1. Be Prepared
When looking for apartments, there is a variety of information that a landlord will use to decide if a potential tenant is reliable. Although the list varies greatly depending on where you are applying, there is a definite list of essentials that you should prepare before you go out apartment hunting, including a credit report, pay stubs, photo identification and references
2. Know Your Rights
Going into apartment hunting, it is important to know your rights, some excellent resources include:
- The New Information for Tenants Brochure, The Landlord and Tenant Board’s
- The Tenant Survival Manual by the Law Foundation of Ontario
- The Ontario Human Rights Code
3. Take Photos
This tip is a personal one from yours truly; even though it may feel awkward, remember to take detailed photos of all apartments you are looking at. Trust me, even if you think you have a great memory, you are going to forget subtle differences between places when you go to think about them later. It’s much better to take the photos than to have to contact the landlord afterwards asking a question like “were there shelves in the bathroom?”
4. Don’t be Afraid to Get ‘Handsy’
Related to the aforementioned tip about not feeling awkward about taking photos is to be confident about testing out the amenities in the apartment. Does the toilet flush properly? Does the sink leak? Is there water pressure in the shower? Don’t just take the landlord’s word for it—give them a try yourself. After all, you and your family will want to live comfortably for the next year(s)!
5. Don’t Forget Student Family Housing
Is all of this talk about apartment hunting hurting your brain? Don’t forget that U of T St. George and U of T Mississauga have the option of Student Family Housing, which offers affordable housing close to campus for students who live with a spouse/common-law partner and/or children. The St. George location even has an on-site childcare centre: University of Toronto Child Care on Charles Centre. Be sure to add your name to the waiting list as soon as you can!
Need more info? Contact Housing Services at UofT for resources, information sessions, and support. Also contact us, the Family Care Office for information on child care, schools, camps and many of the complex issues faced by student families!