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.

Off-Campus Living hosts events throughout the year. To learn more about these events, students can subscribe to our newsletter by emailing commuter@uoguelph.ca.

As a new student, you can get connected to other Class of 2024 Gryphons who are also living off-campus through a Microsoft Teams group. Visit STARTonline.ca/social to learn more.  You’ll find opportunities to chat and connect with your fellow Gryphons and meet our Off-Campus Living team.

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

Finding a Place to Live


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


The University of Guelph partners with Places4Students.com to provide rental listings geared to students. Beware of scams on Kijiji and Craigslist. Look for listing services such as rentpanda.ca that verify listings prior to posting them. The Central Student Association also has classifieds on thecannon.ca.


There are many great neighbourhoods in Guelph. U of G students often live close to campus, or along the Gordon Street corridor between the downtown core and the south end of the city.

There are a few housing options in Guelph that offer purpose-built student housing.  For more information, you can search Edinburgh Village, Solstice Guelph or Guelph Campus co-op. Most purpose-built units for students are in condos, townhouses or apartments.


Navigating a Lease


Ontario has a standardized lease. If you aren’t sharing a kitchen or bathroom with the landlord or their relative, this is the only lease you should sign. The standard lease protects you from illegal clauses. It also provides information about the Residential Tenancies Act so you can be sure you are protected.

If a landlord presents you with a lease other than the standard lease, request that the agreement be moved to the standard lease.


The Off-Campus Living office provides free lease reviews. E-mail ocl@uoguelph.ca and attach a copy of the lease for review. You can also set up a time to have the Off-Campus Living office review the lease with you before you sign it.


The typical length of a lease in Guelph is 12 months. Although many students would prefer an 8-month lease, it is rare to find such agreements in Guelph.

One of the best ways to secure short-term housing is to find another student who is subletting their room or unit. You can often negotiate the length of a sublet. Subletters may be more flexible, and sometimes they offer accommodations by the semester. If you choose to enter a sublet agreement, ensure you have a written contract with the subletter that outlines each party’s rights and responsibilities.

You will find sublets listed on Places4Students.com and thecannon.ca.


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.


Moving During COVID-19


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