Expats moving to Ottawa will find a wide range of accommodation options. Depending on an expat’s budget and preferences, it could be fairly easy to find a home close to work, school, shops, medical facilities and public transport links.

Ottawa consists of various residential neighbourhoods that are suitable for a range of demographic groups. Central areas such as The Glebe or ByWard Market are popular with young professionals, while the prestigious Rockcliffe Park is home to the city’s diplomats, politicians and top businesspeople. 

Whether expats are looking for a modern apartment in the heart of the city or a larger family home in a country setting, there's plenty of choice in Ottawa.

Types of accommodation in Ottawa

When it comes to different types of housing, Ottawa has everything from compact city apartments and townhouses to condominiums, duplexes and multiplexes. Furnished, semi-furnished and unfurnished housing is available. Fully-furnished properties will come at a higher price, although are often more convenient for expats who move to Ottawa for only a short while.

It is important to consider the condition of a property when house hunting. Many prospective tenants like the idea of moving into an apartment that is part of a historic building or an older house that is full of character. However, bear in mind that many of these older properties will require renovations and maintenance.

For families moving to Ottawa with children, property size and proximity to good schools will certainly be important. Fortunately, many schools in Ottawa offer bus services. It may also be possible to find a home within walking distance of a local school. We also recommend that expats look out for accommodation near to a bus stop or O-Train station if they prefer getting around by public transport.

Finding accommodation in Ottawa

It is possible to find a good number of properties to rent using online portals, such as PadMapper and RentSeeker. Online listings allow tailoring housing searches based on rental costs and property type and size, as well as accommodation suited for students, families and senior citizens. Some websites allow searches based on the availability of parking and if accommodation is pet friendly.

Many new arrivals prefer to enlist the help of a real-estate agent who is familiar with the local property market. They can connect expats with landlords and advise on the best place for money.

Renting accommodation in Ottawa

Making an application

Once expats find a property they are interested in, they will need to complete a preliminary application. Generally, prospective tenants must include a letter of employment from their company stating the salary, position and the length of the employment contract. In addition, some landlords or rental agents request a letter of reference from a former landlord. Expats may also be asked for their Social Insurance Number (SIN) so a credit check can be completed.


Most landlords in Ottawa will want their tenants to sign a contract for at least one year. The lease should state the cost of rent per month, along with inclusions such as water and electricity.


To secure a rental property in Ottawa, expats will often be expected to pay the first and last month’s rent upfront.


Generally, utilities such as water and electricity are not included in the rental price. However, with some condominiums, expats will find that rental is inclusive of electricity.