by Evan Bryant,

Carleton University, BJ 2025


Renting an apartment or house for the first time at university makes you feel like a fully independent adult…until you need your parents to show you how to pay a water bill because the website feels like a maze, and you’re ready to pack up and get on the first bus back home.


My best piece of advice is to get a place that has all or some utilities included, it saves you from having to remember to pay a bunch of different bills. It also saves you from living in the dark like a nocturnal bat because you don’t want the hydro bill to skyrocket.


But it’s not that bad.


When you first move into the place, find out if there is an existing account with the previous tenants and they could transfer it over to you, but if not go on the website and sign yourself up.


Utilities include water, electricity and gas. Sometimes wifi is included in apartments but in that case don’t expect it to be reliable! In those cases you’ll have to purchase your own router and set up that bill.


Most of these companies allow you to pay online via their website, or possibly, you may set up a bill payment from your bank checking account.  You can even schedule payments and have it automatically withdrawn from your account, super convenient!


Don’t be afraid to call the utility company as well, they tend to be happy to help students as they understand it’s hard to do it for the first time.


If you’re coming to Canada for school and need a SIM card or a Canadian phone plan, there are many options outlined here in this guide by the University of Waterloo.


Making a note on your phone or on your fridge when certain bills are due and what websites to use is useful so nothing slips your mind, because as a university student it can feel like time is flying by. The most important thing you need to know is rent’s always due on the first.