Finding Rent in Toronto
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
College is done and I feel like I’m moving on to bigger and better things. I finished my second internship at a kids app company (which was amazing) and now I have a full time gig. The next step in the right direction for me was to find a place to rent so I could cut back on my commute significantly.
What I didn’t realize was how crazy the Toronto rental market is. Being originally from Vancouver area this is not a foreign topic. Vancouver rent is through the roof, but so is Toronto! I wanted to look online to find an average rent calculator but even their numbers aren’t very accurate, the average rent for a 1 bedroom in Toronto on that list was $1750 and Vancouvers 1 bedroom average was $2000... but as someone looking for places for the last 3-4 months I have to say that those prices are not accurate for people looking to get into the rental market in both Toronto and Vancouver, especially anywhere that is close to subway/sky train access.
Another thing I learnt about the rental market in Toronto is that you need to be ready to apply to rent right away, you don’t have much time to decide on a place and that still doesn’t mean you will get it. For the first place that I wanted I found out that the apartment had been rented just after I had a showing. It was super depressing because it was the best apartment I had seen in my price range, but still not the nicest. That being said it’s still a good idea to shop around. The apartment I finally got ended up being the nicest of the bunch by far, but I had seen absolute dumps in the exact same price range.
My biggest tip for new renters is to look at places WAY before you are looking to rent. Know what a good and bad apartment looks like. My first few showing scared the heck out of me. I really thought I was going to end up living in a really dumpy building, but there are still some great hidden gems if you are willing to look. Also it’s good to do because if you find something you like you may be able to check the dates to see if they have something way down the road. My problem with most places were matching rental availability. I would book a showing for a unit available for my move in date but then the day if they would tell me it wasn’t available until the following. so start early !
My second tip is go to LOTS of showings and definitely do not rent a place sight unseen. Many buildings for rent are professional managed and most of the time the pictures on the ad or listing did not line up with the actual unit you would be looking at. I went to go see a condo that said It was newly renovated and had super nice pictures with new flooring and kitchen, but when I saw 3 of their units they were all completely disgusting. I’m talking dirt and hair on the floor, pee all over the toilet, broken patio furniture left behind from the last tenant. Also their new “renovation” for the kitchen involved dumping some white paint on top of dirty cupboard. This was one of a few places that left me gobsmacked, but being one of my first showing I left wondering if that was what my budget would provide me. If you can try to find a building that at least takes care of its units, even if it’s an old unit it should still be clean. An empty but dirty unit is a huge red flag that management or the landlord doesn’t care.
My third tip is to have everything ready to go. Have a scanned letter of employment/salary, refrence letters, all your info for you application, get some cheque’s from your bank well in advance as most banks don’t do e transfers above $2000, and your down payment (Don’t forget about pricey key deposits, mine was $300! And refundable elevator deposit!). Save yourself the stress of not having what you need, and potentially missing out on a place because you don’t have your paperwork in order!
Lastly, do you due diligence to make a good first impression on people showing you the units. This is a small pieces of the pie when it comes to finding a place to rent but it doesn’t hurt, especially if the landlord is the one renting out the unit and choosing who will live there. If a unit has multiple applications it could come down to that first Impression!
my favourite apps/sites I used for apartment hunting:
I can‘t wait to share more about where I am moving!!
see you soon !