rent toronto

Toronto's rental market is in crisis mode

It sucks to be a renter right now in Toronto. Things have been tough for a while now, but ever since CBC started its engaging No Fixed Address series, it seems like renting is all we can talk about.

Lauren Haw, the CEO of Zoocasa, says as housing prices go up, so does rent. And this is especially tricky in Toronto, considering only units built (or occupied) before 1991 are subject to rent control.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, in the fourth quarter of 2016, the number of condominium apartment rental transactions shrank by nearly 6 percent in comparison to Q4 of 2015.

"Rental transactions were down because of a lack of units available for rent, not because of declining demand. The number of condo apartments listed for rent during the fourth quarter of 2016 shrank by more than 14 per cent to 9,545," read the TREB report.

As CBC reports, the condo apartment vacancy rate was sitting at about 1 percent at the end of last year.

And Rentseeker, which uses an algorithm to track prices in real time, says the average rent for a one-bedroom in Toronto is $1,241 - for condos alone though, it's even higher. 

With so few units on the market, good ones get snatched up quickly. And bidding wars are common. "Part of the problem with the rental market is if something’s listed at 1 p.m., it’s got five, six offers on it by 5 p.m," says Haw. 

This all means that securing a place, especially a unit in a condo building, is a near Herculean task. It becomes even more difficult for young people, who have a tendency to get contract or precarious work.

Landlords like tenants in stable, full-time jobs. 

Haw says that if you're serious about a place, you don't have time to mull it over - you need to be able to put in your application, pretty much immediately.

"The best thing you can do is have your references in check, have your credit report already pulled and have your job letter and cheque ready to go," she says.

If you have everything prepared, you look responsible, so this can work in your favour, but only if you have a sturdy job and good credit. 

Some groups in the city are looking to cool down the rental market and it's comforting to know that more purpose-built rentals are on the way. And they can't arrive soon enough.

Lead photo by

Seekdes


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