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Off-campus housing

Finding off-campus housing that’s right for you can take significant time and work. We provide off-campus housing resources that can assist you in your search. It is the students' responsibility to secure their own accommodations.

Housing and transition supports

We recommend you view our helpful Housing in Nova Scotia video series to get you started. This series covers topics like signing a rental agreement, lease or contract; being aware of rental scams; and how to live with others peacefully.

Have questions about any of the following? Contact Kaileigh Skinner, Housing and Transition Supports Coordinator at  for insight into:

  • Housing options and search strategies
  • Transportation and driving requirements in Nova Scotia
  • Employment opportunities for partners/spouses
  • Enrolling your children in school
  • Your community – groceries, fun activities, events
  • Packing tips

Temporary accommodation

Nova Scotia is experiencing a shortage of rental housing, making finding long term accommodation challenging and expensive. It can take up to 4 months to secure a place to live for the long term. NSCC does not recommend using temporary (or short-term) housing as a long-term housing solution. Short-term housing should only be used as a solution between your arrival and your lease start date. You should secure long-term housing and only using short-term housing as a method to view potential long-term listings.

Temporary accommodation (hotels, Airbnb's) can be quite expensive, have finite dates, and be difficult to secure - especially in the peak tourism months. If you are planning to stay in temporary accommodations it is important to budget appropriately, as it is important to be financially prepared to sustain the cost of living in Nova Scotia.

If you haven't secured a place to live before arriving for your NSCC program, we encourage you to budget for, and book, temporary accommodations for at least a month.

NSCC Living in Nova Scotia: A Resource Guide for Students

We have developed our NSCC Living in Nova Scotia: A Resource Guide for Students to assist you in gaining knowledge and skills for living in Nova Scotia. The primary goal of this guide, which contains information relevant to all campuses, is to provide you with knowledge and tools in how to search for housing, being successful tenants and understanding how to be safe in your local and campus communities. All students who complete this guide can take a short quiz and receive a digital statement of completion. 

Apartments and rentals

How to find off-campus housing

To see what's available near your campus, or to post a free ad for a roommate or sublet, use Places4Students – a website where you can advertise or find rental options. You can also check the internet (e.g., Google search, social media) for other rental listings. Be proactive in learning about rental scams and learn how to protect yourself from negative rental experiences.

Canada Homestay Network (CHN) (currently not taking clients - updated: July 19, 2023) provides an option for domestic and international students who are looking to live with local, participating families in the Halifax and Dartmouth areas. Homestay families are carefully screened, and homes are vetted. You can apply directly for homestay through the Canada Homestay Network.

Types of off-campus housing
There are several types of furnished and unfurnished apartments; some are in houses and others in high-rise complexes. Types of apartments include:
  • 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 ground level. Check that they are 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.
  • Homes: Full houses best suited for families.
Average monthly rent costs
Rent costs vary across the province and depend on the type and size of accommodation. For more information on housing and the cost of living, view Numbeo or cost of living details on our international student website.
Average housing costs in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) resemble the following:
  • Bachelor apartment: $500 to $1,000 per month
  • 1-bedroom apartment: $1,000 to $1,500 per month
  • 2-bedroom apartment: $1,000 to $2,000 per month
  • Multiple-bedroom apartment or house: $1,500 to $2,500 per month
  • Rooms in homes are often for rent and range in price
Unless specified that you are renting a furnished apartment, you will 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.
Renting with pets
It is very difficult to rent an apartment or a house if you have pets. Options are limited.
Submitting a rental application

To rent an apartment, a house or a room, rental companies usually require you to submit an application to prove that you have enough money to pay your rent. Private property owners may or may not require one. See what a typical application looks like (PDF 161KB).

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 also may be asked to:

  • Give biographical information about yourself and all other occupants of the property.
  • Provide information about where you've lived before and offer references.
  • Undergo a credit check.
  • Pay a damage deposit (half a month's rent) to secure the apartment. If you've kept the apartment in good condition, you get the damage deposit back when you move out.
  • Provide proof of tenant insurance. Even if you're not required to provide proof, you should have tenant insurance.

Note: Asking someone to pay more than half a month’s rent in advance is an illegal practice in Nova Scotia. Application fees or key money are also illegal.

Signing a lease

When you sign a lease or rental agreement, you’re agreeing to be a good tenant, committing to the duration of the lease and committing to paying rent on time. Once you've signed a lease, it's difficult to break the contract. 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 is illegal to ask for more than ½ month’s rent as a damage deposit)
  • Ask for changes: If there is anything on the lease you that you don't agree with, have it changed before you sign it.
  • Sign the lease: Once you sign a lease, it is difficult to break the terms of the agreement and you're responsible to pay rent, so make sure you read lease documents thoroughly before signing them.
  • Get a free copy of your Residential Tenancies Act: The person you're renting from must give you a copy of the Act within 10 days of the day you sign your lease.
Finding roommates
A roommate is a person who shares an apartment (or sometimes a room) with you. If you’re looking for a place to live and would like to live with a roommate, you can use Places4Students to post your profile – click ‘roommate profiles’ and then navigate to the roommate finder.

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 be loud and regularly social. It’s important to have conversations around expectations before moving in with your roommate, especially if you don’t know them ahead of time.
Living with roommates
It’s important to have conversations around expectations before moving in with your roommate — especially if you don’t know them ahead of time. Open communication is a great tool to help prevent conflict. In addition to regular roommate meetings, a roommate agreement can aid in open communication. This agreement can guide interactions, purchasing of shared items, communication, and all other items. Use the NSCC Roommate Agreement.
Protecting yourself from negative rental experiences

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 viewings.

Inspect the property when you move in: Check the place to see if anything is missing or requires repair. Cross reference with what's listed on your lease/rental agreement.

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 and rental scams: Application fees, key money or multiple months of rent paid in advance are all illegal practices. You can call Dalhousie Legal Aid Service at 902-423-8105 or  if you're experiencing problems with your lease and don’t know what to do.

Learn more about protecting yourself from negative rental experiences – view our video about rental scams and other video resources for renters on YouTube.

Housing consultants

Van Sweet Home (currently not taking clients - updated: July 19, 2023) provides private consultation for international or domestic students who are looking to find a place to live. For a fee, they will seek out accommodations on your behalf and support you in the rental process. Van Sweet Home offers a discount to NSCC students. Find out more about their pricing and services.

Transportation 

Many of our campuses are in rural areas of the province. If you’ve chosen a campus outside of Halifax or Dartmouth, you need to plan how you’ll get to your campus. Learn about transportation in Nova Scotia.

Questions

Contact Kaileigh Skinner, Housing and Transition Supports Coordinator at

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