How to: Look for Housing

So you’re getting evicted. Or your family is asking you to move out. Or your current roommate is stressing you out. Or you’re staying on your buddy’s couch.

Sounds like you need to find a new place to live.

But where to start?

Finding new housing can be stressful, but these are some easy steps you can take to find a new place to call home.

Step 1: Get a Stable Income

Housing costs money. The first step in getting a place to live is having a stable income from EMPLOYMENT or EIA.

  • Do you need help finding a job? Get in touch with our employment and income team, here
  • Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) is the government name for welfare. If you aren’t ready to work, your first step is to get onto EIA. To get onto EIA, call 204-948-4000 or go to RaY staff can help you with this if you need it.

Keep in mind that securing an income can take some time, so you might want to contact RaY staff for advice while you wait.

Step 2: Set Realistic Goals

Set a realistic housing goal by considering your income, past rental history, credit history, and whether you have references or a co-signer. Having poor rental history, credit, and no co-signer will limit your choices.

REMEMBER: You will have to keep an open-mind. Your first apartment is not your forever place!

A sample housing goal could look like: Bachelor apartment, Downtown Winnipeg, $650-700/month

Step 3: Start Looking!

Go online, find a Renter’s Guide, or look in the newspaper to what is currently available! See below for a list of websites where vacancies are posted.

TIP: Look every day and set-up an email alert. Affordable apartments are few and far between, meaning landlords get dozens of calls daily for the same listing. You have the best chance if you jump on a good opportunity as soon as it is posted!

Step 4: Set-up a Viewing

Respond to any ads you are interested in by calling the landlord to schedule an apartment viewing. We    recommend setting up as many viewings as you can to give yourself the best chance in finding something.

TIP: Call many times, leave many messages. Don’t get discouraged if you reach the voicemail or get no answer. Landlords receive dozens of calls daily and they can be hard to reach.

TIP: Have questions prepared for the viewing. For a helpful list click here.

Step 5: Ask for an Application

When you find a place that will do, ask for an application! Do this at the viewing.

Make sure you ask where the application should be handed in and how long you should wait to hear a response.

We recommend handing in the application ASAP.  Follow up with the landlord or property management company after a couple days.

We also recommend continuing to look for other places even as you wait.

Step 6: Sign the Lease

Signing a lease can be intimidating. Make sure you read the lease, and that you take a copy of the lease for your records.

TIP: If you are on EIA, complete your Rent Form. Take your Rent Form to the landlord for them to fill out and sign it. Sign it yourself and drop it off at your EIA office, OR, give it to one of the housing workers at RaY to fax to your EIA worker. Rent forms typically take 7-10 business days to be processed by EIA. If your landlord requires confirmation from EIA before you move in, see one of RaY’s housing workers for assistance.

These are important steps to take when trying to find housing. It’s ok to feel intimidated, it’s a big step!

Still have questions? Read more about RaY’s Housing programs, here.

Good luck, and happy house hunting!