Renting A Home

Finding a home on the web

Tenant rights

You can access information about your rights as a tenant through the following resources:

Residential Tenancies Act
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) sets the rules for rent increases, evictions, repairs and all other issues that affect tenants in Ontario.

City of Toronto Bylaws
The City of Toronto has many bylaws (e.g. parking, noise, litter) that directly affect the residents of a neighbourhood. You can search through all of the City’s bylaws and read the City bylaw FAQ. You are responsible for knowing and abiding by the City’s bylaws.

Ontario Human Rights Code
Tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment. Read the Human Rights for Tenants Brochure for more information, or check out the complete Ontario Human Rights Code.

The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations’ Tenant Hotline is a free tenant’s rights counselling service for tenants in Toronto.


Although most real estate agents in Toronto deal primarily with home purchases and sales, there are some who also handle rentals. While the Faculty Relocation Service does not have preferred providers, there are a few real estate agents we have found to be very helpful and effective in the past. Please feel free to contact us for a referral at (416) 978-0951 or


For more information, see the section Setting up your household – Utilities.

Suggested Rental Tips

If you are planning to rent upon your relocation, below are a few suggestions from a local realtor regarding what to expect and how to prepare:

  • New tenants will typically need to supply a letter of employment as well as a rental application (which you’ll receive from the realtor or landlord).
  • Upon arrival, you should immediately open a bank account with an adequate amount that will cover first and last month’s rent in order to supply the landlord with a draft for that amount together with your rental offer. *Tip: inquire with the bank in your home city and ask what bank they may be connected to in Toronto as this will likely allow money to be transferred faster. Additionally, to ensure that faculty joining the University of Toronto have as smooth a transition as possible, the University has arranged for comprehensive and highly personalized banking services through the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Main Branch Commerce Court West. More information is available in our Banking section.
  • Having these items ready to go will aid in securing an apartment as rental vacancies in Toronto have the tendency to be rented quickly.

Adventures in Apartment Hunting

Written by: Kohen McBride, Information Officer at The Family Care Office

Revised January 2016 (Written August 2012)

After three glorious years at a beautiful 3rd story apartment overlooking College Street in the heart of Little Italy, I received word in July that I would need to move due to renovations in my building. Sensing this was coming, I was lucky enough to have started browsing rentals weeks prior. In the end, I was able to find an amazing apartment in a bustling and vibrant neighbourhood within walking distance to campus, but it came at the cost of endless showings and relentless online “hunting”.

Having lived in Toronto most of my life and having already moved a handful of times in Toronto, my partner and I were already aware of some the popular resources to begin our search: Craigslist, Kijiji, Padmapper, and ViewIt. Knowing that we enjoy having plenty of guests, we set out in pursuit of a two bedroom apartment with a reasonable budget of $1700 – 1900/month. We quickly realized, unless we wanted to live in a basement, or sacrifice some serious square footage and outdoor space, this budget would need a bit of revision. Although we found at least a few that matched our initial price range, we were met with long lines of competition from other renters who seemed desperate to fill out an application for apartments that we considered ultimately mediocre at best.

In the end, we found a place on Craigslist through a realtor who showed the place for only one evening, for 2 hours. By the time we got there, two couples had already filled out full applications. The two bedroom apartment was large and airy, a main floor, with 2 separate entrances and access to a large yard for gardening and barbequing in the summer – right away I knew I wanted it. When I over enthusiastically expressed my interest in securing the place, the realtor toyed at the idea of offering more per month to trump the earlier applications. Already beyond our budget at $1950/month(inclusive of utilities), my partner insisted we hold off on offering more money but still fill out an application, which included a letter of employment and credit report which we knew we would need to have on hand ready to go. It turns out my enthusiasm paid off, as the next day the realtor called to say they decided to give us the apartment as we were the most “excited” of those interested. To secure the place, we had to scramble to come up with a cheque for last month’s rent which I hand delivered the very same day, along with a post-dated cheque for first month’s rent dated for the date we were to move in. The realtor was able to competently answer the 101 questions we had and made us feel secure and at ease despite the incredibly fast turn over process.

Here’s what I learned from my experience:

  • As in any major urban city one should always be weary of bedbugs, online scams (never send money without seeing the place first), and mold (in older buildings). A great way to avoid any potential trouble is to use a realtor. This is especially true if you are hoping to secure an apartment from abroad. Although some realtors may charge fees (typically 1/2 months’ rent), not all do, and a realtor can help you find an apartment without all the fuss of worrying about potential scams.
  • Be sure to take into consideration whether the rent includes utilities (electricity, water, internet, etc.) as that could easily add another $50 – 150/month on your monthly budget.
  • Before you sign the lease, you may want to try to negotiate extras such as a fresh coat of paint, replacing any older or broken appliances, or updating light fixtures. It is not uncommon for landlords to cover the cost of paint if you are willing to paint the apartment yourself.
  • Try to give yourself as much time as possible to find a place. To give yourself some leeway, I would suggest you begin looking about 2 months prior to your anticipated move in date.
  • And finally, try to align your budget and your expectations as much as possible. On average, in downtown Toronto, we found that a 1 bedroom apartment typically costs anywhere from $1700/month – $2000/ month, and a 2 bedroom from $2000 – $2500.