Searching Tips and Checklists

Tips for Searching in North Bay:

  • Start early—give yourself lots of time, plan and budget for at least three trips to see rental units if you live elsewhere.
  • Location, location, location—settle on a search area where you will find convenient places you are likely to go (close to campus, bus routes, grocery stores, laundry services, parking).
  • See every place—never agree to rent something you have never physically looked over.
  • Be picky—search at least 5 different places, so you have some options to compare.
  • Ask lots of questions, the more you know the better.
  • Be persistent—look frequently, check often, and once you have found your place follow up with a landlord.
  • Go with your gut—do you feel safe here, casually see who the neighbours are, drive around the neighbourhood. Did it smell musky when you walked in the unit? You will either love it right away or not, be cautious.
  • Talk to current tenants about the landlord and property. Ask about the landlord's response time to repairs, maintenance or other issues that are of your concern.

Does the Property Meet Your Needs?

There are a lot of things that need to be considered while looking for a place to live in North Bay, as you want to be comfortable in this space.

Location:

  • Proximity to campus- Is it walking distance? Is there reasonable access to a bus stop, will you have to make any transfers? If you own a car are there parking spaces available?
  • Proximity to amenities- How will you access places to go grocery shopping, getting mail, doing laundry, banking, etc.?

Facilities:

  • Does it have enough space for you and your roommates? North Bay by-laws states a rental property cannot have more than 5 bedrooms.
  • Does it offer storage for belongings?
  • Is there laundry facilities onsite?
  • What access to cooking facilities do you have?
  • Are telephone, internet, and/or cable available?
  • Are you allowed to personalize the space (painting, hanging pictures)?

Responsibilities:

  • Is the landlord responsible for cutting grass?
  • Is the landlord responsible for shoveling snow?

Rental Terms:

  • Does it fit within your budget?
  • Does it include any utilities or are they extra?
  • Are your required to sign a lease or an agreement with the landlord?
  • Is subletting allowed?

Residential Rental Housing License

In 2012, the City of North Bay created the Residential Rental Housing by-law 2012-55, whch created the Residential Rental Housing License. This license needs to be obtained by landlords who rent out 3-5 bedrooms in a single house. Once an application for the license has been made, an inspection of the house will be conducted by at least 2 members of city staff from the Fire, Building, and Zoning departments to ensure the building is up to code and follows the city by-laws. Another inspection by an electrical contractor is also required.

Once these inspections have been passed successfully, the landlord will obtain their license. A certificate proving the landlord has obtained this license must be displayed within 1 meter of the main entrance of the rental house. This license is valid for 2 years and must be renewed. The license puts ease of mind to both the landlord and the students renting because everyone involved knows that the house is up to code and is safe.

When viewing a house for rent, check to make sure the certificate is displayed, and that it is not expired. If there is not a certificate of license that you can see, ask the landlord. The City of North Bay reccommends that if you view a house that should have a license, and it does not, do not rent a room from that house as it has not been approved of all the requirements for a rental home in the City of North Bay. 

Inspecting the Property

There is more to property searching than just liking the place you are living- you need to make sure that it is safe. And although you may not feel comfortable inspecting the physical condition and amenities of an apartment during your visit, it’s important to remember that you will likely be living there for 8-12 months of the year, so check everything that you can. It is also important that you discuss and ask questions to the landlord while you are inspecting.

Location:

  • Do you feel safe in the neighbourhood?

Safety:

  • Does the landlord have a Housing License? A Housing License is needed whenever a landlord is renting out 3-5 bedrooms in the same property.
  • Has the property been inspected by the fire department? If the home has a license then this is an automatic yes, otherwise this needs to be asked.
  • Main entrance door to apartment secure with a lock/deadbolt
  • All entrances are well-lighted
  • Windows are secured and lockable
  • Fire exit(s)
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

Facilities:

  • Acceptable state of repair of the building (both outside and inside)
  • Areas are clean, grass has been mowed recently, and garbage is properly secured
  • Good appearance and upkeep of the unit (carpets clean, no pests)
  • Condition of the ceiling, walls and floors (water leaks?)
  • Checked around windows/doors for drafts
  • Lighting in each room (ceiling fixtures)
  • Checked all light switches and electrical outlets (grounded?)
  • Access to the fuse box/circuit breakers
  • Access and use of the temperature control
  • Checked faucets for both water pressure and for hot water
  • Checked under the sink for water leaks/damage
  • Checked and flushed the toilet
  • Checked bathroom for leaks/damage/discoloration (mildew stains)
  • Appliances are in working order

Checklists and Resources

Apartment Hunting Checklist - Print this checklist off and bring it with you when looking at properties

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