than ½ month’s rent as a damage deposit)
- Ask for changes: if there's anything on the lease you don't agree with, have it changed before you sign it
- Sign the lease: once you sign a lease, it's difficult to break the terms of the agreement and you're responsible to pay rent -- so make sure you read lease documents before signing them
- Get a free copy of your Residential Tenancy Act: the person you're renting from must give you a copy of the Act within 10 days
A roommate is a person who shares an apartment (or sometimes a room) with you. Signing a lease with someone you don’t know can be risky.
Choose your roommate carefully and be honest about who you are. If you're looking for a quiet spot, avoid roommates who want to party regularly.
It’s important to have conversations around expectations before moving in with your roommate -- especially if you don’t know them ahead of time.
View the property before you apply: Make sure you see the place that's being offered for rent, not a space that's staged for only for viewings.
Inspect the property when you move in: Check the place to see if anything's missing or requires repair. Cross reference with what's listed on your lease/contract.
Record everything: Take pictures and videos of the place, both when you move in AND when you move out. Don’t pay rent in cash.
Watch out for illegal practices: Application fees, key money or multiple months of rent paid in advance are all illegal practices. You can call 902-423-8105 or email if you're experiencing problems with your lease and don’t know what to do.