Student Housing in Toronto

A Short Guide to Student Housing in Toronto

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Finding student housing in Toronto may be difficult. Students, especially those new to Canada, can be vulnerable, leaving them more susceptible to scams. Students may be eager to settle in the first property that seems decent, due to their low income, lack of experience in the housing market, and eagerness to get approved. However, settling on the first listing you come across may not always be the best move. Therefore, we’ve mapped out a guide on potential scams to avoid, how to find housing, and the best areas for students to live in the GTA.

Scams to Avoid When Searching for Student Housing in Toronto

Students are often young and innocent, making them the perfect target for housing scams, especially international students who may struggle to come into direct contact with landlords and property managers. There are many scammers out there who will take a deposit, then disappear. Here are some ways to spot potential scammers:

  • Be wary of landlords who request little to no information about you, yet are eager to get a deposit. A legit landlord will always want to ensure you are capable of paying rent, therefore they will not be quick to accept your money or rental application.
  • Never agree to a cash deal. Never deal with a pushy landlord. Again, a landlord should be just as skeptical of you as you are of them. The same way a bank won’t allow you to take out a mortgage without looking at your eligibility, a legit landlord will not accept your money without ensuring you can continue to make payments. Nor will a landlord deal in cash, as they need a record of your payments for tax purposes.
  • If the listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. That’s not to say it’s impossible to find a beautiful apartment in Toronto, but just remember you get what you are paying for! If you are an international student who is not sure whether or not a beautifully staged apartment is legit or not, search for similar properties and compare the prices. If the listing you are looking at is way below similar properties, it’s most likely a scam.
  •  Never send money without signing and reading over a written lease which clearly identifies the owner or management of the property.
  •  Arrange for a viewing before signing a rental agreement, and ensure the listing matches the physical property. Landlords who refuse to arrange viewings or ask for money prior to a viewing are likely scams.

How to Find Housing

Searching for housing as a student may be difficult, as often times students cannot afford to rent out an entire property for themselves. Most students are searching for housing with other students and roommates, but if you don’t have a group of friends that are able to rent with you, finding an affordable temporary home may be difficult. Here are some places you can search for student housing:

  •  Join Facebook student housing groups; this is also a great way to find potential suitable housemates that you can get to know prior to moving in together. However, be wary of potential scams.

Best Areas to Live

As a student, you want to ensure you are living in a reasonably safe area, in close proximity to your campus, and potentially even a nightlife for some fun evenings. There are many areas across the GTA that are perfect for students, but here are the top locations based on affordability, accessibility, and nightlife based on your campus:

George Brown & TMU

  • The Annex
  • Dufferin Grove
  •  Kensington Market
  •  The Garden District

York University & Seneca College

  • York University Heights
  • Bathurst Manor
  • Hillcrest Village
  • Don Valley Village

Humber Lakeshore

  • New Toronto
  • Long Branch
  • Kingsview Village
  • Smithfield

In conclusion, navigating the Toronto rental market as a student can be daunting, but with vigilance and the right resources you can find a safe and suitable place to call home. Remember to prioritize your safety and financial security, and don’t hesitate to seek assistance from your university’s housing services or online communities. 

By staying informed and cautious, you can avoid common scams and find a comfortable living arrangement in one of the vibrant neighbourhoods the GTA has to offer. Good luck with your housing search, and may your new home be the foundation for many memorable experiences during your academic journey in Toronto.

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