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Choosing a Neighborhood

Simcoe County has housing available in a number of different locations. The types of communities in Simcoe County vary from urban to rural. Housing is available in a variety of landscapes, such as countryside, waterfront, urban, or suburban. Before deciding which community to settle in, it is important to consider what kind of setting you prefer.

Other considerations for deciding on which community to choose include:

  • Community size
  • Community demographics, such as age and culture
  • Job opportunities
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Specific services, such as for newcomers and/or families
  • Transportation and public transit
  • Distance to schools, child care centres, libraries, and other community services

Rent a Home

Renting a home means you have the right to live there, but you do not own it; you are the tenant. The landlord is the owner of the rental unit. The landlord can be an individual person or a company.

When you move into a rental unit, you will be asked to sign a lease, which is the contract between the tenant and the landlord. The lease outlines the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant, as well as the rental price. Most leases are for a period of one year.

It is common for landlords to ask for a rent deposit, or “first and last month’s rent” at the start of the tenancy.  This means you are paying rent to cover for the first month and the last month of living in a rental unit. The deposit must be used to cover the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends.

When you decide to move out of a rental unit, you must provide written notice to the landlord.  The written notice required is usually 60 days, but depending on the type of lease, it could be 28 days.

The Residentia​l Tenancies Act is the law in Ontario that outlines the relationship between tenants and landlords.  As a tenant, it is important to refer to the Residential Tenancies Act to know your rights.  The Landlord​ and Tenant Board (LTB) is also an important source of information about the rights and responsibilities for tenants.

Landlord and Tenant Board: 1-888-332-3234

  • The Government of Ontario has compiled information in multiple languages to help landlords and tenants understand how to complete a standard lease, rental rules, rights, and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act
  • The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) has a number of resources to help newcomers learn about renting a home in Canada on the Housing for Newcomers website.​
  • Visit to learn more about common words and phrases you might hear when you start looking for a place to rent.

Finding a Home to Rent

Apartments and houses for rent are usually listed in the classified section of the local newspaper and online resources.

Empower Simcoe Housing Resource Centres​


  • Orillia: ​​35 West Street

  • North Barrie: 39 Fraser Court

  • ​Midland: 522 Elizabeth Street

  • Collingwood: ​​485 Second Street Unit B​

Phone:​​  705-739-0485Toll Free: 1-833-726-9082 ​​

CONTACT ​Housing Support Service


  • Alliston: 39 Victoria Street

  • East Bradford: 95 Holland Street West 

Phone:​​  705-435-4900 ext. 212​​Email: ​​

Settlement service agencies provide many services to assist newcomers to settle and adapt to life in Simcoe County, including information about housing. Click here​ for more information about settlement services in Simcoe County.

Subsidized Housing​

Subsidized housing is for people who do not have a lot of money to pay for rent. Rent is paid based on what you can afford. Subsidized housing receives government funding to make homes affordable to people with low incomes.  Subsidized housing is also referred to as rent-geared-to-income, non-profit, or social housing.

To qualify for subsidized housing, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. There are often waitlists for subsidized housing, which vary in each community based on housing availability and requirements.  To learn more about Subsidized Housing in Simcoe County, visit the County of Simcoe Social​ Housing Department website​​

Purchase a home

According to the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC), the following are important factors to consider when shopping for a home:

  • Size requirements – such as number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms
  • Special features – such as air conditioning, a fireplace, a swimming pool
  • Lifestyles and stages – do you have children, are you close to retirement?
  • Setting – living in the city, the suburbs, the country
  • Work – commuting to work
  • School – how close are the schools
  • Hobbies – parks, recreation facilities, walking/hiking trails
  • Family and friends – do they live nearby?
  • Cultural – such as places of worship or community centres

There are two categories of home ownership in Ontario. Full ownership means you own the entire property, including the house, garage and the land. Condominium ownership means you own a unit in an apartment building or townhouse complex, but not the building or the land.

There are many expenses to consider when thinking about buying and owning a home or condominium.  Some important costs include:

  • Down payment – a portion of the price of the house, paid before applying for the mortgage
  • Mortgage payments – loan payments to repay the amount borrowed to buy the house
  • Property appraisal fees – when buying a home
  • Home inspection fees – when buying a home
  • Property taxes – paid to the municipal government to pay for local services
  • Service and utility fees – such as heat, electricity, and water; often require setup fees as well
  • Moving expenses – moving services such as professional moving staff, large vehicle rental, etc.
  • Renovation and/or maintenance – houses often require regular repairs
  • Condominium fees – to cover maintenance and repairs

Many people involved in buying a home, such as real estate agents, lawyers, inspectors and appraisers, come with costs associated with their services. The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) has developed a number of resources to help newcomers learn about buying a home in Canada.  Click here to be redirected to the Buying a Home section on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website.

Finding a Home to Buy

People selling their house in Canada usually use a real estate agent, though sometimes they will sell their home themselves. Houses for sale are listed in the classified section of the local newspaper, through real estate publications, or on real estate Internet sites such as When a house is available for sale, it will often have a For Sale sign on the front lawn.

You can contact a real estate agent in your community to inquire about current house listings.

Emergency Housing

Emergency housing is for people or families that need short-term housing.  Examples of situations could include being homeless; facing eviction by a landlord or a domestic crisis, such as being hurt or harmed at home.  In addition to providing a place to live, many shelters also offer services such as counselling and support, and referrals to other services in the community, such as legal and health services.

Each emergency shelter will have its own rules about who is eligible to stay. Some shelters are open to all, while some are restricted to certain groups, gender, families, or youth.