Oct 19, 2022
Renting in Toronto: Tips for finding a place
The new condo market in Toronto is likely to continue slowing in the near-term: Analyst
If you’re looking to find a rental in Toronto prepare for record-high prices.
The average rent for a one-bedroom condo in Toronto hit a record high of $2,269 in the second quarter of this year, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). The TRREB is forecasting the city’s rental market will become even tighter in the months ahead.
Here’s some tips for those looking for a deal on a rental unit in this challenging market.
WHERE TO LOOK
People looking to move to Toronto’s downtown, or close by, can strategically look for pockets within the city that are currently pricing rental units slightly under the average asking price.
Marlon Deogracias, a realtor at RE/MAX, advised that renters might find some luck in the Fort York area.
“There’s lots of buildings available to rent near Lakeshore and Bathurst right now and they are reasonable,” he said.
He also pointed to the city’s west end as suitable for those who are OK with a bit of a commute. Specifically, he suggested the Dovercourt-Wallace-Emerson area off the Bloor line, prior to hitting Roncesvalle or High Park, as another area where landlords are currently pricing some rental units lower than average.
Regent Park in the east end and Mimico are also a good option for those who want to stay south and get bigger spaces that include parking. In these pockets, rent can be up to $200 to $300 cheaper compared to the average, he added.
Sharing a condo with a roommate or partner is also a way to shoulder the cost. The average rent for a two-bedroom condo in Toronto is $2,979, according to TRREB.
DUPLEX AS A SOLUTION?
Another possible solution to the runaway rental market is to find a unit in a duplex for rent.
Jennifer Nugent, a creative operations manager, has taken this approach.
“I found my one bedroom on the main floor of a duplex home last year for $1,875. That cost includes my utilities and parking,” she said.
Over the years, Nugent has lived in three different duplexes within the city — all of which have cost her well below the average asking price for a condo rental, she said.
“There’s always going to be a trade off. Instead of having condo amenities like a gym, I have my own patio and a backyard,” she said.
Nugent found her unit on Facebook Market Place, a site where landlords have been directly listing their properties. In the past, she found success with Facebook groups, as well as Kijiji.
Deogracias cautioned that there is the risk of fraud when pursuing rental listings on alternative platforms.
“Prospective tenants need to be aware of who they are renting from. I've heard of many stories of tenants losing savings by paying it to strangers who don't own the property they think they have leased. Always do your due diligence and ask for proof of ownership,” he added.
The timing of when you look for a rental matters, according to Deogracias.
“The hardest months to find an affordable condo are September and August, because you’re competing with an influx of students moving to the city,” he explained.
Alternatively, he advised to look for a deal in the rental market during the winter months as less people are inclined to move.
Someone who just graduated, or has little to no previous rental experience, will also want to give themselves a minimum of three months to land a place since their application is not as appealing in comparison to someone who can demonstrate successful renting history to a landlord, Deogracias explained.
In addition to time, Deogracias also suggested some strategies to stand out in a market where five to 10 applicants are competing for one unit.
“In a crowded rental market where people are also fighting inflation, prospective renters don’t outbid each other because of limited capital. Now, its mainly coming down to the landlord’s assessment of you,” he said.
Some successful applicants provide credit scores on top of proof of income and have even made videos to detail how they intend on taking care of the landlord’s property.
COSTS TO CONSIDER
Asides from paying your monthly rent, there are other expenses to keep in mind.
Rental units in Toronto usually require a first and last month down payment prior to the move in date, tenant insurance and additional upfront costs, Deogracias said.
When looking to cut expenses, it can be helpful to know what you don’t need in a condo, just as much as what you do need.
“If you don’t require parking, don’t pay for it. If you don’t care to have a balcony, don’t rent a place with one. All features come with a price,” he said.