ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A TENANT IN TORONTO
Presented by Mayssoun Hatoum, your Realtor 4 Life
Looking for a Toronto Rental: What to Rent
When renting in Toronto, you have three main options:
Owned and managed by one company (good option for investors), 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 decades, we’ve seen an increase in dedicated rental buildings. This can include a small building that houses 8-10 units, individually tenanted. Such buildings prices vary starting from 4 Million depending on the location. Investors choose to run such buildings because of its high increase of property value overtime and sustainable monthly profit.
With more and more people wanting to live downtown, many Toronto home-owners have converted part of their home into an apartment rentals. While many of these are basement apartments, some houses have been converted into several apartments. The biggest advantage of renting a house is the opportunity to live in a residential neighbourhood, often with private outdoor space and sometimes even parking! Price starts from $800 a room to $4000 the whole house that could consist of 6 to 7 rooms.
It’s easy to see that Toronto has a lot of condos apartments, and many of them are owned by investors who rent them out. Renting a condo allows you to take advantage of some of the city’s best locations, and many of them have amenities like gyms, pools, concierge services and party rooms, and they’re usually close to Subway transit. If you decide to rent a condo, you’ll be renting directly from the suite owner, but will be required to abide by the condominium’s rules. But no worries, our services and expertise will facilitate and walk you through the rules before making a decision.
How and Where to Look for Toronto Rentals
There are two primary methods to look for a rental in Toronto: on your own, or with the help of a Real Estate Agent.
You need a dedicated Realtor with high integrity & an informative website that is user-friendly and has lots of posted rentals.
There are thousands of homes listed with real estate agents, and a good agent can help you identify great properties and neighbourhoods, as well as help you negotiate the price and terms of your lease. The best part? The landlord pays the agent’s commission, so you can have an expert represent your interests for free!
Properties that get listed with real estate agents tend to be on the higher end of the price scale, so if your budget is less than $1,800 a month, they may not be able to find you something in Central Toronto.
When to Look for a Rental
Most Toronto rentals come on the market two months before they are available for rent (e.g. – an apartment will be advertised April 1st and be vacant June 1st). If you aren’t ready to move for six months, you won’t likely have any options to look at.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the official average monthly prices for rental apartments and condos at the end of 2020 were:
Bachelor apartment: $1,650+ ($1,750 in central Toronto)
1-bedroom apartment: $2,051+ ($2,100 in central Toronto)
2-bedroom apartment: $2,756+ ($2,831 in central Toronto)
3-bedroom apartment: $3,604+ ($3,743 in central Toronto)
Toronto Rentals: The Market
The Toronto rental market is HOT!
We are experiencing vacancy rates at all-time lows (around 1%) meaning that Landlords have their pick of who they want to rent to (and for how much).
Rents have increased significantly over the last five years and aren’t expected to decrease anytime soon.
Toronto is a global city, with many opportunities for high quality of life and work. Therefore, its housing market is competitive.
The lease is the document that summarizes your relationship with the landlord – how much rent you’ll pay, the dates of your lease, rules around pets and smoking, what happens at the end of your lease, etc.
Leases are typically for 12 months and after that (unless a new lease is signed), tenants automatically are considered to be ‘month-to-month’–meaning that you don’t generally need to commit for another 12 months.
You would, however, have to give 60 days notice before moving out (counting from the first of the next month; i.e. if you give notice June 24th, then you could move out on August 31st).
Your Rights and Obligations as a Tenant
As a tenant in Ontario, you have many rights. Among the important ones:
Landlords can’t evict you for having a pet, but they can refuse to rent to you in the first place.
If you’re renting in a condo, the Condominium rules take precedence over the Residential Tenancies Act, so if the condo doesn’t allow pets, Fido or Fifi may get evicted.
In Ontario, rent increases are controlled, but (in other words, most condos).
Generally speaking, landlords can increase the rent once every 12 months by up to a maximum equal to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for that year.
Right to Access Property
Generally, your Landlord has the right to enter your unit to repair and maintain it (with 24 hours notice or in the case of an emergency).
Your Landlord also has the right to show the unit to prospective tenants and/or buyers with appropriate notice.
What happens if your
If you have a valid written lease, your landlord cannot evict you even if he or she decides to sell the unit – the new owner will simply be required to take over your lease (at the rent you currently pay and under the same terms).
If you are a ‘month-to-month’ tenant, your landlord is permitted to give you 60 days notice (from the 1st of the month) to allow the new owner to move in–as long as the new owner (or a family member) is going to live in the unit themselves.
Click here to download the Landlord and Tenant Board’s Information for New Tenants guide with a summary of landlord and tenant rights & responsibilities.
Getting the Toronto Rental You Want
One of the most important things about renting in Toronto
is being prepared when you find your ideal place:
Have a deposit ready
To rent an apartment in Toronto, you’ll need to provide first and last month’s rent. Most landlords will require it to be a certified cheque or bank draft
Prepare your references
Any good landlord will check your references before agreeing to rent their unit to you. And provide phone numbers for easy reference checking! (2 friends from Toronto)
Get a Confirmation of Employment letter
You’ll need to prove that you’re employed or otherwise financially viable to rent in Toronto. Don’t forget to make copies in case you don’t get the first place you apply for.
If you’re a student, you need a local guarantor or an advance payment of rent. Depends on the landlord’s flexibility.
Credit check yourself & have it ready to provide to a prospective landlord
Most landlords will require it – you can order one online at Equifax for $23.95 (or order one via mail for free–it just takes longer).
Since an international student can’t have a credit check; we require you to provide your guarantor credit or we negotiate with the landlord other terms.
Some other tips to keep in mind:
Scope out Toronto neighbourhoods: You’ll be there for at least 12 months, and your neighbourhood WILL affect your quality of life. You can check out our Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods for the scoop on downtown neighbourhoods.
Be flexible: It’s not easy or cheap to find rentals in Toronto. Keep an open mind and be prepared to make compromises. You won’t likely get location + size + cheap rent.
Be ready to make a quick decision: The Toronto rental market is uber-competitive. If you find a place you like, realize that if you ‘take the night to think about it’, it’ll probably be gone tomorrow.
Don’t lie on your application: While it might be tempting to make yourself “look” like a better tenant, having a friendly relationship with your landlord will pay off in the long run.
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