After arriving in Vancouver if you intend to buy a house or condominium you won't find much information on this page except for the following links:
However, if you intend to rent an apartment then read on.
At the time of writing this page, there seemed to be quite a few apartments available for rent in Vancouver. Often, apartment owners post "For Rent" or "Vacancy" signs with a contact telephone number outside the apartment building when they have vacancies. Also, you'll find rental apartments listed in the classifieds section of The Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers as well as the local newspapers. You can also check out the on-line version of the Vancouver Sun's classifieds section.
I guess most of you would want to know how much you'll have to pay for renting an apartment. I doubt if there is a really good answer for this, since as you might expect, there is a fairly wide range of rates depending upon the area you choose to live in, the size of the apartment, the number of appliances included in the apartment, availability of laundry facilities, parking facilities and many other factors. However, throughout BC, the security deposit you will have to put down when you sign the rental agreement, is always half the monthly rental. Also, a month's rent is due on the last day of the previous month. To get a broad idea about rental rates, take a look at aptrental.net. This web-site lists apartments in Vancouver and the adjoining cities. It also has photographs and sometimes floor plans of apartments.
Apartment owners will often rent an apartment only if you sign a one year lease. So, before you decide to rent, you are better off choosing the area you want to live in, since once you sign the lease agreement you are pretty much locked in for the lease period. The lease period could sometimes be 3 or 6 months but more often than not it is a year.
Here are a couple of other links that you might find useful:
Also, if you want to look up legal issues about renting you will find them at the Residential Tenancy Office.
Initially when I was looking for an apartment, I called up quite a few places that had advertised in the newspapers. I checked out about half a dozen apartments. As far as appliances go, all of them had at least a fridge and cooking range included as well as laundry facilities on the premises. When I decided upon the area I wanted to live in, I parked my car and walked several blocks looking for "Vacany" signs. I finally found one I liked and called the building manager and met him. After he showed me the apartment and I decided I wanted it, he asked me for references. I gave him the telephone number of my former landlady in Oakland, CA as well as the telephone number of my former employer. Since I did not have a job, he wanted to know how I would manage to pay the rent. I explained to him that I was allowed to "Land" in Canada only after demonstrating the availability of sufficient funds. He also asked for my bank details which I gave him. (By then I had already opened a bank account with a Canadian Bank.) After noting all this information, he asked me to contact him the following day.
This building manager was a pretty nice and friendly guy. The next day when I called him, I guess he must have checked with my bank about my account, but he told me he had not bothered to contact my references since we had gotten along really well when we first met. He told me that I could move into the apartment. Here's a picture of the apartment building. You can also see the "Vacancy" sign in front of the bushes at the corner of the building. The building is an older "heritage" building but it is very well maintained. In downtown Vancouver, you are more likely to find modern hi-rise structures.
I no longer live at this apartment. In mid 2004 when I left this apartment (which was a 1 bedroom apt. approximately 650 sq feet) in the South Granville neighbourhood, the rent was $900 pm.