Did you know the vacancy rate in Toronto is currently at 1.1%, which at the lowest rate in the last 16 years? The rental market in Toronto is very competitive and multiple offers on an attractive listing for rent is very common. Here are 9 tips for you to consider if you are planning on renting a condo in Toronto.

1.Area of interest

Drive, walk, bike, talk and eat in your area of interest and get a feel for the neighbourhood. Create a list of your needs, wants and dislikes. How is the traffic? How do you like the lifestyle and/or the demographic? What is important to you about a neighbourhood? Is it safety, schools, proximity to work, parks, restaurants, grocery shopping, Transit etc? Make a list of all the positive and negative features.

2. Budget

It’s so easy to get side tracked. Of course you can fall in love with “that condo” you just saw. More importantly, you deserve to be in control of your finances, so stick to your budget. Keep calm, but allow your emotions to shine. This means you should screen and review the listings, and only look at the ones that are within your budget, considering all your extra costs such as utilities, parking, commuting etc.

3. Crime Map

Whether you are new or familiar with Toronto’s neighbourhoods, it is always a good practice to check out the Toronto Police Service crime map.

4. First impression

When viewing a unit, you might meet with the landlord. Make sure you create a good first impression and sense of trust. Take your shoes off when entering the unit. Be respectful and courteous during the viewing. i.e. turn off lights, close the cupboards etc. Finally, to get to know you better and so they trust you with their property, it is essential to prepare a personal letter of introduction with your biography, which will be ready to give to a prospective landlords.

5. Inspect

Check the closet space, the window frames. Open and close the windows. Look under sinks for signs of mould or leaks. Test the thermostat, cooling and heating system, light fixtures. Run the shower to test the water pressure. Flush the toilets. Make sure to pre-measure your furniture. Bring a measuring tape to size up each room. Ensure your furniture will fit through the door and into the elevator. Check your phone reception in condos and large buildings. Check out the location of the parking spots and lockers if any.

6. Research

Once you have selected your preferred area, do some research online. Google Maps can tell you a lot about an area. Do you like animated or quiet neighbourhood? Do you need to be close to transit or a highway?

7. Review

Read the reviews about the condo building or property management company before you sign a lease. If you find negative comments about one of your preferred buildings, proceed with caution and try to find out more information.

8. Social Network

Be resourceful. Ask your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours if they know or if they have any input about any suitable rental condo for you. Use social media. Post an add on Facebook and put your FB friends to work for you. Look on places like Padmapper and Viewit.ca

9. Visualise Your Win

Visualise that you are going to view, make an offer and plan living in the perfect condo on the spot. For that to happen you must have all your documents ready i.e. proof of employment, previous landlord references, a full credit report and a completed rental application. Make sure to check Residential Tenancies Act, Condo Authority Ontario and finally review the lease agreement from start to finish before signing any lease agreement.

With love and gratitude