Renting a House in Toronto



Housing is one of the top must-haves of all people relocating abroad and for those who have chosen Toronto as their new host destination, finding a cheap accommodation can be a little far fetched. This highly urbanised and ethnically diversified city of Ontario is considered to be the most expensive places to live in Canada, and first-time expats must have adequate knowledge of what to expect on the local housing market. 

The prices of properties in Toronto are pretty steep and are 6% more expensive than those in Vancouver. And though foreign nationals have no restrictions when it comes to buying a house in this city, it is still not a practical choice especially if their purpose is not for permanent residency but can be reasonable for those who are relocating with their families. It will also be wise for expats to ask their employers if they have any housing assistance included in their relocation package so that they can prepare financially if there is no such benefit. 

Finding a Rental 

Toronto is divided into six boroughs namely Scarborough, Old Toronto, York, East York, North York and Etobicoke. These six districts are further sub-divided into 140 official neighbourhoods which mean that relocating to Toronto without a decent idea on where to start can lead to an endless search. 

Before stepping into the ‘battlefield’, expats must be properly armed with knowledge and one can do this by browsing through real estate portals a few weeks before relocating. Once decided how much to a lot of housing and what type of accommodation is needed, a foreign assignee can contact some of the realtors in Toronto. Also, keep in mind that most accommodations in the city are posted at least two months before they will be vacant. So if there’s an advertisement dated 1st of May, then it will be vacant on the 1st of July. 

Sealing the Deal 

Expats should be prepared to have a deposit amount once they found a potential house/apartment. Landlords often ask for two months deposit which equals to the first and last month’s rent where payments are usually thru a bank draft or certified cheque. Owners also do a background check of their potential tenants so its best to provide a list of references along with their numbers along with the Certification of Employment from a local company. 

The typical lease agreement in Toronto is a minimum of 12 months contract. After that period expires (and if there’s no new contract signed) the tenant will be considered to be ‘month-to-month’ or with no commitment to the landlord for another year. It is also important to provide at least 60 days heads up before vacating the property.

Types of Housing


  • A huge number of condominiums in Toronto are owned by investors, some are foreign, and who rent them out. This type of housing is common in the areas of St. Lawrence, Kings West Village and Toronto’s Lakeshore. Aside from having easy access to Toronto’s business district and entertainment areas, condos also allow its tenants to take advantage of several amenities such as pools, parks, gyms and party rooms. Those who will rent a condo will have a direct lease agreement with the individual owner but still needs to adhere the rules and regulations set by the condominium's management. 

Apartment Buildings 

  • Apartments in Toronto are owned and run by companies. This type of housing has almost become phased out because of the growing number and side by side constructions of high-rise condominiums. However, there are still apartment buildings in the areas outside central Toronto where expats can select from studio, one or two-bedroom apartments. There are also some units that are called the ‘classic six’ which includes two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a maid’s quarter, kitchen, living and dining room. 


  • Houses in Toronto are often located in downtown or surrounding areas of the metropolitan. This type of housing is best for expatriates who are relocating with their children or pets because space is large. Most houses included a minimum of two to three bedrooms and are complete with kitchen, dining and living rooms. The advantage of renting a house over an apartment or condo is that it allows the tenant to live in a laid back residential neighbourhood with a parking area, garden and outdoor spaces. 



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