Within the city you will find a diverse range of neighbourhoods and housing options for families, students and business people. Neighbourhoods are quiet and safe, with many green spaces and places to walk, bike or jog, and an abundance of parks and trails. While the price of real estate has been rising in the last few years, it is cheaper than in large cities such as Toronto or Ottawa. The rental market has also seen a slow rise in prices as it reflects the real estate market. When renting or buying in, or around the city, there are many things to consider.
What are my rights as a tenant?
As a tenant of a rental property in Ontario, you have rights protected by law. These rights include:
- Basic services, such as heat, water, and electricity;
- A safe home for you and your family;
- Freedom from discrimination;
- Controlled rent increases;
- Protection from unlawful eviction.
It is very important that you know and understand your rights as a tenant. To learn more about tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities visit Settlement.Org.
In Peterborough, there are organizations that can help you when you think your rights as a tenant are violated. These organizations include:
- Peterborough Community Legal Centre
- Housing Peterborough (housed at the Community Counselling and Resource Centre)
- Landlord and Tenant Board
- Peterborough Community and Race Relations Committee
- New Canadians Centre Peterborough
Where do I find apartments and houses to rent or buy?
If you do not have a friend or relative that you can stay with when you arrive in Peterborough, you will need to find temporary accommodations while you are looking for your own apartment or house.
It is advisable to make a reservation prior to your arrival in Peterborough. Examples of short-term accommodations available in Peterborough include hotels, bed and breakfasts (B&B), and rental rooms.
You can find rental housing and temporary accommodations in Peterborough and their costs at the following websites:
- Kijiji (website with classified ads)
- Peterborough Housing Resource Centre
- Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors
- Peterborough Examiner (Peterborough’s daily newspaper)
- Peterborough This Week (Biweekly community newspaper)
- Fleming College Student Housing
- Trent University Off Campus Housing
- RentSeeker.ca (website with classified ads)
In addition to the resources listed above, you can visit Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors website to view real estate listings for the Peterborough area. You can also use Realtor.ca to explore listings in Peterborough and other Canadian cities. Once you know what you need in a house (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) then you can enter in the search information and see the average prices for homes in the Peterborough area.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website contains helpful homebuying tools, such as information on mortgages, including various calculators that will help you determine how much you can afford to spend on a house, how much your monthly payment would be, etc. The CMHC also has housing information to help you make decisions and find a safe, affordable home for your family in eight different languages.
How do I choose a neighbourhood?
Incorporated as a town in 1850, Peterborough has many historical buildings and a variety of architectural styles including Georgian, Regency, and Queen Anne Revival.
There are a variety of neighbourhoods to choose from, such as the downtown core, along the west side of the Otonabee River. East City (formerly the Village of Ashburnham) is connected to the downtown by the historic Hunter Street bridge. Other neighbourhoods close to the downtown include the Old West End and the Avenues, on the west side of Park Street, and the Teacher’s College area, north of downtown between Parkhill Road and Hilliard Street. Trent University is in the north end of town, and Fleming College is located in the south west end of town.
When searching for a place to stay, you need to consider several factors. What can you afford? Would you rather be downtown, where you can walk to many things, or in a quiet area away from the downtown? Do you need to be close to Trent University or Fleming College? Do you want to be close to a school, park or playground? How large a home do you need?
Location is especially important for families with children. The location of your home will determine which school your children can attend. The distance between your home and the school will also determine whether your children will take the school bus or will need to walk or be driven to school.
You may also want to check if the location of the apartment or house you want to rent is near a bus stop. This is especially important if your family does not own a car. The City of Peterborough Transit System site has more information on bus routes.
What do I need to know before renting or buying?
The process of finding and applying for rental housing takes time, and there is a lot of information that you need to know, such as what questions a landlord can ask and what documents you will need to provide. It is also important to know and understand your rights as a tenant.
For detailed information on all aspects of renting or buying properties, read the Housing for Newcomers guide published by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or the housing section at Settlement.Org. You can also find information in the Housing section of the Newcomers Guide to Peterborough.
Buying Your First Home in Canada – What Newcomers Need To Know is a guide published by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation. This publication is translated into many different languages and is available at the CMHC website or at Settlement.Org.
To Rent or To Buy?
Both renting and buying have advantages and disadvantages. Renting can be less expensive, when renting it is easier to move to a new location, and you are not responsible for maintenance and repairs. Home ownership is more expensive but gives you more control over the home and can increase in value, giving you a return on your investment.
It is easier to find housing after arriving in Peterborough, and best to see a place in person before you make a decision – especially when buying a home. Waiting until you arrive will also give you the opportunity of learning more about Peterborough and its different neighbourhoods. If you decide to look for housing before you arrive, consider sending a family member ahead of time and looking at short-term rental options (for example, month-to-month leases instead of year-long leases).
How much does it cost to rent or buy a house in Peterborough?
Several factors will affect how much a house costs, including its location, size, condition, and (for rental properties) whether or not utilities (heat and water) are included in the rent.
Rental costs in Peterborough are lower than in larger cities like Toronto and Ottawa. The Peterborough Rental Market Report compiled by the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation shows average rental cost by the size of the apartment building and bedroom type (apartment size). A bachelor apartment is the cheapest option because it is made for one person – it has only a bathroom and one main room for eating, sleeping, and visiting. The average cost to rent a bachelor apartment in Peterborough in the Fall of 2015 was $666.00.
The Community Counseling & Resource Centre’s (CCRC) Housing Resource Centre (HRC), provides a range of services to help people find and keep housing in Peterborough City and County. HRC’s services are free and confidential for anyone living in Peterborough, regardless of their length of time or status in Canada. Drop-in services include housing assistance, housing information, vacancy listings and referrals to other community organizations. HRC is sometimes able to provide financial assistance to eligible individuals for housing related needs such as overdue rent or utility bills, last month’s rent and moving costs.
The Housing Resource Centre specializes in helping individuals or families to find and keep their housing and preventing crisis and homelessness. HRC staff and volunteers work with the government and community on issues affecting their clients. This includes issues related to affordable housing, poverty and social justice. Visit their website at www.housingpeterborough.com for more information, or call them at 705-743-2272 ext. 207.
Housing Access Peterborough (HAP) is where you go to apply for subsidized housing programs for the City and County of Peterborough. Subsidized housing provides affordable housing for people whose income prevents them from finding adequate housing in the private rental market. Staff will determine if an applicant is eligible for subsidized housing (rent-geared-to-income, rent supplement, housing allowance). Applications can be picked up at the HAP office.
To see prices of rental units in Peterborough, you can compare the listings at the following websites:
There are other costs to think about in addition to the price of rent. Utilities, such as running water and heat, may or may not be included in the price of rent. Heat can be provided through electricity or natural gas. At the Peterborough Utilities website, you can check the average cost of water and electricity at a specific address in the section called Can You Afford It? Remember that heating bills are much higher in the winter than in the summer. If you are paying heating bills, you can save money by keeping the temperature lower, especially at night or when you are not at home. Other costs include television, internet and telephone.
Buying a Home
While the price of real estate has been rising in the last few years, it is cheaper to rent and buy in Peterborough than in large cities, such as Toronto or Ottawa. In a study conducted by Canadian Real Estate Magazine, Downtown Peterborough has been identified as one of Canada’s top 100 neighbourhoods to invest in for 2013. For recent information on the real estate market in the Peterborough Area, please consult this comprehensive report compiled by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. You can also visit Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors website to view current real estate listings for the Peterborough area. Once you know what you need in a house (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) then you can enter in the search information and see the average prices for homes in the Peterborough area. Please keep in mind that there are many factors that affect the price of a house, such as neighbourhood, size, age, and the materials used to build the house.If you own a home in Peterborough, you will also find that property taxes are cheaper than in most other cities in our region. The City of Peterborough has information about the property tax that you will pay on your home (calculated as a yearly amount). This should be taken into consideration when considering the purchase price of your home.