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Finding an apartment in Toronto is no easy task. The market is remarkably tight, vacancies are low, there are stories of bidding wars between prospective tenants, and rents keep going up at an astronomical pace. You need every edge you can get. Before you start looking for your next apartment, try these tips to land the place of your dreams.
Decide Where You Want to Live
Toronto is a big place with hundreds of neighbourhoods. Do your research into neighbourhoods and make a priority list. Do you want close and convenient transit, or are you more concerned about a cheap parking spot and quick access to the highway?
Once you’ve exhausted Google Maps to check out local amenities, take some time to walk around and explore the area.
Go Online to Find Apartments
Now that you know where you want to live, you can narrow down your search. The vast majority of apartment listings can be found on online marketplaces. Narrow down your search according to neighbourhood and start reaching out to book viewings.
Find a Roommate
If the high cost of rent has you wondering whether or not you can afford the city, it may be time to find a room for rent in Toronto. Living with one or more roommates allows you to split costs. It could help you move into a neighbourhood you might not otherwise be able to afford on your own.
Bring a Checklist
Despite the tight market, you want to make sure your apartment is up to snuff. When you go for the viewing, check for these things:
- There are no signs of pests. Check the tops of cabinets for droppings and the baseboards for holes.
- Check your cell reception as you go through the apartment.
- Check the water pressure and the thermostat.
- Make sure all of the power outlets work.
Confirm How Utilities Are Paid
An important thing to work out with the landlord before you apply is how utilities are paid. Toronto can be a mixed bag, with some units including utilities in the rent and others keeping them separate.
Ask Whether It’s Rent-Controlled
In Ontario, many apartments are rent-controlled, but not all of them. There are limits to how much the landlord can increase the rent each year, but units that were occupied for the first time after November 15, 2018, are exempt.
Come to Viewings Ready
The competition for apartments is fierce, and some landlords may be interested in filling the apartment as soon as possible. They’ll take the first good application they get.
Give yourself an edge and come prepared to viewings with the documents you need to apply. These usually include:
- A proof employment letter or paystub
- References from a previous landlord
- Credit report, which you can get through the mail or online
Speed up your application process and get your dream apartment before the competition.
Take Pictures When You Move In
While landlords are not allowed to require a security deposit for damage in Ontario (rent deposits are different), they can still hold you responsible for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear when you move out. If you’re worried about being held responsible for damage already done to the place, take pictures of the unit on the day you move in.
Finding an apartment in Toronto doesn’t have to be impossible. Create a list of what you want in a place, book all the viewings you can online, and come to viewings prepared. That means knowing what questions you want to ask and bringing all the documents you need to apply.