Renting an Apartment

main.original.640x0cWhether you are looking to rent an apartment, a home or a condo, a real estate agent can be your best bet in finding something great! There are thousands of apartments listed and a great agent can give you the inside scoop on neighbourhoods and properties, as well as help you negotiate the lease you want.

According to CMHC the stats for the end of 2015 say the apartment vacancy rate remained at 1.6%. The condominium apartment vacancy rate edged up to 1.8%. The average two-bedroom apartment rent increased by 3.3%. Basically, this means that the Toronto rental market is hot and that rates are high and landlords can afford to pick and choose who to rent to. A good agent can help you get a place you love at a price you can afford.

You can typically start looking two months out as that is typically when landlords previous tenants have given notice. Be ready with the information that can be requested by landlords. these include the deposit (a certified cheque for first and last months rent), the application, references, a passport or other photo id, a Social insurance number card, a credit report, and  a letter from your employer
If you are a student or self employed, a co-guarantor, savings in the bank, a letter from your financial institution,  a record of your previous rent payments, a letter of reference from your previous landlord, and or a tax statement will all be helpful

You have certain rights as a tenant:
• Rent: Landlords can increase the rent once every 12 months by up to a maximum equal to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for that year (2% for 2016)
• Pets: You can’t be evicted for having a pet unless you are renting a condo and you are in violation of the condominium rules for that building. The landlord could decide not to rent to you in the first place however. A loud, aggressive, or destructive pet is another matter and can get you evicted or taken to small claims court.
• Access: Your landlord has the right to access to repair your unit with 24 hour notice, or in case of emergency. If you have given your notice they can also enter to show it to prospective buyers or renters and must try to notify you.
• For Sale: If the unit you are in is purchased, you are still entitled to stay until your lease is up under the same terms, or if you are renting month to month, the new owner can give you two full months notice if they are going to live in the unit themselves.
• Money: Landlords cannot ask for a damage deposit and last month’s rent may only be used for rent. They also can’t ask for more than first and last month rent.
The Landlord and Tenant Board has lots of information like the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board’s Information for New Tenants. Click here to visit.

Real estate agents are a great way to find a rental (and it’s free for you because the landlord pays the expenses). You get a friendly, knowledgeable expert with the inside edge on what’s available in the city and what your rights are. If you are looking for a rental in Toronto, give me a call, I’d love to help! You can also click here to get started!

Photo credit: New York Magazine