COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Students Living Off Campus

Student Experience has answers to help off-campus students navigate rental living and moving in Guelph.

If you have additional questions about rental living, contact Katie McLean, the University of Guelph’s coordinator of commuter experience and rental living, at

Yes, you can live on campus in residence this summer.  Student Housing Services is accepting Summer Residence applications from University of Guelph students.

Yes, you can still move between rental units at this time. The Government of Ontario has not restricted moving between homes or rental units.

Public Health is recommending virtual tours rather than in-person ones for both landlords showing units to prospective tenants, and tenants showing to prospective subletters.

Landlords are subject to the Human Rights Code and have a duty to accommodate tenants under protected grounds, including people with disabilities. For example, conducting an in-person showing when a tenant has an immune-compromising condition could lead to a complaint under the Code.

It is important to have good conversations with everyone involved in your move, particularly your current and new landlords and housemates.

Before you move:

  • Talk with your new landlord about their plan to clean and sanitize the unit before your move-in.
  • Discuss the level of physical distancing or self-isolation that you and your new housemates have been practising to understand if and how you’ll keep these up when you move in together.

It’s also good practice to:

  • Sanitize doorknobs, handles and other high-touch surfaces regularly using one of the recommended hard surface disinfectants.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Complete the COVID-19 self-assessment if you aren’t feeling well.

Complete the COVID-19 self-assessment if you aren’t feeling well and follow the directions it provides.

If you are moving between rental units, follow these recommendations from Public Health:

  • Arrange staggered move-in times to avoid groups congregating.
  • Keep a distance of two metres from your landlord, new housemates and neighbours while moving.
  • Greet your new landlord, housemates and neighbours with a wave, a bow or a nod (do not shake hands).
  • Don’t ride elevators with other tenants or neighbours while moving.
  • Move your own items when possible and avoid having your friends or family help.

Yes. Moving companies are identified as an essential service by the Government of Ontario.  Ask moving companies about the steps they are taking to maintain a healthy workplace environment during a move.

Consider the following:

  • Talk with your current landlord about furniture storage and disposal options before you move out.
  • The City of Guelph is offering a large item pick-up service. Through this program, you can purchase a ticket and schedule a pick-up of your large items.
  • Work with a full-service storage company to store items until you can dispose of them or donate them later. DO NOT leave furniture on the curb without an arranged pickup. Large items left at the curb without a ticket are subject to fines or fees under Guelph’s Waste Management Bylaw.

The need for physical distancing has eliminated three standard options for disposing of furniture. Students are unable to access:

  • U of G’s Move Out Madness program
  • the City of Guelph’s drop-off services for large items

If you no longer plan to move into a unit that you have already signed a lease for, you have the following options:

  • Approach your landlord to discuss the possibility of terminating your lease before the end of the original lease term (leases are usually 12 months long). Ask to have any agreements you make put in writing (email counts).
  • Sublet to another tenant for a limited amount of time.
  • Assign your lease to a new tenant.

What is the different between subletting and assigning?

  • If you sublet, you remain on the lease. If you assign your lease to someone else, you permanently sign over your position on a lease to another person. When assigning, you are not responsible for future rent payments or the behaviour of the new tenant.
  • Subletting is preferable if you intend to move back into the unit. Assignment is preferable if you want to exit the lease agreement altogether.
  • Assignment requires the consent of the landlord, but landlords cannot refuse an assignee without a reasonable explanation that is accepted by the Landlord and Tenant Board. If your landlord refuses to allow you to assign your lease without a reasonable explanation, then you have the option to end your tenancy early with 30 days’ written notice. If you are in this situation, contact the Landlord and Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234 for more information on how to proceed.

Some students have expressed concern about signing a year-long lease in case physical distancing recommendations persist into the fall. In recent years, students have typically signed a lease for September just a few months ahead of their move-in date, so you still have plenty of time to find a place for the fall without making a decision right now.

You should not sign a lease if you are unsure you will be able to uphold the contract. A lease is a binding contract and can be difficult to terminate. (See question: “What if I no longer want to move into the unit that I signed a lease for?”).

If you are worried that you are unable to pay your current rent, read the “What happens if I can’t pay rent during COVID-19?” article on GryphLife.

There are a few ways you might be able to arrange for financial support during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • You may be eligible for student financial aid through the University of Guelph.
  • You might qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • Government student loan repayments are suspended until Sept. 30, 2020.
    • If your loan was issued by Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan or British Columbia, this suspension applies to both the federal and provincial portions of your student loan.
    • If your loan was issued by Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Alberta or Manitoba, the National Student Loans Service Centre administers only the federal portion of your loan, so this suspension applies to your Canada Student Loan only.