Expats moving to Ottawa will have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. No matter their budget, expats should be able to find a home close to essential amenities and within commutable distance of their place of work.

Ottawa has various unique residential neighbourhoods to suit people from all walks. The central areas, such as The Glebe or ByWard Market, are popular among young professionals, while the affluent Rockcliffe Park is home to the city’s diplomats, politicians and businesspeople. 

Whether expats are looking for a modern apartment in the heart of the city or a larger family home in the countryside, they are sure to find the perfect accommodation in Ottawa.

Types of accommodation in Ottawa

When it comes to the types of housing, Ottawa has everything from compact city apartments and townhouses to condominiums, duplexes and multiplexes. Furnished, semi-furnished and unfurnished accommodation is also available. Furnished properties will often come at a higher price, although these may be the most convenient option for expats in Ottawa on a short-term assignment.

New arrivals should consider the condition of a property before committing to an agreement. Many prospective tenants like the idea of moving into a historic apartment or home full of character, but expats should consider the fact that many older properties require renovation and a great deal of maintenance.

Property size and proximity to good schools will certainly be key criteria for families moving to Ottawa with children. Fortunately, many schools in Ottawa offer bus services. Expats may also be able to find a home within walking distance of a local school. We also recommend that those who will be regular commuters look for accommodation near a bus stop or O-Train station.

Short-term rentals

Short-term rentals have become more popular recently, as expats who will not be in Ottawa long-term prefer furnished options. Some of these short-term rentals offer highly sought-after amenities, such as cinemas, pools and private gyms. An additional benefit of short-term rentals is that utilities are often included in the listed price. 

Expats who would like to explore a specific area or suburb before committing to a long-term lease will also benefit from short-term rentals, as this will allow them to experience the neighbourhood before signing a lease. There are various options for finding a furnished or serviced apartment in Ottawa, including Airbnb or other property portals. 

Useful links

  • The Met Luxury Rentals: For expats looking for luxury living, the Met Luxury Rentals offers a range of upmarket suites in Downtown Ottawa. The building also offers desirable amenities such as an outdoor terrace, cinema and penthouse pool. One of the most attractive offerings of the Met Luxury Rentals is its proximity to Ottawa’s business centre and exciting entertainment and restaurant options. 

Finding accommodation in Ottawa

The best place to start the house hunt in Ottawa is online using portals such as PadMapper and RentSeeker. Online listings allow house hunters to tailor their searches based on rental costs, property type and size, and accommodation suited for students, families and senior citizens. Some websites can filter accommodation searches based on parking availability and pet-friendliness.

Many new arrivals prefer enlisting the services of a real estate agent, who is usually familiar with the local property market. They can connect expats with landlords and advise them on the best areas and suburbs for value for money.

Renting accommodation in Ottawa

Making an application

Once expats find a property they like, they will need to complete a preliminary application. Generally, prospective tenants must include a letter of employment from their company stating their salary, position and length of employment. In addition, some landlords or rental agents request a reference letter from a previous landlord. Expats may also have to provide their Social Insurance Number (SIN) for a credit check.


Most landlords in Ottawa require tenants to sign a rental agreement for at least a year. The lease should state the monthly rental costs and the separate charges, which often include water and electricity.


Prospective tenants looking to secure a rental property in Ottawa mostly have to pay the first and last month’s rent upfront as a security deposit.


Typically, utilities, such as water and electricity, are not included in the rental price. With the frigid Ottawa winters, expats should budget for these costs carefully. That said, with some condominiums, expats will find that the rental is inclusive of electricity.

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

  • Comprehensive Family coverage, wherever you go
  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
  • Access to dental and orthodontic care
  • 24/7 multilingual Customer Service

Get a quote from Cigna Global

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