Renting a condo in Toronto is no easy feat these days. If you manage to find a place you like within your price range, you pretty much have to make a decision immediately if you hope to snag the 650 square foot box of your dreams.
After consulting with a few real estate experts, they shared these tips for renting a condo in Toronto.
Know your budget
And stick to it. The downtown core can get super pricey, especially these days. Penelope Graham, the managing editor at Zoocasa, stresses that if you're willing to commute, you can usually find more affordable units outside of the most sought-after areas.
Do your research
Sure, you might have to make a decision on the fly, but before you head out on a viewing, look up the building. For instance, has it ever been on the Bed Bug Registry? Find out this information to avoid signing a lease in a condo with pest issues.
Check to see if the buildings you're looking at has rent control (i.e.built prior to October 31, 1991). These unicorn condos do exist, and while they might not be as shiny as some of the newer ones, you usually get more bang (square footage) for your buck and you won't face nasty rent increases.
In this rental market, you don't have the luxury of time. If you like a place, you need to be ready to submit an application and all the required paper work as soon as possible.
Bring all your paper work with you when viewing a place, including your credit report, references and employment information. To be safe, make sure your references are ready and available to vouch for you whenever a landlord calls.
Bring your chequebook
Along with your paper work, come armed with your chequebook so you can provide first and last month's rent when submitting your application (if necessary).
To secure my own condo, I had to sign a lease for two weeks earlier than I had wanted to. But, in the end, that's how I got my place and it seemed like a better option than offering up more rent per month or potentially engaging in a bidding war.
Know your rights
Even though it might seem like it, you don't need to bend to your potential landlord's every whim. As a tenant, you have rights, so if something smells fishy, check out the Residential Tenancies Act.
Find out what's included
Don't assume that all condo units come with a parking spot, a locker and access to awesome amenities. And let's say your place does come with a parking spot and you don't drive, clarify whether or not you can rent it out to make some extra cash.
Use a realtor
If you're looking for a condo and not a purpose-built rental, consider working with a realtor. They have better access to what's on the market and if you get a unit listed on MLS, you don't even pay their commission.