Finding an apartment to rent in Toronto is all about decisions: what neighbourhood to live in, house or condo and price point. If you’re buying a property you can often leave the heavy lifting up to a real estate agent (Humble Brag: we offer kick ass leasing services. Check them out HERE).
It can be more difficult if you’re trying to search on your own as the best properties rent quickly. Luckily, there’s a crop of Toronto apartment rental sites that are helping connect renters with properties, and using new technology to do it. Here are the ones we like the best:
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the official average prices for rental apartments and condos as of December 2015 are: Bachelor apartment: $1,350($1,387 in central Toronto) 1 bedroom apartment $1,653 (average $1,723 in central Toronto) 2 bedroom apartment – $2,236 (average ($2,466 in central Toronto).
Finding an apartment in Toronto is serious business. It’s a competitive market with seemingly endless options, and hundreds of would-be tenants vying for the same places as you. So put on your game face (and your best behaviour) and take this tried-and-true advice on your next apartment hunt.
Here are some tips for finding an apartment in Toronto:
1. Diversify your web search
Viewit is an awesome tool for finding apartments in Toronto, but a lot of people really narrow their search by sticking to Viewit alone. There are also hundreds of gems on sites like the above mentioned, along with Padmapper, Myhood, Casalova, as well as Craigslist and Kijiji. Better yet, set up a Google Alert containing key words (like “Junction 2 bdrm”, for instance) and you’ll be the first to hear about any new listings.
2. Consider a real estate agent
Most renters don’t realize that you can actually enlist a real estate agent to find your next great apartment – and you won’t pay a dime. A lot of landlords list their rentals on MLS and they, not you, pay the agent’s commission. An agent can do a lot of the dirty work for you, like making a shortlist of units and setting up viewing appointments.
3. Walk around the neighbourhood
If you know the general area you’re interested in, take a stroll around the neighbourhood and keep an eye out for “for rent” signs. Not only will you get the jump on any great units in the area, but you’ll also learn where local amenities exist.
4. Check everything
You might only get a few minutes to check out your prospective apartment during a viewing, so make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to try all the faucets and light switches, make sure the cupboards close properly, the toilets flush, and the outlets actually work.
5. Question the laid back landlord
If a landlord doesn’t ask you for proof of employment, references or a credit cheque, remember that they haven’t asked anyone else in the building for that information either. It might be an indication that the building is badly managed, or that you’ll have one or two sketchy characters for neighbours.
6. Check the bed bugs registry
It sounds gross (and it is), but there are more than a handful of apartments in Toronto that have a bed bug problem. Don’t worry – there are tons of clean places too. But it’s better to be on the safe side and check the bed bug registry to make sure your home-to-be isn’t infested.
7. Treat viewings like job interviews
Often you’re competing for an apartment with lots of other eager would-be tenants. So if you’re going to meet a landlord or view an apartment, act like it’s a mini job interview and make a good first impression. Be prompt and friendly, say “please” and “thank you,” and make sure you look put together.
8. Bargain for lower rent
It’s true that Toronto is a competitive renting market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate here and there. If you love a place and aren’t quite down for the asking price, throw out another number that works for you. You might be surprised to find the landlord is open to a bit of bargaining.
9. Bring a cheque and references
You might have to make a decision on a place the first time you see it, so make sure to bring a cheque and references (and maybe even a few recent pay stubs) to every apartment you look at. Toronto apartments go in a hurry, so you’ve got to be ready to fork over that deposit and grab it fast.
10. Know your rights
Tenants have more rights than most landlords would have them believe. Familiarize yourself with the Landlord and Tenant Act, which will help you avoid getting bullied into illegal stipulations in your lease, plus a whole host of inconveniences at that can arise once you’ve already moved in.
Ready to rent in Toronto?