Real Estate How To: Finding Great Apartments in the Greater Toronto Area

Apartments in the Greater Toronto Area
Credit Jason Ng via Unsplash

The Greater Toronto Area is in the thick of it when it comes to the real estate market. When you’re looking for a new place to live, it can be an uphill battle to find somewhere that has enough space and that’s within your budget.

These tips can help you find a better rental apartment in the GTA. Don’t let the real estate market stand between you and your next apartment.

#1 Search Outside Toronto

The GTA is a big place, a lot bigger than Toronto. In fact, with 5.9 million people living in the GTA, the City of Toronto makes up less than half of the population and a fraction of the area.

You can find apartments for rent in Mississauga, Brampton, Pickering, Vaughan, and other municipalities in the GTA for a lot less than you might find them in the downtown core. Getting further out is a great way to get more space or save on rent.

There is also plenty to love about the 905 (a.k.a. the municipalities just outside of Toronto). They’re home to millions of jobs, plenty of amenities, and great shopping. Peel Region also has some of the best public transit in the country, trailing only the country’s three largest cities.

#2 Improve Your Credit Rating

It’s become standard practice for landlords to request your credit report when you apply for an apartment. They’ll see your credit history and score when you apply, and it can be a pretty important factor for them. Your credit score is effectively a measurement of how reliably you pay your bills and debts.

If you’ve missed bill payments, missed rent payments, or owe a lot of money, your credit score can take a hit.

One way you can improve your chances of getting your first choice of apartment is to improve your credit score. If you have the option, take some of these steps before you move to improve your credit score:

  • Pay down credit card debts to no more than 30% of your limit.
  • Resist the temptation to apply for new credit.
  • Keep your old accounts open even once you pay them off; just restrict how much you use them.
  • Pay all your bills on time.

#3 Find Units on the Market Since Before 2018

New legislation in Ontario has updated which units are rent-controlled and which ones are not. Previously, only units built before 1991 fell under rent control legislation. Rent control was briefly expanded to include all rental units regardless of age before the province again updated the rules.

Today, only units that were on the market before November 15, 2018 are rent-controlled. Landlords of these units can only increase the rent by the guideline increase set by the province each year, although they can apply for above-guideline increases that reflect renovations and investments in the building.

Units put on the market after 2018 do not fall under these rules, and landlords can raise the rent as much as they want each year.

These tips can help you find a better apartment in the GTA. Search far and wide, improve your credit score, and get crucial information, such as the unit’s age, before you sign that lease.