Toronto’s Property Rental Market and the Rise of “Rental Resumes”

Toronto’s Property Rental Market and the Rise of “Rental Resumes”

When we think of a movie poster, we usually picture an upcoming thriller or romantic comedy, or perhaps a famous movie star…

But, in the case of Huy Do, a 27-year-old from Toronto, his movie poster advertised his wish to rent an apartment in the city. Huy Do made headlines by advertising himself as a first-rate rental tenant and posting a song on Reddit, Facebook, and Kijiji.

All he wants is an apartment for around $1,300 in downtown Toronto. He’s already submitted an application for a unit in Toronto’s trendy East-end Leslieville neighbourhood.

Although there’s some humour to the story, it’s also a bit depressing that people are forced to tackle housing scarcity through measures like this.

Taking a closer look at Toronto’s rental market

Toronto is one of Canada’s most expensive cities to live in. And the factor that pushes up living costs the most, is housing.

Average rents in January 2018 were around $1,672.13 monthly. Plus, the city’s vacancy rates are notoriously low. Experts consider a vacancy rate of 3% to be healthy in a rental market. Toronto’s vacancy rate is 1%.

“Rental resumes”, while not usually as creative as Huy Do’s, have become increasingly common in the city’s tight rental market. It’s a landlord’s market, and renters have limited choices. Renters are forced to do more to ensure their rental applications stand out, while landlords can afford to be choosier.

Song and poster aside, this usually means taking a leaf from Huy Do’s book and demonstrating your attributes as a perfect tenant.

Landlords have the upper hand

The reality is that many renters fail to fulfil the “perfect” tenant criteria. While respect, cleanliness and the ability to deliver rent checks on time are excellent qualities, many of Toronto’s renters can’t promise to hold down a full-time job, or remain in a unit for the long-term. New immigrants and students immediately spring to mind.

When the rental market is tight, Renters have less leverage to negotiate clauses in their leases. It’s against the law, for example, for landlords in Toronto to reject a potential tenant if that tenant owns a pet. But, in this market, no-pet stipulations and other unlawful clauses are often contained in leases.

From April 30 2018, the Government of Ontario introduced a standard lease, which will be mandatory for residential units. It’s a step in the right direction. But, in this tight market it’s highly likely that Toronto’s landlords will continue to discriminate…

Still thinking about your housing options in Toronto? Take a look at our article: Is it Better to Rent or Buy a Home