Skip to main

    How to Rent a Condo in Toronto in 2020 - Beating the Competition

    Written By Nathaniel Hartree-Hallifax

    Renting a condo in Toronto in 2020

    ‘Competitive’ barely begins to describe the Toronto condo rental market, with the vacancy rate hovering around 1%. Or in English, there are simply more renters than there are actual rental condos available in Toronto… leaving many renters submitting multiple lease applications before finally securing a property.

    Our role in this process is to not only find you the right property, but to maximize the odds you beat out the competition. We do this by framing your lease application in as attractive manner as possible.

    The rental market isn't easy... And we know that from firsthand experience. However there are a number of steps you can take to increase the odds of successfully securing the property you want.

    The following are a number of tips and FAQ’s we’re asked about the condo rental market. Read through them and you’ll be well ahead of most! If you’d like any immediate assistance, scroll to the bottom of the page and send us a note. One of our condo rental experts will be in touch with you shortly with listing options and advice.

    What’s the difference between an apartment, condo and loft rental?

    A condo building consists of individually owned units, while an apartment building of only rental units (none of the residents own their units). A loft is technically a condo — only a building that was converted from (usually) a warehouse or factory.

    Renters generally prefer to live in condos because the buildings are not only better maintained (there’s pride of ownership), but they usually feature other perks and amenities, such as gyms, party/meeting rooms, a security guard or concierge and ensuite laundry within the actual units.

    Owners in condos (including your landlord) pay maintenance fees, which cover regular cleaning of the building and service from property management and concierge/security. If there’s a problem in the building, such as a spilt drink in a common area or an elevator malfunction, it better be addressed immediately! Otherwise, owners tend to get angry, as this is exactly what their fees are supposed to cover.

    Apartment buildings are generally cheaper than condos to rent, however the state of most can be a bit rough and getting anything fixed or addressed is often a slow and bureaucratic process.

    When is the best time to start looking for a condo rental?

    The best time to begin looking for a rental is 4 to 6 weeks from the date you’d like to move into the property.

    This is one of the most frustrating parts of the process! And understandably so. But as you'll notice when looking at rental listings, the 'occupancy' date indicated by the landlord won't align with the occupancy date you want until about 4 to 6 weeks out.

    Why do landlords' do this? The simple answer is because they can. In a hot rental market, they really only need a week or two to find a tenant.

    We always encourage our renter clients to have all their documentation prepared before it's even time to begin looking. 4 to 6 weeks may seem intimidating, but if you're prepared it's usually quite manageable.

    What documents do I need to provide to rent a condo in Toronto?

    How to rent a condo in Toronto - List of documents needed

    1. Credit Report:

    The most common credit report is the Equifax Credit Report. From the landlord’s perspective, it speaks to the likelihood you’ll make your payments on time.

    This is the document we’ll want to look at in advance, before you submit an offer. If there are inaccuracies on your report (quite common), we’ll help you address them quickly with Equifax. If there are other credit problems, we’ll sort out the best way to present them to the landlord.

    Most of us don't have perfect credit... Whatever your report says, you're in a stronger position if we know well in advance and are prepared for objections, rather than finding out at the last minute.

    2. Employment Letter:

    This discloses your annual income and duration of employment. From the landlord’s perspective, it speaks to your ability to afford the property.

    If you’re self-employed, the landlord's agent will usually want to see your Notice of Assessments from Revenue Canada, over the past two years.

    3. Rental Application:

    This form illustrates your references, their contact details, as well as a handful of other details about outstanding loans or car leases/financing you might have. OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association) provides Form 410 - a standardized Residential Rental Application for the Ontario province.

    Don’t ever include your SIN number on this form. No one should see that except yourself and your employer.

    4. Lease Agreement:

    This is the offer agreement that indicates your lease terms, such as the price, duration of the lease, conditions, etc. We’ll make sure you don't agree to anything that isn’t fair and in your best interest.

    I have a pet. Is that ok?

    Many of us on the team are pet owners ourselves, so we certainly know firsthand how frustrating renting with a pet can be!

    Most landlords do not like pets. They view their property as an investment, and worry a pet will damage it.

    Landlords often will include an actual ‘no pets’ clause in the Lease Agreement, which states that no pets are allowed in the unit.

    However, as of this writing, that clause is just unenforceable. The Landlord Tenant Act stipulates a cat or dog is considered reasonable wear and tear and pet ownership must be permitted.

    The Landlord Tenant Act overrides any clause that contradicts it in the lease agreement, with few exceptions. However, if the actual building itself has a ‘no pet’ policy (quite rare), then no one, and regardless of your rights as a tenant, can have pets in the building.

    Offhand, I can think of only a few buildings in the entire city that ban all pets, and one is in the process of overturning its ban right now (95 Lombard).

    If you’re a pet owner, we’ll make sure you steer clear of these buildings.

    Like every potential concern, if you have a pet the best thing to do is discuss it with us. This is a situation where the best approach must be taken on a case by case basis.

    I want a loft. I’m not interested in an old apartment building or a condo.

    We work hard to find our clients what they’re looking for, but we don't want to misrepresent the reality of the market. There are fewer lofts in the city than there are traditional condos. And when one comes up, it usually doesn’t sit on the market for more than two or three days.

    However, we check for new loft listings for rent multiple times a day. When one does come up, we'll make sure you're the first in the door! If there is a loft out there for you, we’ll make sure you see it.

    Why should I work with a realtor?

    Our role in this process is to not only find you the right property, but to maximize the odds you beat out the competition. We do this by framing your lease application in as attractive a manner as possible.

    The landlord will very likely have an agent, whose job is simply to grill us and confirm you're the best tenant for the property.

    If the landlord's agent advises the landlord to accept a lease application from a tenant who causes problems down the road (unpaid rent, noise complaints, etc), it's the landlord's agent who will take the blame. Not you and not me.

    There's a tremendous amount of pressure on him or her to make the right selection.

    We know what kind of questions the landlord's agent will ask and how best to answer them on your behalf, even if you’re not the perfect tenant on paper. And we know this because we often represent the landlords ourselves!

    Our services to you are free, and our job is to give you guidance, remove as much headache from the process as possible, and negotiate and secure your lease.

    We also know the condo market and inventory intimately, and it’s in our best interest to ensure you move into a reputable building.

    Why? Because it gives us great satisfaction to find the right condo for our clients! But to you cynics out there, referrals are the bread and butter of our business and only happy clients provide referrals.

    If you’re thrilled with the condo we’ve helped you find and secure, it’s a win win for everyone.

    If a realtor service is free, how are they paid?

    We’re compensated by the landlord, who provides the equivalent of one month’s rent to both the listing agent (representing the landlord) and the renter’s agent (representing yourself). Our pay is half a month's rent.

    Despite our compensation coming from the landlord, our interest is 100% to you. And that’s not just a nice talking point — it’s strictly mandated by the Real Estate Council of Ontario by-laws.

    How much does a condo cost to rent?

    The answer really depends on the location, desirability of the property, the size of unit you're interested in and current market conditions.

    Once we know your budget, we’ll lay out your best available options from there. Or you can also check out our Toronto condos for rent page and see the properties available. Then contact us for further steps.

    I’m interested. What are the next steps?

    Contact us! Even if you’re looking a bit early, we’re happy to help out and make some property recommendations.

    Starting your search for a new home? Click on any of these links to access active listings, sold listings or contact a Strata agent.

    For any questions about this article or media inquires, please email