If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you either currently attend or have just been accepted into med school or residency here in Ottawa and looking for an apartment, condo or house. For those who are unsure of Ottawa, this can seem like a daunting task of getting familiar with locations of campuses and other hot spots. However, even for a local it can be difficult to find well priced housing near work or school. Luckily, not only have I been able to assist many residents, students and fellows with finding housing here in Ottawa, my partner is also a PGY2. This gives me a much better understand of the process you are going through and what your needs might be. Hopefully with the information below it will better assist you.
Above is a basic map showing the locations of the main Ottawa hospitals (not including Queensway Carleton which is more to the left - med students most likely will not visit here). This map also shows the two uOttawa campus locations.
Most Important - Budget
Most important thing when looking for housing is budget. This will decide location, quality, and the amount of options you have. Do you want to live with someone? Another student, your partner or cat/dog? Do you need parking? Utilities and parking can sometimes add to the cost, so knowing what you need/expect, will help when looking around.
Under $600 per month - Best bet if you are looking to maximize every dollar, get a group together and rent a house. You can expect anywhere from $500-600 per room when you rent a house (usually plus utilities). Not everyone is looking to live with roommates.
$600 to $1,300 per month - Will be hard to find a decent, clean, one bedroom in a good location under $900. If you are hoping to find something up to $1,300 per month, then your going to have much more availability, for clean, well located one bedrooms. You MIGHT find some lower end two bedrooms. Best bet will be to use services like Kijiji (http://www.kijiji.ca/) or slightly more user freindly PadMapper (http://www.padmapper.com). Keep in mind that you are usually dealing directly with landlords and there is no guarantee of who is behind the computer posting the ads. Keep in mind that there are also some low cost rental apartment buildings that might have some occupancy (I will have more information about these down below).
$1,300 - $1,800 per month - This is where I would suggest if you are looking for a clean, decent, high quality one bedroom in a desirable area. You will be able to find two bedrooms, but location, size, and quality will impact what you find. Buildings such as a condo, or higher end rental building will fall in this category. At this price point, I am able to help (no charge) in finding a rental, depending on what you expect in quality.
Over $1,800 per month - High quality two bedroom units, one bedroom furnished units, or townhouses. Still use Kijiji or Padmapper at this price point, but also use Realtor.ca.
Once you have a better idea of what you are looking for, time to get a little more familiar with Ottawa. Many students choose to live in either Downtown ( SandyHill/Lees, Centretown, Byward Market), Westboro/Nepean, or Alta Vista (Freedom Private, etc). This will depend on who you are and what you would prefer. Living downtown would mean close to restaurants, bars, things to do… however you need to drive/bus to school/work. Also, many students choose to live in Freedom Private area which usually consist of three bedroom townhouse or single detached houses that are a short 5min walk to school, but not close to any restaurants or bars in Ottawa. Nothing in a 3km radius.
This map gives a ROUGH guide to apartment buildings and locations in Ottawa. For the interactive version CLICK HERE.
Things to keep in mind:
- Expect a minimum of a one year lease.
- You will be required to pay first and last months rent as a deposit.
- You will be asked to fill out a application, which asks for rental history, references, income.
- Things move quick.
- Keep in mind MOST of the available condos and homes will be in private rentals, through landlords.
- French med school? At the top right corner of the map you will find Montfort Hospital, which is where the french class/residents will spend quite a bit of time.
What about Buying?
If you are just starting med school, you have a minimum of four years here in Ottawa. That is a significant amount in rent, that is essentially paying off your landlords mortgage. If you or your parents have the 5% down ($15,000 depending on the property) you should think about if it makes sense to buy instead. You can always rent out your house or condo if you decide to do residency elsewhere until you know where you want to live permanently. This is a big decision, but nothing greater than coming home after a 24hr call to YOUR home.
I Need Help Finding a Place
Having difficulty or have a question about housing? There is no cost to using me to help you find a home to rent or buy. I have helped many students/residents, fellows and staff with housing issues. Call/txt me directly 613-286-9501 or email Matt@MattRichling.com. I can assist you in finding the perfect place to rent or buy.