8 Things I Learned Trying to Rent an Apartment in Toronto and Seeing 14 Units in 2 Weeks


This opinion piece is part of a Narcity Media Series. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Narcity Media.

Find an apartment in Toronto is arguably the worst part of living in the 6ix. It’s a tedious, degrading and time-consuming process that requires a lot of money and time, two things you don’t need to worry about.

I’m moving to a new apartment in Toronto because my sister came home and living alone in a one-bedroom apartment is expensivelike many Torontonians may already know.

After checking out 14 different units in person, going through 3 separate bidding wars, and researching hundreds of other condos online, in just two weeks I finally signed a contract for a new one-bedroom condo downtown. city ​​of Toronto and learned a lot along the way.

I spoke with Karim Barbary, founder and real estate broker of Dwelley Realty Inc.on everything you could do to make your application and search for an apartment rental in the city more manageable and successful.

Here are eight things I learned while looking for an apartment with my real estate agent in Toronto:

Your first documents are important

Mira’s desktop files.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

The fastest way to get a landlord’s approval to live in their condo is to make sure you have enough income to comfortably cover the rent.

“A good income really means that 30% or less of the applicant’s total income/annual income is spent on housing,” Barbary said. “Sometimes you can push it to 40%. But once it gets close to 50%, the owner or listing agent starts to worry.”

Plus, your credit score matters too. “A good credit score is anything above the 720 range, but anything above 700 is still considered good,” the realtor added.

References are also very important. If you have good references from previous owners, add them to your initial application. If you’re looking for a condo in Toronto, Barbary suggests that references from landlords in the city would also help boost your chances.

Omitting information could affect your application

When applying, owners usually ask for a lot of information which can sometimes be difficult to send.

For example, if you live in town but are staying at an Airbnb until you find a place to stay, you should probably include this information. Omitting this information may read differently to the owner and possibly result in rejection.

The Dwelly founder said “the biggest mistake is withholding certain information or submitting a half-completed application because you don’t want to share certain information or are trying to do so in a rush.”

It’s all about first impressions, especially about your landlord.

You must declare that you have a pet

u200bMira Nabulsi and her dog Sky.

Mira Nabulsi and her dog Sky.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

When I was looking for an apartment in Toronto, I didn’t want to disclose that I had a dog because I felt that would make finding a house a lot more complicated.

According to the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the City of Toronto, “Landlords have the right to turn away tenants if they suspect they will be moving in with pets. However, once a landlord accepts a tenant, despite any verbal agreement or contractual stipulation, landlords cannot evicting tenants for possessing animals in most cases.”

But it’s important to note that “a tenant cannot legally be evicted for having a pet in violation of a ‘no pets’ clause in the rental agreement.”

So, in other words, it makes life more difficult.

In my case, I didn’t want to reveal that I had a dog because I was stressed about finding a home, but when the owners asked me, I answered honestly and also sent them photos of my dog.

“If you disclose it early on, you build a good rapport with the owner, and there’s transparency in the relationship, and it can grow from there,” Barbary said. “But if you disclose it, you can also be rejected multiple times for requests and rarely will they say owners reject them because of the pet.”

You can be rejected for no reason

Email from one of the agents.

Email from one of the agents.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

When I was looking for a condo, I found my ideal home, and it was also a duplex. I imagined myself living there for years. It was cozy, in a great neighborhood, surrounded by dog ​​parks – in other words, it was just amazing to me.

The listing had been on the MLS system for weeks, and no one claimed it, which was a bit odd considering it was “affordable” and huge – two words that aren’t commonly associated when searching for listings. a condo in the 6ix.

I applied, they asked for a guarantor, then said “the owner has reviewed your offer and respectfully declines”.

It was more hurtful than dropping your ice cream after waiting in line for so long on a hot summer day.

When we asked them for a reason, they didn’t give us an answer. But, as unfortunate as it was, there was nothing else I could do about it.

PS it was also on the rental market for weeks.

Barbary said receiving a response for no reason might be one of the weirdest responses he’s seen.

Other odd responses include “no, sorry. The landlord is looking for an ethnic insertion family. Or the landlords are only looking for family, or sometimes the landlord has decided not to rent anymore,” he said.

Race can sometimes play a role

Although not clearly stated as a requirement, there have been a few scenarios where ethnicity may play a role in landlord accepting a rental offer.

“I really think there are stereotypes in the real estate world. And usually there’s an agent out there to stamp that out and not give a reason,” Barbary said.

He was placed in a scenario where the realtor “wanted a certain ethnicity of a family to occupy the unit and not students.”

Owners can sometimes ask the weirdest questions

Barbary said landlords sometimes ask applicants for the weirdest information.

He said some owners had requested multiple Zoom video calls, traveling to Mississauga to meet the owner, but the condo was in downtown Toronto, tax documents, multiple guarantors, months in advance and parent’s bank statements.

They might actually call your referrals

When I filled out the rental application, I added the contact details of the people whose numbers I had on hand.

I didn’t think a real estate agent would spend time calling everyone, but I was very wrong.

That’s why it’s very important to be transparent about your life, because they might find out one way or another.

The people you add to the reference list should know you because the questions can get deep and personal.

Someone asked me for my personality credentials and insinuated my cleanliness. They also asked about my dog’s personality.

be ready

Barbary said applicants could do a few more things to increase their chances of renting their first-choice apartment. Some things include:

  • Refine your criteria from the start
  • Before you start visiting condos, you must prepare all your documents beforehand
  • A personal letter to the owner helps. Explain yourself, why you moved, why you liked their unit or where you lived
  • Have as many payslips as possible
  • A letter of employment
  • Contact details of all your previous owners
  • Good references
  • Work with a local real estate agent.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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