The Toronto rental market is pretty wild! I have witnessed first hand units for lease receiving bidding wars, people offering over asking price off the bat on a unit, and many units getting leased before they even hit the market. Because it is so expensive to purchase a home in Toronto, many people have decided/are forced to rent in the city – thus the surplus of tenants.
I always advise my clients to start doing the prep work well before it’s time to start looking for a new home. That way, once we find something perfect that deserves an offer, you can be ready to rock and roll! Because there are so many tenants looking for that perfect place, you want to ensure you put forth a strong application to win that gem of a home! Prep work you ask?
Letter of Employment: It would be well advised to begin the process of getting a letter of employment from your employer. Often times at larger companies this can take a few days. Your employment letter should be dated, state your position and salary you receive.
No employment letter? That’s ok. I understand many people work freelance or are self employed. Often times in this case, landlords will want to verify some sort of income. Any contracts you may have received in the past year, or bank statements will do.
Credit Score: This is where all of that hard work paying off your credit cards and cell phone bills comes into play. It would be ideal to have a copy of your credit score ready to go. The process is all online, costs around $20, and very user friendly. You can get a copy of your credit score at Equifax or Transunion. You will likely be given a PDF of your entire credit score.
References: Pull together a few references from past/current landlords, as well as personal references to have on hand. When you do start looking for a place, I would suggest letting your references know they may/will likely get a call.
When the time has come, which is normally just over a month before the date you want your lease to start, we will start looking at places based on the needs and wants you and I have discussed.
Once we find a place you love, I will gather the above information from you, do some paperwork on my end (called the Agreement to Lease) that I will walk your through, and require you to fill out a standard rental application.
When your offer has been accepted, and we have finished celebrating, we can move on to next steps:
Deposit Cheque: Typically you will be required to hand over a certified cheque of first and last month’s rent within 24 hours of your offer being accepted. You should have these funds available.
Post-dates Cheques: Many landlords are embracing technology and encouraging rent payments through online banking. Not all are … make sure you have a cheque book handy to write the remainder of your lease payments prior to getting your keys.
Key Deposit: While a landlord can’t actually demand a key deposit, many prefer it. This is a cheque made out to the landlord and is completely refundable when you hand back your keys at the end of your lease.