Renting in Canada [#6]: Moving in!

Let’s continue the Canadian renting topic so we can close the subject and explore other things!

Once you signed your tenancy agreement with a landlord, paid them in full, you have a date when you can finally move your stuff in. Usually it is a first day of approaching month, but sometimes apartment is ready for you to move in earlier (if the previous tenant moved out earlier and landlord has already repainted and cleaned it). If you happen to move in earlier, you just pay some extra for a several days remaining in a current month.

When you move in you first meet some representative (in our case it was a “superintendent of maintenance”) to go thru the apartment’s condition and get your keys. We were given a number of keys:

  • Building key (2 copies)
  • Apartment key (2 copies)
  • Mailbox key (1 copy)
  • Garbage container key (1 copy)

A building key works for both public entrance and a back door. We have noticed that people usually enter and exit our building thru the back door because it is the nearest door to your car. Garbage containers are located somewhere close to parking lots and they are also locked. They are locked for two reasons. First to make sure only tenants of this building dispose garbage there and second to make sure no homeless are getting in to search for something. There are separate containers for recyclable garbage such as glass bottles and aluminum cans, they stay open all the time and homeless folks sometimes inspect them for bottles to make a little money for living 🙂

When everything is done, the superintendent instructs you to set up your electricity bill with a local electrical company (BC Hydro). Basically, when you move in you have to go to their website and create an account for yourself, so electricity bills come to you, not to your landlord. This also explains a concept of an electricity bill as a proof of address. In Russia, you can hardly prove you live at any place with an electricity bill, because it comes to the owner of the place, not to a tenant. In Canada it comes to you and in order to create an account with BC Hydro you give contact details of your landlord so they can confirm your stay at the address.

After this is done, you’re basically left by a landlord to your own devices. You just need to bring a cheque or a bank draft to them every end of a month.

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