Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below is a list of common Housing questions and answers. You can click on a question to jump to the answer.


Q:How long will I have to wait for Community Housing?

A: As in many communities across Canada, the demand for Community Housing is high in Waterloo Region. Many things can affect how long you will wait, including:

  • The number of sites you select on your application: If you only choose a few buildings, you may have to wait longer than someone who has chosen many building options. We encourage all applicants to choose as many suitable buildings as possible on the application form. Please also see Can I choose where I want to live?
  • Building popularity, location and unit availability: The buildings you select on your application form will have different numbers of units available. Some sites only have a few affordable rental units, while other sites have many or all affordable rental units in the building. Some buildings have units available more often than others. Some buildings are more popular because of their location and type, which means the wait could be longer.
  • Your status: Applicants who have been granted special priority status will be housed sooner than those without this status.

Unfortunately, there is no way for us to determine exactly how long you will be on the waiting list. It may be several years before you will be offered housing.

For more information on priority or status housing, please visit our  "Do you have a need for urgent housing?" section.

Q: Does being on the waiting list ensure I will be housed?

A: Being on the waiting list does not guarantee an applicant will be housed.

Housing providers may review the tenant history of an applicant, including all family members or individuals that will be living with the applicant.

Providers want to be sure that applicants are likely to pay their monthly rent/housing charge in full and on time. Some housing providers may not offer housing to applicants with a poor tenant history, which includes late payments, rental arrears or unit damages.

Also, if a household is applying to live in a co-operative (co-op), the applicant and all household members will be interviewed to ensure they understand the obligations of being a co-op member. People living in a co-op must commit to doing volunteer work in the co-op as a way to contribute to their community.


Q: Can I choose where I want to live?

A: Yes.

If you select more than one or two buildings on your application form, it may improve your chances of being housed faster. However, it is important that you only select buildings that meet your needs (including location, transportation, close to amenities, family, etc.), because we will only offer you a unit in a building that you have selected.

Also you will only receive three (3) offers of housing while you are on the waiting list. 

If you change your mind about a building you selected earlier, please contact an Access Site staff member immediately to update your building selections. It is better to remove sites from your application form before an offer is made than to have it counted as a refusal of offer.


Q: How many bedrooms am I eligible for?

A: The number of bedrooms you are eligible for depends on the number of members in your household.

  • The largest unit a household will qualify for is one (1) bedroom for a couple or same-sex partners, and an extra bedroom for each additional household member. For example, the largest unit for a couple or a single parent with one child would have two [2] bedrooms.
  • The smallest unit a household will qualify for is one (1) bedroom for every two (2) people in the household. (This does not apply to bachelor units as they do not have bedrooms.)


Q: How will I be contacted about an offer?

A: When you are eligible for an offer, the housing provider will contact you immediately by telephone.

Offers will be made during the day, so if you do not have access to a telephone during the day, please provide us with the name and phone number of someone who can give you a message.

If you receive a telephone call about a housing offer, you must call back by the next day, or the unit may be offered to the next person on the waiting list.


Q: What if I don't call back about an offer?

A: Your file may become inactive until we can confirm you are still at the same phone number. You could miss out on other offers in the meantime.

If you are not interested in a building site at the time it is offered, tell the housing provider you are no longer interested in the site and they will take you off their list.


Q: How many offers can I refuse?

A: You can refuse three (3) offers. However, if you refuse three offers, your application will be cancelled. You will then have to re-apply and start the wait over again.


Q: What if I move and sign a one-year lease after applying?

A: If you have recently moved and signed a one-year lease that will not allow you to move for one year, you can request to have your application for Community Housing put on hold until you are ready to accept affordable rental housing.

Contact an Access Site staff member to discuss your situation and to find out if your file can be put on hold.


Q: What if I disagree with a decision by a Community Housing Access Site or a Housing Provider?

A: As a Community Housing applicant, you have the right to appeal a decision by an Access Site or Housing Provider. You may request an internal review of:

  • A decision that your household is not eligible for affordable rental housing
  • A decision that your household is not eligible for special needs housing (wheelchair- modified units)
  • A decision about the type or size of accommodation that you live in (type of unit or number of bedrooms)
  • A decision about the category in which you have been placed on the waiting list

If a decision has been made by an Access Site and is subject to an internal review:

  • You will receive a letter advising you of the decision, and of your right to request a review.
  • A Request for Review form will be included with the letter. If you feel that an error has been made and you wish to formally request a review, you must complete the form and return it in person, by mail, or by fax to an Access Site.


Q: Can I ask to have my name removed from the waiting list?

A: Yes. You can ask to have your name removed from any or all waiting lists at any time. If you are no longer interested in applying for Community Housing, cancel your application by contacting an Access Site.


Q: Do I need to keep my application current?

A: Yes. It is important that we always have up-to-date information about your household.

You must contact an Access Site immediately if any there are any changes in:

  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • The number of people in your household
  • Income information
  • Building preferences

You may lose an offer if a provider calls with an offer and the information you give them about your income or the number of people in your household is different than what is on your application.

Also, your file may be cancelled if you move and we cannot reach you.