Off Campus Housing

Off-campus housing

Navigating the housing market in Calgary can be tough, it may take some time to find the perfect place.

Navigating the housing market checklist

Arrive two weeks to a month before classes begin to arrange your off-campus housing.

Book temporary accommodation

Be sure to book temporary accommodation before you arrive so you have a place to stay while searching for permanent housing. The start of semester is a busy time around campus and the city, so try to make these arrangements well in advance. Good options include staying with family or booking a hotel, hostel, or an AirBnB.

Visit the accommodation

Visit the accommodation in-person to meet the landlord and any potential roommates before committing to the property.

Be aware

Trust your instincts. If something feels off – such as the landlord will only communicate via email, they’re not willing to let you view the apartment before paying a deposit, or the place just seems to good to be true – it probably is.

Know your commute

Make sure you know what your commute to campus looks like – can you walk, or do you need to take public transport?


Renter rights and responsibilities

Content Insurance

You need to purchase content or tenant insurance. It helps to address any lost property or expenses if your belongings are lost or damaged.

If you bought insurance before coming to Canada, check your policy to see if content insurance is included. We recommend you obtain a few estimates before selecting a contents insurance coverage provider.    

Lease agreement

Before you move in to your accommodation, you and your landlord need to agree to the terms of your rental agreement in a contract. This contract is called a rental agreement. A written agreement is strongly encouraged.

There are laws in Alberta that specifically relate to landlords and tenants. Make sure that you know what your obligations are as a renter, and what is allowed of your landlord. Learn more.

Understanding your utility bills

When you are renting an off-campus accommodation, the cost of utilities (electricity, heat, water, etc.) may or may not be included in the rent.

The link below explains utility bills and helps you understand how the system works. The guide is published in six languages: English, Tigrinya, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese (Simplified and Traditional Chinese).

Read more about understanding your utility bill

Types of rental accommodation in Calgary

High rise apartments

Most apartments have full kitchen facilities and may even come with a dishwasher. Often apartment buildings may have communal facilities like a common space, pool or gym. Laundry facilities are also usually available although typically they are shared.

Walk-up condos

These are apartments in smaller two or three storey buildings. They generally have the same in-apartment facilities as high rise apartments, but they may lack the communal facilities. 


These are separate sections of a larger home. There's usually a kitchen, but there may not always be laundry facilities. Often these are in the basement of a home, so there may not be as much natural light.

Shared accommodation (house/apartment)

Sharing rental costs can reduce your living expenses, but you may not have as much privacy in this arrangement.

What area of Calgary should I live in?

Neighbourhoods in Calgary are designated by which quadrant of the city they are in. UCalgary is in the NW quadrant of the city – meaning that you likely want to avoid neighbourhoods in the deep south, unless you want a long commute.

Some of the closest neighbourhoods, where lots of students tend to live include:

  • Sunnyside/Kensington
  • Capitol Hill
  • Brentwood
  • Charleswood
  • Varsity

Picking an area depends on what’s available, as well as your lifestyle and whether you want to live downtown or closer to campus.

When looking at housing, remember to consider Calgary weather! While a 20-minute walk to campus is great in the summer, it’s a little less enjoyable in the middle of winter. Ideally you want somewhere that is easily transit accessible – the CTrain can be more reliable than buses in winter and gives you more opportunity to explore what Calgary has to offer.

Where should I look for off-campus housing?

The following websites have rental listings:

Finding housing in Calgary

Are you facing challenges in securing off-campus housing?