Help & Advice

Payments & Administration

How much notice is required to leave a homestay?

Usually 2 weeks of notice is required within the first month, and 4 weeks after the first month. However, you can negotiate other arrangements if necessary.

Is a damage deposit required?

It is not customary to require a damage deposit.

When should students pay the homestay family?

Payment is generally made when the student arrives at the homestay.

The first payment is generally made when the guest arrives at the homestay. It is customary to pay for only one month at a time. Some hosts might ask for payment of more than one month and we strongly advise against this. If a host insists, please contact us.

We strongly warn guests not to wire funds via Western Union or any other wire service. Many scams are operated this way and if your homestay family insists on payment before arrival, we suggest you find another homestay.

How much does this service cost?

Students and other international visitors can use this service for free.

Host families may also use this service for free, and a paid upgrade offering additional features is available.

What kind of costs should I be aware of?

When you are looking for a homestay, also consider the cost of transportation between the homestay and your school. When you take public transportation, it may cost more money to travel to your school when your homestay is farther away. This means that a homestay that charges less but is farther from your school might actually cost more when you consider your transportation costs. It might also be cheaper to purchase a one-month transit pass if you plan to travel daily.

Also, some homestays will charge extra fees for consumables such as toilet paper. We suggest that you always ask the homestay owner about any extra fees or if their price is all-inclusive.

What information do I need to give to my homestay family?

It's a good idea to give your homestay family a telephone number of someone in your home country who they can call in case of an emergency. If possible, try to find someone who can speak the same language as your homestay parents.

If you are travelling from your country to the homestay, we suggest you also give your homestay parents a phone number they can reach you at in your home country before you depart.

The following information is not required by a homestay family:

  • financial information
  • passport number
  • national identification number (SIN, SSN, etc.)
  • medical identification number
  • driver's license number

If your homestay family insists on getting any information like this from you, we suggest you find another homestay.

Why should I use HomestayBay instead of a homestay agency?

Homestay agencies charge students up-front placement fees of $80-$150, then collect monthly fees from the students and withhold around $50 per month as additional profit before passing these monthly fees to the homestay. An agency will typically profit about $400 from a student for a 6-month stay. HomestayBay is a service for students and homestay parents to connect directly and avoid these middleman fees.

We've also observed agencies taking students' fees and going bankrupt, never paying the amount owed to the homestay family. These situations can be very difficult and stressful for both the students and the homestay families.

In our interviews with homestay students, we've found that many students make homestay arrangements through agencies before they leave their countries. Many of these homestay experiences are excellent, but some are not, usually due to two reasons: homestay parents have too many international students in the house (sometimes up to ten!) and don't always prepare adequate meals.

One student told us that her agency matched her with a homestay that would give her just two slices of bread and some jam for lunch. HomestayBay helps facilitate a fair process that allows students and homestay parents to talk to each other and ensure a good match before making a commitment.