General

Meet the new off campus housing site!

 

Finding off-campus housing is a challenge that many U of T students will face. When I looked for my first apartment after living in residence in first year, I looked at over a a dozen places, and almost fell for a scam in the process! Eventually I found a place with a great roommate, but it wasn’t easy. It’s hard to find a place that meets your needs, stays close to campus, and stays within your budget — but the new off campus housing website from Housing Services just made it all a bit easier!

The home page of the off campus site, showing an image of an orange storefront with some pedestrians passing by in front. The navigation menu contains the options: "housing, roommates, message boards, resources, help, sign up, log in." You can enter a price to search for housing. It also reads "Welcome to the University of Toronto Off-Campus Housing Service" and shows buttons with options to post a listing or search for roommates.

A screenshot from the home page of the off campus housing site.

So what can you do on the site?

Access student-friendly rental ads. When I’ve looked for housing in the past, I’ve struggled to see through scams, and I’ve encountered landlords who didn’t want to hear from any student tenants. The new site lets you see rental ads that are student-friendly, where the landlords placing the ads are interested in having students as tenants. The landlord registration and complaints process also lets U of T screen out rental scams.

The ads are also student-friendly because of their proximity to campus, with housing options shown in Toronto, Scarborough, and Mississauga with average rents lower in cost than other housing.

A screenshot showing cards for different apartments that have an image of the housing and brief description (availability, cost, type, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, address). You can "heart" cards and send them to friends. The screenshot also shows filtering options to narrow down your search by categories like number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, cost, campus, neighbourhood, building type, lease, pets, and listing type.

A screenshot from the new off-campus housing site showing what it looks like when you search for apartments.

Post adds for free. Have a great apartment with a room to fill? As a U of T student, you can post one free ad at any time to advertise a sublet or seek out a roommate to fill an empty space.

Find roommates. The site also has a roommate finder service. You can create a profile describing yourself and your disposition, hobbies, and lifestyle to find a student roommate that works best with you. Sometimes, you find the perfect place — but it has one extra bedroom than you have roommates, or your roommate backs out, or you need to sublet your room over the summer. This service is a great solve for finding someone that will fit in to your place.

Report issues through the complaints process. The site offers a landlord complaints process that lets you have recourse if you encounter issues with landlords found through the site; and in turn helps U of T filter out problematic landlords so that other students can be assured that the housing options they encounter on the site are reliable and student-friendly.

Access tenant resources. The new site also houses extensive resources for students — and Housing Services continues to offer all kinds of offline resources, too, like housing fairs, conflicting coaching, workshops, one-on-one assistance, and more. Check out the Housing Services website.

So check out the site, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Looking for a place? Need a roommate? Housing Services has you covered. Check out the new Off Campus Housing website.

danielle

Danielle is the summer 2015 Communications Intern at the Office of Student Life. She wrapped up her undergrad this year and will be entering a master's program at U of T in the fall, studying in the Faculty of Information. She previously studied English and Jewish Studies with a minor in History. Danielle studied abroad twice, in Jerusalem and Berlin, did a service learning course, and did a few work-study positions. Her favourite part of her undergrad was working at The Varsity, the campus newspaper. She was the editor-in-chief in her final year. She's passionate about good writing, student journalism, reading, knitting, long walks (on the beach or otherwise), and table tennis, which she insists she is very good at, though her friends may not agree. You can reach her on twitter @lifeatuoft over the summer if you want to chat!

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