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Renting a House in Toronto: Expectation vs. Reality

We all know that the Toronto real estate market is crazy right now. Affordability is practically nonexistent. That said, there are still many people who want to live in a house but cannot afford to buy. This means finding a house through the house rental agencies.

Renting a house in Toronto sounds like a more affordable alternative to buying, but it’s important to manage your expectations when searching, as the results may not be what you were hoping for.

Expectation: Close to work

Reality: Most jobs in Toronto are concentrated in the urban areas, where most housing is in high-rise buildings. Most residential neighbourhoods are located outside the core, so you won’t necessarily end up within walking distance of work if you want to live in a rental house in Toronto.

Even the single-family homes for rent that are in the urban communities of Toronto are often expensive, and vacancies are typically low.

urban man city life walking

Expectation: Lots of space

Reality: Many renters opt for a house rather than an apartment unit because of the square footage. The truth is, some of the more affordably priced houses for rent are small. And even if the square footage is bigger than in an apartment, older houses typically have very closed layouts, limiting the amount of useable space you end up with.

The other thing that can end up happening is that the entire house won’t be available for rent, but rather a basement apartment or an upper floor unit. So, you don’t end up with that much more space.

Small narrow living room

Expectation: Plenty to choose from

Reality: There are not that many purpose-built rental apartments being built in Toronto right now. Those who have a decent rental now are afraid to move because rent control is the only thing keeping their costs down.

The other issue with the Toronto rental supply is that many property owners are opting to put their homes up as short-term rentals rather than having long-term tenants. These are called “ghost hotels,” as neighbours and members of the community just see people coming in and out but don’t know who they are or why they’re staying. Short-term rentals house tourists, not residents – so the number of long-term rentals is shrinking. The Toronto city council has passed a bylaw to regulate short-term rentals, but it isn’t in affect yet due to appeals by property owners and short-term rental companies.

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Don’t lose hope; just keep searching for houses for rent in Toronto, and you might come across an appropriate listing. Use to make that process easier!