Stressed about back-to-school housing? This post is for you! I attended Housing Services’ House Hunting 101 presentation and here’s what I learned. You can watch the recorded livestream here.
Before you start your search it’s important that you determine your needs (this will make your search significantly easier). If you don’t know what your preferred living situation is, the links I’ve added below will probably help.
It’s also important to know your budget before you start searching. If you’re looking for lower prices consider looking East, West, or North of the city rather than downtown Toronto. It’s also important to remember that extra costs such as hydro and heating can fluctuate from month to month based on your usage.
The rest of the post is sorted into the sections covered by the presentation by Housing Services.
To find a roommate you can talk to friends and other people who might also be searching for someone to live with (family friends are a good place to start). You can also search on social media (some people already have a place and are looking for one extra person), or on the U of T housing roommate search.
U of T offers a roommate compatibility test and one specifically for Covid-19 circumstances. Once you’ve found your roommate(s) it’s important to have a discussion with them about house rules and how you will all be keeping up with Covid safety. U of T also has a roommate agreement form.
An apartment comes onto the market 60-44 days before the residents are expected to move in. If you are searching for a September apartment, then July 1st is when to start looking.
While having your own apartment can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming. Below are links to independent apartment-style housing AND you don’t pay month-to-month. Leases range from 4, 8, and 12 months long. Some of these are also fully furnished (so you don’t have to buy a new mattress).
- Campus Common
- Harrington Housing
- Homadorma (living in a house with a family)
The most helpful tool is probably the U of T housing finder.
How to Avoid Scams
- Verify the property (Google Maps etc.)
- Consider the price (does it seem plausible for something to be so low priced?)
- Take a (virtual) tour. Make sure the viewing is live OR the person showing directly addresses you in the video.
- Get your lease in writing.
- Get Tenant’s Insurance.
- Don’t pay more than you need to: In Ontario it’s only legal for the landlord to ask for ONE month of rent and the price of the door key (which you should get as a return deposit at the end of your lease). If they ask for advance deposits you are not obligated to do so. Find housing laws here: stepstojustice.ca.
The presentation covered way more than what I’ve written here, but this is the info that I found to be most helpful. I highly recommend watching the full presentation. If you have questions about housing find contacts here.
Remember not to stress yourself out!