A Guide For Tenants Looking To Rent In Toronto

lease in toronto guide

Do you want to rent your own place in Toronto? Here’s a complete guide for you to aid the search with all you need to know about renting places in Toronto.

There are three major choices for you if you want to rent a place in the city.

  1. You could choose apartment buildings. Owned and managed by one company (versus a bunch of individual owners), apartment buildings aren’t as numerous as you might think in downtown Toronto.  While there haven’t been very many new apartment buildings built in the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in dedicated rental buildings under construction. There are still some quality (albeit older) buildings out there that periodically have vacancies.
  2. You could also go for houses. A lot of Toronto landlords have recently started converting their houses to apartments even basement apartments due to the growing desire of people who want to live downtown. Renting a place in such residential areas offer the additional advantage of your own outdoor space and even a parking space in some cases.
  3. There is also the choice of a condominium. There are a lot of condos in Toronto in really nice places in the city offering access to party rooms, pools, gyms, etc. Most of these condos are owned by individuals who rent them out for investment purposes. You would be bound to obey the rules of the condo as you would be renting directly from the suite owner.

Ways to Search for a Rental in Toronto

You can choose to look for a place on your own or you could enlist the help of a real estate agent.

When searching on your own, there are a lot of websites online that advertise rentals. You could visit Kijiji, Craigslist or our website here.

Do not pay for an apartment without viewing it and also verify that the person advertising an apartment actually owns the place before you make any deposits. A good website is View.ca which is more trustworthy than others because landlords actually pay to advertise rentals which reduce the occurrence of scams. Pad Mapper is also a good user-friendly website.
Searching with the aid of a licensed real estate agent reduces your stress as they have listings of thousands of rentals at their disposal. They help you in searching for the right neighbourhood and properties of your choice. The best part is that after the selection process, you do not need to pay for their expertise as the agent’s commission is paid by the landlord. If you are ready to start a condo search with an agent, contact me here.

The Right Time to Search

Most apartments in Toronto are usually placed for rent two months before they are actually available to be rented. For instance, an apartment might be advertised on May 1st but be vacant on July 1st.

Cost of Rent in Toronto

As of the end of 2018, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the monthly prices of rentals ranged from $1,857 to $3,910 depending on whether it is a Bachelor apartment, 1-bedroom apartment, 2- or 3-bedroom apartments in downtown or central Toronto.

The Rental Market in Toronto

The rental market is at its peak. The rents have been increasing over the past five years and are not likely to reduce anytime soon. Landlords can choose whomever they want to rent to as vacancy rates have reached up to 1%.

The Lease Agreement

The lease is simply a binding document summarizing your dealings with the landlord such as the cost of the rent, the dates of the lease as well as rules concerning noise, smoking, pets, etc.
Leases typically last a duration of one year, unless a new lease is signed, after which you are considered a ‘month-to-month’ tenant in which case, you are not bound to stay for another year in the apartment.  if you want to move out, you would have to give prior notice of 60 days to the landlord. The notice starts counting from the first day of the next month.

Tenants’ Rights and Obligations

  • Landlords can choose not to rent to you if you own a pet but they cannot evict you for owning a pet. The Condominium rules are superior to the Residential Tenancies Act if you are looking to rent a condo in Ontario.
  • As of 2016, landlords could increase rents by 2% based on the Consumer Price Index. Though the prices of rents are controlled, it does not apply to buildings constructed over 20 years ago, which includes most condos. Generally though, landlords are free to raise the rents once a year depending on the CPI.
  • In case of an emergency or after a prior notice of 24 hours, the landlord can enter your unit for repairs and maintenance. He or she can also enter to show the apartment to new tenants after giving you notification beforehand.
  • As long as you possess a documented lease, your landlord has no right to evict you even he or she wishes to sell your unit to a new buyer. If you are a ‘month-to-month’ tenant though, the landlord would have to send you a 60 days notice of his or her intention to sell your unit to a new owner or a family member that is to occupy the place.

Acquiring the Apartment of Your Choice

You need to be prepared for a few important things when finding a place in Toronto.

  1. Most landlords would require a cheque or a bank draft of your first and last month’s rent when renting a place in Toronto.
  2. Provide references as this would be checked by landlords, and also give their phone numbers to ease things.
  3. Make copies of a confirmation of your employment letter for easy distribution to the places you apply as landlords would wish to verify that you are financially stable to rent a place.
  4. Most landlords would require that you perform a credit check on yourself.

A few more things to keep in mind:

  1. Check out the neighbourhoods in Toronto and if they suit your taste as you would likely be around for a while. Neighbourhoods tend to affect one’s life after all.
  2. You might not be able to get all you want in one package so it would be best for you to keep an open mind and be flexible as most houses are not both cheap and easy to get in downtown Toronto.
  3. Getting houses in downtown Toronto is super competitive so be fast in your decision making because if you take too long or even a single night to think about it, the house might be off the market by the following day.
  4. It is much better to present your true self on your application because telling such lies would not be beneficial in your dealings with your landlord later on. Do not try to make yourself “appear” like the better choice of a tenant.

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