How do I find a rental property?

Learn more about how to search for housing in the private rental market.

Where do I start looking for housing? 

On the private rental market, you can use the following resources to find available units: 

How should I narrow down my housing search? 

Things to consider during your search: 

What challenges will I encounter during my housing search and what can I do about them? 

Landlords often have a list of things to check about a tenant when reviewing applications.  

However, landlords may have different requirements, so it’s important to understand your potential landlord’s screening criteria. Some landlords may be more flexible than others, so you should be prepared to advocate for yourself by presenting your strengths as a tenant and explaining things that may be flagged on your application. Local landlords who own a few properties are often more flexible than corporate landlords. 

Landlords are required to follow the Renters’ Access Act, which limits what they can and can’t consider during the application process.

Income: Many landlords require applicants to demonstrate income that is at least 3 times the monthly rent. They may ask for proof of income, including pay stubs or benefits statements. 

Credit: Landlords will often run a credit check. However, under the Renters Access Act, they cannot use your credit score as the only reason to deny your application. Many landlords use credit checks to see whether you have a history of on-time rental payments.  

Eviction History: If you have an eviction on your record, landlords cannot deny your application under certain circumstances under the Renters Access Act. You should be prepared to explain the circumstances of your eviction. Survivors of domestic violence have additional rights surrounding evictions. Please see our article on domestic violence and evictions for more information. 

Criminal History: Landlords can check your criminal history and use criminal charges as a reason to deny your application. You should be prepared to explain the circumstances of your charges. See our Renting with a Criminal Record Article for more information.  

Negative Landlord References: Landlords will often ask for a past landlord’s contact information as a rental reference.  

Security Deposits: Most landlords will ask for the first and last month of rent up front, along with a security deposit, so your initial payment will be about three times your monthly rent. Some landlords are open to negotiation about security deposits. You can also see our Rental Assistance Article for a list of organizations that can help you meet your deposit.  


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