A renter’s guide: How to find your perfect Ottawa apartment

By Danae Ingram

If you are new to the city, or simply moving out on your own for the first time, finding an apartment in Ottawa can be confusing and overwhelming.

That’s why the team at District Realty has put together these helpful hints for how to be successful—and not get too stressed out in the process.

Things to consider

The very first step is to figure out how much you can afford to spend on rent. Don’t forget that you will also need money for utilities, food and entertainment! There are some great rent calculators online that can help you devise a budget that works for you, such as this one from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. As soon as you know how much you have to spend, you can begin your search in earnest.

When to start

You’ll need more time than you think. Start looking for your apartment at least two months before you plan on moving. Tenants are required to give 60 days’ notice; this means that in the first week of July, there will be a ton of new apartments that will be available for September 1st. As the months pass, the great apartments get snapped up.

Do your research

When you’re trying to decide which part of town you would like to live in, there are two particularly helpful resources that you should definitely use: Google maps and the OC Transpo Travel planner. You’ll need to take into account where your work or school is located and decide how much of a commute you can live with.

Start your search

These are the top 5 apartment rentals listing sites that can really help in your search for an apartment here in Ottawa:

When using Padmapper to search, make sure to filter out Airbnb. It will give you a better idea of what long-term rentals are available.

Reach out

Once you’ve found an apartment that you like, make sure to reach out and call or email right away. Ask any questions you have and book a viewing.

  • There are a few questions you can ask that can help you determine if an apartment is the right fit for you. They include:
  • Is there a security system in place?
  • Is there an on-site Super? (someone who lives in the building who can help should a problem arise)
  • Is this a professionally managed property?
  • Who do I call if something in my apartment isn’t working properly? For example, if I have a clogged toilet or lost my keys.

Express your interest, ASAP

If you are 95% sure that the place you will be viewing is the one for you, take the time to fill out the application and have all of the required documents in place. This will help you secure the unit as quickly as possible.

Insist on professional management

If the apartment building you will be living in is professionally managed, it provides great peace of mind. You have the security of knowing that if an issue ever arises, there is a company with many resources at its disposal available to you 24/7.

The added benefit of renting an apartment that is professionally managed is that it is held to the standards of the Landlord Tenant Board. One of its roles is to provide information to tenants about their rights and responsibilities.


Once you’ve found an apartment you love, it is time to apply. If you are applying for an apartment that is professionally managed, their team will help you through the application process.

Sign your lease!

Once your application has been approved, you will need to sign the lease before you can get your keys. The province of Ontario has a standardized lease; if you are renting an apartment in Ottawa, the person you are renting from needs to use it.

Congratulations! You’ve just taken a huge first step and secured the accommodations of your choice. Soon you’ll be ready to take on the city.

Find professionally managed Ottawa apartments.

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