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Renting in Canada is usually established through a contract between the renter and the landlord. Renting is where you pay the property owner, known as the landlord, a monthly fee in exchange for the right to live on the property.  Legally, these contracts need to be signed by both parties and registered into the city/district housing bureau in most provinces. 

Your rent will differ greatly depending on where you live in Canada. In general, rental payments are much higher in large cities like Toronto or Vancouver than they are in smaller cities like Saskatoon or Edmonton. This article will teach you how much you should spend on rent, what affects the cost of rent, other costs to consider when renting, and how to pay rent.

Key Points

  • Overall, the average rent in Canada, for all property types averaged at $2,193.
  • Major cities like Toronto and Vancouver have significantly higher rents than smaller cities like Saskatoon and Edmonton.
  • Generally, your rent should not exceed 30% of your monthly gross income, however, this is becoming increasingly difficult to do with rising rent prices. 
  • Factors affecting the cost of rent in Canada include housing affordability, interest rates, proximity to amenities, and supply and demand.

How Much Should You Spend On Rent?

The general rule is that your debt-to-income ratio should ideally be no more than 36% of your monthly gross income, but can go as high as 43%. Of that, housing costs should be no more than 30% of your monthly gross income. 

This cost includes utilities, rent, and municipal services. For example, if you have a monthly gross income of $5,000, your housing costs should be no more than $1,500 (5,000 X 30%). However, in today’s renting landscape, this is becoming harder for Canadians to achieve. In some major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, rent takes up to 60% of people’s gross monthly income.

What Is The Average Rent In Canada?

Overall, the average rent in Canada, for all property types averaged at $2,193. However, depending on the type of property you rent, and the number of rooms it has, the average cost will vary.

  • Apartment – The average rent in Canada for an apartment is $1,922 for 1-bedroom and $2,319 for 2 bedrooms. 
  • Condominium – The average rent in Canada for a condominium is $2,163 for 1-bedroom and $2,513 for 2 bedrooms. 
  • House/Townhouse – The average rent in Canada for a house or townhouse is $1,533 for 1-bedroom and $1,992 for 2 bedrooms. 

What Is The Average Cost Of Rent By Province 2024? 

According to Rentals.ca, as of March 2024, these are the average rent prices in the most popular cities across Canada. 

Average Cost Of Rent In British Columbia

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Vancouver $2,653$3,541
Victoria$2,116$2,743
Burnaby$2,456$3,078
Kelowna$1,914$2,375
Surrey$2,056$2,521

Average Cost Of Rent In Alberta

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Calgary$1,711$2,073
Edmonton$1,312$1,639

Average Cost Of Rent In Saskatchewan

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Regina$1,243$1,429
Saskatoon$1,183$1,387

Average Cost Of Rent In Manitoba

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Winnipeg$1,360$1,760

Average Cost of Rent In Ontario

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Toronto$2,495$3,287
Ottawa$2,037$2,494
Mississauga$2,294$2,722
Etobicoke $2,255$2,799
Brampton$2,155$2,398
Scarborough$2,194$2,519
Hamilton $1,817$2,201

Average Cost Of Rent In Quebec

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Montreal$1,743$2,280
Laval $1,615$1,992
Quebec City$1,305$1,711

Average Cost Of Rent In Nova Scotia

City1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms
Halifax$1,938$2,336

What Affects The Cost Of Rent In Canada? 

Several factors affect the cost of rent in Canada: 

  • Housing Affordability – The higher the cost of housing, the higher the property will cost to rent. A landlord will want to charge more for what is considered to be more valuable property.
  • Interest Rate – The higher mortgage interest rates are, the higher a property will cost to rent. A landlord will need to charge more to cover the property’s mortgage payments.
  • Supply and Demand – The more properties that are available to rent, the lower the cost of rent. The fewer properties that are available to rent, the higher the cost of rent.
  • Overall Market – Depending on the area you live in, the condition of the economy can affect rental prices. As seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, rental prices in the downtown areas have decreased as more people fled to the suburbs or outskirts of the city. 

Other Costs To Consider When Renting

Besides everyday living expenses like food and entertainment, you need to consider: 

  • Tenant’s InsuranceTenant’s insurance is a good option if you live in an apartment or rent your home from someone else. You should have enough insurance to cover the cost of replacing everything in your home. It can also pay for any loss from or damage to where you live.
  • Security Deposit – Some landlords require you to pay a security deposit before moving in. A security deposit is an upfront payment renters need to make to cover expenses like cleaning, repairs and even unpaid rent after a tenant moves out. It is usually equal to one month’s rent but varies across Canada. Certain provinces do not require security deposits such as Ontario. That said, Ontario landlords’ generally speaking have a very strict qualifying process. Paystubs, letter of employment, credit report and references will be reviewed before consideration.
  • Utilities – You must pay utilities every month, such as electricity, heating, water, and internet, and cable.
  • Outfitting Your Place – There are several living costs you must pay when you move in. Your residence requires furniture, lights, bedding, and other things you need to live comfortably.

Learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

How Do You Pay Rent In Canada?

You are responsible for paying rent when it’s due. A rental payment is how much the landlord is charging you to stay on the premises for one month. Landlords can choose to be paid by cash, cheque, or bank transfer.

Each province and territory treats late payments differently. Although penalties for late payments are up to the discretion of the landlord, landlords can generally impose a reasonable financial penalty, offer a grace period of up to 3 days, or provide a notice to terminate the rental agreement.

Can Your Rent Payments Help You Build Credit?

Generally, rent payments are not reported to the credit bureaus. However, there are ways to have your rent payments reported to the credit bureau in Canada such as these: 

Pay Your Rent By Credit Card

Third-party platforms like Plastiq and Letus (powered by Rentmoola) allow you to pay your rent via credit card. With these platforms, you simply make a payment to them with your credit card and then they’ll send your landlord a cheque or a direct deposit.

Since the payment is made through your credit card, it can help you build your credit when you pay off your credit card bill. Moreover, if you have a rewards credit card, you can earn points through your rent payments. However, it can also negatively affect your credit if you don’t pay your balance on time or in full.

Have Your Rent Payments Reported Directly To The Credit Bureau

If you’d like a debt-free way to build your credit through your rent payments, consider third-party services such as the Landlord Credit Bureau (LCB), Chexy, and the City Lending Centers (CLC). 

For a small fee, these rent reporting providers will verify and report your rent payments to the credit bureau(s). For example, with Chexy, each payment will be reported as a new tradeline, which will help build your payment history and credit mix.

Bottom Line

Rental payments are different across Canada, but generally, you should pay no more than 30% of your gross income on rent. Several factors, including housing affordability and the overall real estate market, can affect how much your rental payment is. Besides rent, there are other costs to consider, such as tenant’s insurance. As long as you budget properly, live within your means, and pay your rent on time, you should have no trouble renting property anywhere in Canada.

Renting in Canada FAQs

Do rent payments help build your credit score?

Usually, rent payments do not help you to build your credit score. However, you can use third-party services such as Landlord Credit Bureau (LCB), Chexy, and the City Lending Centers (CLC) to report your on-time rent payments to credit bureaus, which help to improve your credit and help grow a healthy credit history.

Do I need tenant’s insurance if I’m renting?

Tenant’s insurance isn’t mandatory if you’re renting, but some rental companies require you to have proof of tenant’s insurance before they will rent you somewhere to live. Tenant’s insurance is important because it can pay for damages, damage or loss of your possessions, any personal property stolen from your vehicle, living expenses if you’re temporarily unable to live where you rent, and any injury to visitors.

Which city is the cheapest to live in?

Based on the March 2024 Rentals.ca Rent Report, the cheapest major city in Canada to live in is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. A one-bedroom apartment costs an average of $$1,183 to rent, while a two-bedroom apartment costs an average of $1,387.
Matthew Taylor avatar on Loans Canada
Matthew Taylor

Matthew joined the Loans Canada writing team in 2021 while was finishing up a Bachelor's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. It was there that he discovered his love of writing. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Canadian Student Review and NewEngineer.com. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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