Going apartment hunting? Keep these 5 red flags on your radar

Scoping out a half-dozen or more apartments for rent in Toronto is a major undertaking. How can you remember which one had the cozy reading window, but a 1974 bathroom? And which one was perfectly perched on a quiet street with a bus stop three minutes away, but the walls were paper-thin?


Keeping this checklist and this prep guide with you at apartment viewings are critical to staying organized. But sometimes, we forget to check aspects of apartments that could make life pretty miserable after moving in.


On that note, here’s a list of five red flags for apartment life misery to be on the lookout for, when you’re searching for your next rental apartment in TO. Keep it with you, like a bible.


  1. Construction

Is there currently construction anywhere on your block, or is there a new development slated to go up in the next few months or years? If so, you’re in for noise, dust and construction workers seeing in through your windows, for ages to come. It’s something you’ll have no control over, and projects can go on for longer than expected. Say buh-bye to sleeping in and privacy.


  1. Drafty windows

Toronto is full of older apartment buildings. They’ve got charm, but they’ve also got old windows, which are drafty year-round and downright cold in winter. Check that the windows are at least double-, if not triple-, paned. Single-paned windows will not only make the apartment cold in winter, but could cause your hydro bill to skyrocket.


  1. The shower

There’s pretty much nothing like a great shower with ideal water pressure. Contrarily, there’s nothing worse than having to cope, every day, with a shower that barely dribbles out water, or makes a valiant attempt at ripping off your skin. Turn the shower on when you go to a viewing, and make a detailed note of your findings for when it comes to decision time.


  1. Neighbours

Don’t get stuck locked in to an apartment for a year, that’s full of seniors. Seniors are really nice, but they’re not going to be stoked about your Friday night scotch-tasting parties that later become 3 am TSwift singalong battles with the boys. Fact is, excessive noise can get you kicked out if you violate noise bylaws. Ask your landlord about the neighbours, and try to talk to a few while you’re around. Make sure they mesh with your style.


  1. Wiring, water damage, old roofs and structural issues

These aren’t aspects of an apartment that you can control, but they’re very important to your comfort and lifestyle. If any of these things go wrong and result in a need for repairs, you’re automatically signed up for months of repair work, disruptions, water shut-offs, electrical time-outs and potential temporary evictions. You don’t want that, so ask first. It’s worth it.

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Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

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