Once you’ve found a home, there are a few things to keep in mind when moving in.
Renter’s insurance is not really compulsory, although many landlords will require you to obtain and present proof of coverage within 30 days of moving in. In some cases it will be left up to you. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to obtain this type of insurance in order to protect your personal belongings in case of fire, theft, or other mishap. Your landlord’s home insurance will not cover your personal belongings. Renter’s insurance can sometimes be obtained through your local financial institution or from one of the many insurance brokerage offices around the city.
The Insurance Broker’s Association of BC has a link on their website to help you find an office in your area: http://www.ibabc.org/consum/consum_select_finder.asp.
Utilities are sometime included in the rent, but many times not, and if the latter is the case, you will be responsible for phoning BC Hydro (electricity) and possibly Terasen Gas to put the utilities in your name. Utilities are usually not turned off between tenants, so once you move in, it is important to call to have the account placed in your name. If you fail to do this, you may have a very irate landlord on your hands! The same follows for when you move out; simply call BC Hydro and/or the gas company to advise them of the date your tenancy will come to an end.
For the renter, water is always included.
Your hydro bill will be mailed to you every two months, and most people pay it online through their financial institution. Another way to pay is to pre-authorize BC Hydro to withdraw the payment directly from your bank account each time it is due. You can sign up for this service on the BC Hydro website: http://www.bchydro.com. Gas bills are also mailed out, and can be paid in a variety of ways. You can check the Terasen Gas website for more information: http://www. terasengas.com. Rates are also listed on these sites.
Utility rates are surprisingly reasonable in Vancouver, and compare very comparably with other North American cities. Average charges for a one-bedroom condo with normal electric usage should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-$30 per month (billed bi-monthly).
You will likely want to sign up for cable, internet, and/or phone services as soon as possible. There are several quality providers in the Vancouver area, and it is simple to call and request new service. Please see the Communication section for more information.
Toll free: 1-888-224-2710
BC Hydro: Customer Services
604 224 9376
1 800 224 9376
Mail in Canada is serviced by Canada Post. You don’t need to do anything special to start receiving mail after you arrive in Vancouver, but if and when you move, you must submit a change of address (can be done online) in order to have your mail redirected to your new address (small fee). You can also request Canada Post to hold your mail while you are on vacation. Their website can be accessed at: http://www.canadapost.ca.
There are a number of reputable shipping companies that will ship your belongings internationally. It is important to make sure you feel comfortable with the company to which you will be entrusting your household possessions. The International Movers Network has a website which can help in locating a moving/shipping company in your area. Astra International Moving and Shipping Inc. is a full-service international moving company based in Burnaby, BC. Their website can be accessed at: http://www.astrainternational.com/services.html.