When to Start
When to Start
While landlords advertise year-round, there are particular times of the year when certain types of housing are advertised in greater numbers. For instance, if you’re looking for a student house with a group of friends (requiring five or more bedrooms), these larger homes are often listed in December and January for May occupancy. However, keep in mind that there are many more that become available later in the year, so don’t worry if you haven’t made a decision before the end of the school year and don’t feel pressured to sign a lease for the first house you see.
Remember that you are financially responsible for the rent (and the state of repair) while you are subletting if you choose to do so! If you’re looking for someone to sublet your room, or if you’re a student looking for a place to stay for the spring and summer months, sublets usually begin to be advertised in early March and continue to be listed through the spring and summer. Many sublets can be viewed or listed on our off-campus housing website, offcampus.mcmaster.ca. You should also peruse the “McMaster Student Housing Postboard” on Facebook.
Apartments and rooms in shared accommodations are listed consistently throughout the year, but if you’re looking for something on your own such as a “bachelor” or one bedroom apartment then you’ll want to start looking early. There are lots available, but they can be taken quickly by other individuals seeking similar accommodations.
Most students look for a place to live based primarily on how many bedrooms there are, so this is one way in which our listings are categorized in addition to the “type of accommodation”. All OCRC listings will show the total number of bedrooms in the accommodation, as well as how many of those bedrooms are currently available for rent. There are many different types of housing options available to you, so it’s important to explore all the available options and find what works best for you.
Types of Accommodation
- Bedroom in Student House or Apartment – individual accommodation in an apartment or house shared by other students, usually a private bedroom with shared kitchen, bathroom, and common area
- Bedroom in Landlord’s Accommodation – a bedroom in a private home, usually fully furnished, shared kitchen, some with a private bath
- Apartment in House – a self-contained unit within a house with private bathroom and kitchen
- High Rise Apartment – within an apartment building of more than six floors, a self-contained unit with private bathroom and kitchen
- Low Rise Apartment – within an apartment building that does not exceed four or five floors, a self-contained unit with private bathroom and kitchen; usually does not have an elevator in the building
- Above a Store Apartment – An apartment that is above a store, restaurant, etc . . .
- Bachelor Apartment – typically one “open concept” room with a private bathroom and kitchen area
- House – a full house rented by a group of students; separate bedrooms, but all share kitchen and bathrooms
The people you live with can really affect your experience of living in that house or apartment as well as how you do at school. When you start looking for a place, take some time to sit down with your potential housemates and have a frank, honest discussion about the basic setup of your arrangement and how your life together will work on a practical day-to-day basis. Always remember that the little things matter when you share living space. Keep in mind that “best friends” don’t necessarily make “best housemates”.
Common housemate concerns
- Should the rent be split evenly or should there be a premium for larger rooms or better locations in the house?
- What will happen during the summer months, who plans on staying, what will happen for the rooms that no one plans on staying in?
- Does a subtenant have to be approved by all the remaining housemates?
- Does anyone smoke? Is this okay with the rest of the housemates?
- Does every housemate need to be the same gender?
- Who will do the dishes, clean the bathrooms, take out the garbage, etc.?
- Do people have certain standards for the above chores that should be communicated to the group?
- Do you expect quiet hours? Will you be OK if someone hosts a party?
- Who is responsible for paying the internet, electricity bills, etc. and when is everyone’s share due?
- Is it acceptable to have overnight guests and how often?