Housing for Families

Finding Family-Friendly Housing

(3-minute read)

By J. Sparks, Education & Communications Coordinator (interim), Family Care Office, University of Toronto

Photo of Charles street residences in downtown Toronto.

U of T students with families have many family-friendly housing options on and close to campus!  When looking for family-friendly housing options, here are some housing hunting tips specifically for U of T students with families!

General Housing Hunting Tips for U of T Students with Families

Living in on-campus housing or in a private accommodation close by, can provide convenient access to campus and great social opportunities for the whole family.

U of T has a number of supports to aid you in your search for housing, on or off campus. The housing offices at St. GeorgeUTM and UTSC offer a wealth of information, workshops, and tips to assist students and their families in the search and selection of a new home. You can search off campus options with the Off-Campus Housing Finder.

Below are some resources and tips to assist in your search for family-friendly housing:

  • Check out potential neighbourhoods, including nearby schools, grocery stores, parks, libraries, and services, to make sure they are a good fit for your family.
  • Consider your family needs and space by asking: Would the space allow you to keep your eye on those playing while doing homework? Will the space allow you and your family to grow? Will you need more storage or bedrooms in the future? Are the hallways wide enough for mobility devices such as strollers, walkers, etc.?
  • Learn about your rental rights. The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association has information about pre-rental documentation requirements, deposit expectations, and how to plan for an end in tenancy, in 14 different languages.  Settlement.org offers a variety of resources for newcomers to Ontario, including a list of what kinds of questions landlords may and may not ask potential tenants.  As well, Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board offers information on tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.
  • Learn about safety. Individual rental units and buildings often offer various safety features, such as access keys/codes for residents, cameras, secure windows, indoor and outdoor lighting, fences, railings, etc.  If safety features, such as window screens/locks or railings are missing or in need of repair, you should discuss this with the landlord. Both tenant and landlords have rights and responsibilities for the maintenance of safety
  • Talk to the neighbours.  Those living in the neighbourhood already can share their experiences and provide advice on what it is like to live in the community.  

Family-Friendly Housing near U of T’s St. George Campus (UTSG)

UTSG has many family-friendly housing options both on and close to campus.  Neighbourhoods near UTSG that are popular with both U of T students and Torontonian families, include the Annex, Chinatown, Yorkville, and Little Italy (to name a few). U of T’s Off Campus Housing Department offers many helpful resources, including descriptions of each neighborhood and their amenities.

U of T students and their families can also apply to live in University Family Housing (UFH) located in the Charles St. W. and in the Huron-Sussex areas. The Charles Street community is comprised of two high rise apartment buildings where the majority of UFH student families live. The Huron-Sussex community is a historic neighbourhood on the University of Toronto campus where new faculty live, along with a very small number of student families and long-term tenants. Those interested in living at UFH are encouraged to apply early as possible, as waitlists can span more than a year. For more information on UFH, visit their website here.

U of T Mississauga (UTM) Family Housing

The UTM Housing & Residence Life department offers an off-campus newsletter and many resources to assist students looking for accommodations in or near Mississauga. For example, UTM’s Neighbourhoods Near Campus website, offers information on communities close to campus, including Port Credit, Streetsville, Cooksville, Square One, Erin Mills, and Erindale.

UTM also offers on-campus family housing for both undergraduate/graduate students who have a spouse/common law partner and/or children. Family housing at UTM can accommodate larger families consisting of three or more children within the Schreiberwood residence. For more information about family housing options at UTM, check out their virtual tours.  UTM students and their families are encouraged to apply for on-campus family housing as soon as possible.

Family Friendly Housing Options Near U of T Scarborough Campus (UTSC)

In the areas surrounding UTSC, there are a variety of family-friendly off-campus private rental options. This includes the communities of Markham, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, and Oshawa, all of which offer many private family-friendly housing options, in addition to great schools, parks, and green spaces.

Even though UTSC’s Student Housing & Residence Life department does not currently offer on-campus family housing, the campus does have an onsite day care.  UTSC is also connected to a network of cycling paths, public transit, and major highways, which makes many family-friendly services and housing options only a short commute away from campus.   

In summary, there are many things to consider when searching for and selecting housing.  Fortunately, there are a variety of UofT and community resources available to support you!

Author J. Sparks wishes to acknowledge the contributions of S. Goodarzi in the drafting of this blog post.


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