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Making sense of “For Rent” Canadian classified ads

Most daily and weekly newspapers in Canada have a classified advertising section, where they publish advertisements for apartments and houses that are available to rent.

To save space, many of these ads use special terms and abbreviations that can be confusing to anyone who does not know what they mean.
To help you make sense of rental ads, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following list of some of the most common classified ad terms and abbreviations:

A/C Air-conditioning, usually central air-conditioning, which means that the air comes through the heating vents rather than through a unit that fits into a window.

Apartment Self-contained unit with its own private entrance. Apartments can be in a house or in a lowrise or high-rise apartment building.

Appl Appliances. All apartments must include a refrigerator and a stove. Some will also have other appliances such as a dishwasher or a clothes washer and dryer.

Bachelor or studio An apartment that has just one room, which is used as both the bedroom and the living area, plus a separate bathroom and a small kitchen.

Basement An apartment in the basement of a house. Basement apartments are usually cheaper than above-ground apartments, but they can also be cold, damp and have less light. Avoid damp or moldy basements, especially if you have asthma.

BR or bdrm The number of separate bedrooms in the apartment. For example, a “2BR” or “2 bdrm” apartment is an apartment with two bedrooms. In Quebec, a “2 ½ BR” or “2 ½ bdrm” is a two-bedroom apartment with a private bathroom.

Cable Cable television service. Cable TV offers better reception and more channels than TV received with an antenna. Some apartments include free cable TV as part of the monthly rent.

Flat An apartment inside a house. A flat should have its own door that locks, but you will probably share the front entrance with other tenants.

Furn A furnished apartment. A furnished apartment includes such things as a bed(s), furniture, curtains, fridge, stove and basic kitchen utensils. As a result, furnished apartments can be more expensive than unfurnished ones.

Hrdwd Hardwood floors. Hardwood floors can be healthier than carpets if you or anyone in your family has allergies or other breathing problems.

Junior one-bedroom An apartment that is larger than a bachelor apartment but smaller than a regular one-bedroom.

NS or non-smkr An apartment that is only offered to tenants who don’t smoke.

Prkg The number of parking spots that come with the apartment.

Sq. ft. The size of the apartment, as measured in square feet. To convert to square metres, multiply the number by 0.09.

Util The utilities you will need for your home. These include: electricity for the lights, stove and microwave; gas, oil or electricity for heat; cable TV; telephone or Internet service; and water. Some apartments include the cost of some or all of the utilities in the monthly rent. If an ad gives the rent followed by a plus sign (e.g., $695+), it means you will pay for the utilities on top of the monthly rent.

For more information or for free hard copies on other aspects of renting in Canada, visit www.cmhc.ca/newcomers.

Posted: Aug 5, 2011

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