Apartment Rentals in Toronto
Apartment rentals in Toronto are usually owned and managed by companies. One company can have many apartment buildings, sometimes not just in Toronto but pretty much anywhere in Canada.
When you rent an apartment, you deal with a building manager, or a superintendent. Building managers are appointed by companies who own the building.
To rent an apartment, you usually need to sign an agreement for 12 months. The building manager requires 2 checks - for the first and last months of rent. You will need to fill in an application and show your income. Often, the building managers would ask to see your credit check.
Then what is an immigrant to do if he doesn't have any income, nor credit history in Canada? There are many ways.
Building owners are aware that many new immigrants look for apartment rentals in Toronto, and are usually a bit more flexible with them. You could simply show them how much money you brought to Toronto, or suggest to pay a rent for a few months in advance.
Sometimes they will ask you to bring a guarantor - someone who knows you and is willing to pay your rent in case you can't. This is really an issue, because who in this world would want to pay your rent if you can't?!
If you have friends who know you well and believe in you, and they know that you will be able to find a job fast, they might sign the agreement as your guarantors. Otherwise, try to prove the building managers in apartment rentals in Toronto that you have enough money to pay rent for a year!
Managers usually live in the apartment building, so they can have 24/7 access to all apartments and deal with problems. Often, they are a family with clear duties. For example, the wife may deal with rental agreements, and the husband may take care of solving problems and doing repairs.
Important! When you look for apartment rentals in Toronto, always make sure that everything works there! Turn on all the lights, the stove, the microwave stove, and all other appliances. Check the kitchen cupboards and the wardrobes, flush the toilet and turn on the shower to check the water pressure.
ALWAYS make sure there is a working air conditioner in the apartment! Some apartment rentals in Toronto are not equipped with air conditioners and that can be a huge problem. Sometimes the temperatures in summer are very high (up to 35 C).
When you rent and apartment, you are not supposed to change anything in it, and you do not have to. If you want to repaint it, you must repaint it back to the original color when your rent is over and you want to leave.
Building managers have spare keys and access to all apartments in a building. In case of emergency, they can come into any apartment at any time. In some apartment rentals in Toronto you may not be allowed to install a separate lock that the managers won't be able to open.
If you do, however, and they need to come into your apartment in case of emergency, they may break the door.
This is their job, and usually you do not need to worry that they walk around coming into into every apartment out of curiosity. In all apartment rentals in Toronto, the repairs should be done by the management of the building. For example, if your air conditioner is broken, or there is a leak in the bathroom - they must fix it (if it's not your fault).
Unfortunately sometimes this is not the case. Some building managers are unresponsive, or simply do not care and do not fix anything. Therefore, when you sign an agreement, you MUST read it fully. Pay attention to the clauses regarding who is responsible for what, because the responsibilities in apartment rentals in Toronto may differ.
If there is no such clause, ask the manager, get him or her add this clause, so they do not hold you responsible for damages that are not your fault. It would also be nice to talk to people who live there and ask how they like the management.
If you made a request to fix something in your apartment, the managers in apartment rentals in Toronto must give you a notice as to when they will come in to do that. If you are not home at that time, they will ask you to leave all separate locks open and only use the one they have a key to.
As to how long in advance they need to warn you, refer to the agreement that you sign. If they come without a warning, it is a good idea to remind them about that clause in the agreement. If there is no such clause, just ask them nicely to give you a warning next time.
After you've lived in the apartment for 12 months, you might want to move to another place, or you might stay and sign an agreement for another 12 months. If you would like to leave before the period of 12 months is over, you are responsible for finding someone who will live in your apartment.
Sometimes the building managers are willing to let you go before the end of the 12 months, if you give them a notice well in advance. We gave our notice 3 months in advance when we decided to buy a house in Toronto, and we lived in that apartment for 25 months in total.
This means that we lived one extra month without signing an agreement, but the managers already knew us well and were not worried. If building managers in apartment rentals in Toronto have good relationships with tenants, they can be very flexible.