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Renting in Toronto

A photo of ktel ktel
I am ready to tear my hair out. Who knew finding a place to rent in Toronto would be so difficult. My boyfriend and I are looking for somewhere to live, he's currently in Toronto and I'm in Edmonton. Every place we find either gets snapped up before we get a chance, or they opt for other tenants because they can't meet me yet. How the heck does anyone from out of town stand a chance at renting a place then?

Right now I'm looking at places on ViewIt. Don't have the patience for kijiji. Any other suggestions?
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Sorry for asking the obvious, but have you tried [url]http://www.housing.utoronto.ca/[/url] yet?

Worse comes to worst, you could always try one of the independent student residences, although I'm not sure if the deadline to apply has passed yet. You might also want to consider finding a place further from campus than you'd like (and get a metropass) or be willing to fork out more money for a place than your ideal price range. Good luck!
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A photo of mynameismattgotmlgo mynameismattgotmlgo
I had the same problem when I was first moving to Edmonton. I wasn't accepted until early July, so I didn't start looking for places until then - places for university students (particularly for guys; a lot of places I saw were "female only") are in pretty short supply at that time.

All I used was the off-campus housing website (I had never been to Edmonton before and was not going to fly out there just to look for places in person), and, yeah, I got a lot of that "well, we need to meet you in person before we decide to allow you to be a tenant" BS. I probably contacted like ten landlords over the course of three weeks before I finally found one who was satisfied with just talking with me on the phone. He may have also wanted a character reference too; I forget. I had to settle with living a 40-minute bus ride from campus though.

So, yeah, try U of T's off-campus housing website.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose
I found my place in Toronto on craigslist at the end of March, moving in for the end of April. I was in Waterloo, so while I could come down to check the apartment out, it wasn't instant or anything.

I find for large cities, craigslist is probably the best bet. Far better than kijiji, which is a huge freaking mess.

Worst comes to worst you can opt for student housing, but I don't really think it's necessary. You eventually will find something.

Of course another option depending on how long you're living here is to actually look for specific buildings and try to lease an apartment rather than renting/subletting from someone. The big corps would love your money, I'm sure, and the huge apartment buildings have lots of tenant turnover. Medallion Corp owns the building I'm currently in and there are people moving in and out pretty much monthly.

The thing is, getting good housing requires checking ads religiously and sending out emails constantly. Every 2-3 days minimum. If it looks kind of like it's in the correct price range and has the correct number of bedrooms, you email. I maybe got like 1 response per 5 emails so you can't really put all your eggs in one basket, you've really just got to look around.
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A photo of ktel ktel
@Spengler - I don't have a UTORid, but I know I can send them my offer of admission and they'll give me a temporary log in. That's my next step and should be able to look there after I get that. My boyfriend and I wanted to live together and I just assumed that would not be available in any sort of student residence. As I'm doing aerospace engineering I'm not even on main campus (at UTIAS, out kind of by York), so we are looking further from campus anyways.

@matt - yeah my boyfriend used the off-campus housing site to find all his places, hence why we're going to try to get access to the U of T listings. The frustrating thing is they are meeting my boyfriend, who is one of the tenants, so it's not like it's completely unknown to them. Like this nice young man would have a crackhead girlfriend...

@greygoose - I have tons of time at work, so will probably be checking out craigslist soon. I know finding an apartment would be easier, but I just don't really like apartment buildings that much. I'm sure I could find one that I like though. I've been checking ads daily, so we're bound to find something, it's just the place we didn't get today was totally awesome and it was really disappointing.
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A photo of ktel ktel
So Craiglist has made me much more optimistic about the search. Lots of really nice places in our price range, just posted today.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose

@ktel wrote
I have tons of time at work, so will probably be checking out craigslist soon. I know finding an apartment would be easier, but I just don't really like apartment buildings that much. I'm sure I could find one that I like though. I've been checking ads daily, so we're bound to find something, it's just the place we didn't get today was totally awesome and it was really disappointing.



Wait wait, you weren't looking for an apartment? What the heck were you looking for then? This is downtown Toronto; I can't imagine what you could have been looking for. Stuff like basement apartments, rooms in townhouses, etc. tends to be farther away from the core because it's not dense. Pretty much the only stuff available in downtown is going to be apartments and condos. I mean, there's a bunch of old Victorian houses but they're all like 8-bedroom and either have owners or you'll be one of 8 crammed into the place. I checked out some horrible slummy places along those lines. There's not really a way around high-density housing like apartments when the population is so large.

Edmonton and Calgary are terrible examples of cities >.> No urban planning and no land restraints so they just build tons and tons of houses in suburbs and get a huge sprawl. If that's what you're used to (I'm just guessing), it's anything but typical of a large city. I'm from out west too, I know how huge the difference is.

But yeah, craigslist is great for the big cities. Not so good for smaller areas, unfortunately.
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A photo of ktel ktel
We're looking for units in houses and in smaller walk-up style apartment buildings. The main area we're looking at is near St Clair West subway station or along St Clair Ave. Also looking at some places in the Annex. Preferably two bedrooms, preferably not a basement apartment (mostly due to low ceilings and lack of windows). I don't have a problem with a large high-density apartment building, it's just that a lot of the units I've seen are from the 70s and look like crap. A new condo (I've seen quite a few in our price range, but not 2 bedrooms) would be awesome.

I don't want suburban living, but my boyfriend (who is from Toronto) and I are both used to living in a house and would prefer to find a unit in a house or smaller building.

We're being kind of picky, but right now we have the time to be. We've only seen one unit that we for sure wanted, and unfortunately didn't get, but I've seen lots of places available that could match our criteria.
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