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The skyrocketing cost of rent in Canada is making it tough for renters to keep up with their rent payments, prompting many to actively seek cheap apartments for rent in places across Canada.

Depending on where you live, especially if you live in one of Canada’s most expensive cities, rent can be well over $3,000 a month for a 2-bedroom unit. We’ve seen housing prices soar over the recent past, but rent is spiking right along with them. In fact, the average rent for all property types in Canada jumped 12.2% from December 2021 to December 2022. 

Whether you’re looking to rent your first apartment or are already renting and seeking something more affordable, finding a cheap apartment to rent can help save you hundreds of dollars a month.

How To Find Cheap Apartments For Rent In Canada

There are several websites that not only list available units for rent in different markets across Canada but also help you zero in on places with affordable rent. Here are a few sites to check out to find cheap apartments for rent in your city of choice:

Zumper

Zumper.com

Zumper lets you decide between short term and long term rentals in Canada. Short term is up to 6 months and can be a vacation or furnished rental. Choosing the long term option gets you more traditional rental options.

The site is user-friendly. You set the budget and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that you want. Other filters included pets allowed, type of place (including student housing), and amenities.

RentCafe

RentCafe.com 

RentCafe lets you quickly search for cheap rental units in your city that offer all the features you need. Simply plug in the specific location you’re looking in, and RentCafe will pull up a list of units on both a map and in list format. 

You can narrow your search by filtering for price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type of property, and several more options to help the platform come up with a list that’s suited to your needs. 

Rentals.ca

Rentals.ca

Rentals.ca is a user-friendly, map-based rental search platform to help you find an apartment according to your specifications. You can be as broad or specific as you want in your search, and Rentals.ca will quickly populate results that match your request. You can also use the Rentals.ca app so you can search for cheap apartments for rent on your mobile device. 

Louer.ca

Louer.ca

If you’re looking specifically for cheap apartments for rent in Montreal and major Quebec cities, Louer.ca is for you. Search for apartments, condos, townhouses, detached homes, and even commercial properties for lease. The site also has a Featured Properties section to help you a head start on your apartment search. 

Begin by entering the city name and choosing from various filters to help Louer.ca come up with a list of relevant search results. Ads are mobile-friendly too, so you can access the rental information on your mobile device.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook is not just designed to help you connect with long-lost friends, but it can also be used to help you find your next rental unit. With Facebook Marketplace, you can search for cheap apartments for rent near you that closely match your budget and the features you’re looking for in a home. There’s also a “Notify Me” feature that you can set up to be notified when new rental listings match your search terms.   

Kijiji

Kijiji.ca

Kijiji has become a popular online classified site, and you can use it to find your next apartment. Like other apartment-finder websites, Kijiji allows you to enter multiple filters to help you narrow down the search results and populate only units that meet your criteria. You can sort the listings according to price, and turn on notifications so you can receive alerts when new listings are posted.  

RentBoard

Rentboard.ca

Rentboard.ca is another online platform that lets you search from thousands of rentals across the country. You can specify the location, price range, unit type, and amenities you’re interested in, and create a free account to manage your search settings. You can also sign up for email alerts for new vacancies, which Rentboard.ca scans for every hour.

4Rent

4rent.ca

4rent.ca helps you find the cheapest deals on apartments and houses for rent in popular cities across Canada. Similar to other sites, you can be as narrow or broad with your search criteria in your hunt to find the perfect place. There’s also a handy map to give you a more visual idea of the exact location of each property.

Realtor

Realtor.ca

Real estate professionals use Realtor.ca to list and market their properties, including those that are for sale and for rent. Prospective tenants have the benefit of searching through listings that are backed by real estate brokerages. The site allows users to filter their search results to help find the perfect apartment at an affordable price.   

What’s The Cheapest Type Of Rental In Canada?

Generally speaking, apartments are the cheapest type of property to rent. Apartments are part of a complex owned by one entity, then are rented out to individual tenants. 

Condos may seem similar to apartments, but they differ in terms of ownership. Unlike apartments, condo units are individually owned, with the entire complex managed by a condo corporation.  

While the size of apartments and condos are similar — based on the number of bedrooms — condos are usually more expensive to rent. That said, condos tend to offer more in terms of amenities, depending on the complex. 

For instance, it’s not uncommon to find amenities like swimming pools, gyms, party rooms, guest suites, rooftop patios and BBQs, and even pet spas in condominiums. Amenities like these, which residents can use at their disposal, will typically increase the price of condo units. 

If you’re looking to rent a place, apartments can be slightly cheaper than condos. The amount of savings depends on the city. In Toronto, for instance, it costs roughly $700 less, on average, to rent an apartment in Toronto than a condo.  

Having said all that, apartments may be a more affordable option when you’re renting a studio or 1-bedroom unit. But if you need additional bedrooms, you may be better off renting a townhouse, semi-detached, or detached home. 

A 2-bedroom home, for instance, is about $200 cheaper per month than a 2-bedroom apartment, on a national scale. The following chart outlines the average national prices for apartments, condos, and houses of various sizes: 

Studio1-Bedroom2-Bedroom3-Bedroom
Apartment $1,348$1,655$2,024$2,289
Condo$1,793$1,970$2,306$2,661
Townhouse/HouseN/AN/A$1,822$2,314

Cheap Apartments To Rent Are Great, But What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Rent?

Rent is rapidly increasing across Canada, and in some cases, it can be just as expensive to rent as it is to own. According to Rentals.ca, rents increased by 12.2% in 2022, on average. 

With the increase in rent prices across Canada as well as rising debt levels, many renters are finding it difficult to keep up with their rent payments. Failing to pay rent can come with some serious consequences, from interest and penalty fees to eviction and a ding on your credit score

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid these repercussions if you’re having trouble paying your rent.

Speak To Your Landlord 

The first thing you should do is reach out to your landlord and explain the situation. Ideally, you should speak to your landlord well in advance of missing a rent payment. Giving the landlord as much notice as possible will give them more time to help you come up with a plan and resolve any issues. 

If it’s just a one-time deal, your landlord may be understanding and flexible, but they’ll still need some leeway, especially if they’re depending on that rent cheque to cover their carrying costs. 

They’ll also likely expect you to make up for that missed payment at some point unless they’re generous enough to let it go entirely. But if this is going to be an ongoing issue, you may have to take further action. 

Pay With Credit Card 

Landlords don’t often accept credit card payments as a form of rent payment. They typically prefer cheques, e-Transfers, or cash. But even if your landlord doesn’t accept credit cards, you can use third-party apps and rent pay platforms that let you use credit to cover your rent. 

These apps and services collect your credit card payment and deposit it in your landlord’s account on your behalf. By paying your rent with your credit card, you don’t have to come up with the money by the rent due date, and instead, you can make minimum payments on your credit card. Just keep in mind that only making minimum payments will make it more difficult to repay your credit card debt, and you’ll accrue more in interest. 

You can also take advantage of cash back rewards on your credit card with every dollar spent, and you can use the card to build good credit with timely payments.

Plastiq and Letus (powered by RentMoola) are a couple of examples of rent payment services that work with major credit cards, like Visa, Mastercard, Amex.

Spread Costs With A Personal Loan 

If your inability to make rent one month is a temporary issue, you may want to consider taking out a personal loan. You can use the funds to cover your next rent payment. 

Many online lenders offer quick approval and funding. If you have good credit, you may be able to get a low interest rate, which will make your loan more affordable. Even if you have bad credit, you may still be able to get approved for a personal loan, though you’ll likely be charged a much higher rate to offset the lender’s risk.

Cheap Apartments For Rent: Watch out For Rental Scams

Your goal may be to find cheap apartments for rent to keep your rental costs low but be on the watch for rental scams. Criminals working within this sphere attempt to lure unsuspecting victims and scam them out of their money. 

Be on the look-out for the following red flags that could be tell-tale signs of a rental scam:

Cheap rent for a nice apartment. The first sign to look out for is an ultra-low rent price, particularly as it compares to the unit itself. If the place is very nice and is priced well below the current market level, it may be a scam. While you could happen upon a legitimate deal, you’ll want to investigate further to be 100% sure.

Landlord is unavailable for a tour. Most prospective tenants like to visit a property in person before they sign a lease. If the supposed owner of the property says they’re unavailable to show you the place because they’re out of town (or give you other excuses of that nature), consider that a red flag. Most legitimate owners would make themselves available before listing a rental property. 

Upfront security deposit required. In some places in Canada, landlords are not allowed to ask for a security deposit upfront. This is the case in Ontario, for instance, where the Ontario landlord-tenant laws state that landlords cannot charge their tenants a security deposit. However, landlords can ask for last month’s deposit, or rent deposit.

Find out what the laws are in your area. If the landlord demands a security deposit without a formal written lease agreement, you should be suspicious, especially if the money is requested via a wire transfer or other informal method of payment.

Communication is made outside the rental platform. If you found a cheap apartment for rent on a specific rental website, communications between you and the owner should normally take place within that platform’s portal. If the so-called owner wants to converse with you on another website, you should probably walk away, especially if the person is requesting personal or financial information.

How To Qualify For Cheap Apartments For Rent In Canada

One of the best ways to find cheap apartments for rent in Canada is to use an online rent platform like the ones mentioned above and search for properties that do not exceed your maximum rent price. But you can also strengthen your credentials to secure the lowest possible price on a rental property, despite what the posted price may be.

The best way to do that is to ensure your credit score is as strong as it can be. A high credit score is a sign that you’ve been diligent with your past bill payments. 

If you can prove to a prospective landlord that you’re responsible with your financial obligations, they may be more comfortable knowing that they won’t have to hound you for rent every month. This is a major appeal to landlords. 

As part of the application process, landlords often ask lease applicants for permission to have their credit score checked. Once you provide the landlord with the go-ahead, they’ll apply to check your credit history. If your landlord sees that you have a positive credit history, you may be in a better position to negotiate a lower price on your rental unit.

How To Check Your Credit Score For Free In Canada 

Before you apply for a lease, consider finding out what your credit score currently is. It’s a good idea to have a clear idea of where you stand with your credit score, as it will impact how strong your lease application will be.

You can check your credit score for free at CompareHub, an online comparison platform. If you sign up, Compare Hub can also help you find the best and cheapest loans to pay rent with the lowest rates based on your financial and credit profile.

Cheap Apartments For Rent Do Exist!

Rent is certainly not cheap in Canada, especially in major centres like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. But that doesn’t mean cheap apartments for rent don’t exist, even in and around these more expensive markets. By using online tools and working towards building good credit, you can find an apartment that fits well within your budget. 

How To Find Cheap Apartments For Rent In Montreal

July 1st may be widely celebrated as Canada Day across the country, but in the province of Quebec, it’s also known as Moving Day. If you’re looking to rent a place in any city in Quebec, chances are your current lease will end on June 30th, and you’ll move on July 1st. 

Moving Day started way back in the mid-1700’s when the French colonial government of New France prevented landlords from evicting their farmers during the colder season. By the 1970’s, the provincial government of Quebec made July 1st the official Moving Day.

But Moving Day is more of a tradition in Quebec, and not a legal provision. Landlords are free to start and end lease dates any time of the year, though July 1st continues to be a very popular day of the year to move in Quebec. 

Regardless of what your specific lease end date may be, you’re required to provide your landlord with an End of Lease Notice in writing. What if your lease does not specify an end date? You must give the landlord notice at least 1 or 2 months before moving out. If your lease is for at least 12 months, you need to give your landlord at least 3 to 6 months notice before the end of your lease.

If you’re planning to move out of your current place to find cheap apartments for rent in Montreal, your best bet is to use one of the sites mentioned above. You can can filter your search by specifying the maximum price you’re willing to pay, and look in specific areas in Montreal that typically have lower rent prices compared to other communities.

Cheapest Neighbourhoods In Montreal 

The following areas of Greater Montreal have the cheapest rent. The following prices are for 1-bedroom apartments as of early 2023, according to stats generated by Zumper.com:

  • Montréal-Nord: $1,050
  • Lachine: $1,075
  • Dorval: $1,185
  • Vieux-Rosemont: $1,250
  • Côte-des-Neiges: $1,359
  • Ahuntsic-Cartierville: $1,363
  • Westmount: $1,373

These centres are within the city limits of Montreal. Looking outside of the city limits to surrounding cities within the greater metro area may afford you with lower prices. The closer you are to the city centre, the more expensive rent prices will be, and vice versa. 

The following areas within the greater metro area of Montreal may offer slightly lower rent prices:

  • Châteauguay: $710
  • Mirabel: $1,050
  • Longueuil: $1,153
  • Laval: $1,395

How To Find Cheap Apartments For Rent In Toronto

Leases in Toronto typically specify the length of tenancy. Tenants have the option to either renew their lease or allow it to expire when the end date arrives. 

If the lease expires without any notice given to the landlord that the tenant intends to move out, the lease automatically follows a month-to-month basis. Even if a new lease isn’t signed, the terms of the original lease continue, which means both tenants and landlords must adhere to them.

If you want to move out of your apartment, you need to provide your landlord with written notice at least 60 days before the lease end date, whether you’re on a fixed term or monthly lease. If you’re on a weekly or daily tenancy, you must provide at least 28 days’ notice of your intention to vacate the premises.

Cheapest Neighbourhoods In Toronto 

If you’re looking for cheap apartments for rent in Toronto, consider the following neighbourhoods:

  • Rexdale: $1,600
  • New Toronto: $1,775
  • Downsview: $1,875
  • East York: $1,900
  • Keelesdale: $1,999
  • Parkdale: $2,015
  • Weston: $2,050

You can find low rent prices in other areas in Greater Toronto, outside Toronto proper, including the following centres:

  • Clarington: $1,475
  • Ajax: $1,650
  • Oshawa: $1,725
  • Brampton: $1,975

How To Find Cheap Apartments For Rent In Vancouver

As is the case in Montreal and Toronto, tenants in Vancouver must provide landlords with written notice to end their lease

For both fixed and month-to-month leases, tenants must ensure that the landlord receives this notice at least 1 month before its effective date, and before the date the rent is due. For fixed-term tenancies, the effective date of the notice can’t be any earlier than the term’s end date. 

Cheapest Neighbourhoods In Vancouver 

Vancouver is an expensive place to live. That said, certain areas of the city are more affordable than others. The cheapest places to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in the city of Vancouver are as follows:

  • Victoria-Fraserview: $1,600
  • Sunset: $2,000
  • West Point Grey: $2,250
  • Richmond: $2,300
  • Renfrew-Collingwood: $2,350
  • Burnaby: $2,350
  • Kitsilano: $2,450

Cheaper prices are available outside the city limits but still within Metro Vancouver:

  • Abbotsford: $1,450
  • Maple Ridge: $1,700
  • Delta: $1,800
  • Lions Bay: $1,850

Cheap Apartments For Rent In Canada FAQs

Can a landlord ask for a security deposit in Canada?

A security deposit may be requested before you rent an apartment, which landlords may be allowed to do in some places in Canada. If a security deposit is requested, it cannot exceed the cost of 1 month’s rent. However, some provinces or territories do not permit landlords to demand a security deposit, like Ontario.

Why do landlords need to check your credit?

A credit check will tell the landlord what your payment habits have been like in the past, whether you’ve ever been delinquent on loans and credit accounts, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy, or if you have any other financial issues. 

Where is the cheapest place to rent in Canada?

According to Rentals.ca’s national rent report, the cheapest place to rent in Canada is in Lloydminster, Alberta. The average price for a 1-bedroom apartment is $840, as of January 2023.

How much can my landlord increase my rent? 

Landlords are allowed to increase rent to help offset rising carrying costs but must provide ample notice to tenants in advance of increasing rent. However, they typically have to abide by rules that govern rent increases.  Provinces generally have rent control, which places a limit on how much a landlord can demand in rent, as well as how much they can increase rent by each year. If landlords wish to increase rent above the provincial guidelines, they’ll need to apply to the local rent authority for approval. There are online tools you can use to help you calculate how much your landlord is allowed to increase your rent.
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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