In Toronto, what’s a fair rent to pay?

Yeah, rent is steep in Toronto. It’s a sad reality we all face. Still, there are deals to be found and other places that charge exorbitant rates that seem totally out of whack with the norm. What’s up with that?

Since rent is probably one of your biggest monthly expenses, sorting out how much you can afford will depend on your income, whether or not you’ll split the rent with a roommate, what other expenses you have, and how much you want to save month to month.

Deciding how much rent you can afford and what’s a fair rent for the area you’re looking at might not necessarily align. How do you know what’s fair for the area and what’s way too steep?

Look at the averages. Finding the average rent for a given neighbourhood can take ages, and the information on the interwebs isn’t always consistent or even accurate. TorontoRentals’ neighbourhood guides have accurate averages, determined by looking at what property managers and landlords in various neighbourhoods are actually charging for their rentals. Of course, averages don’t show that some parts of a neighbourhood might command higher rents than others. Still, the average is a good guideline.

Ask around. If you can, ask some people coming in or out of the building you’re considering what they pay for rent there. Don’t be a creep about it, and definitely don’t force the issue if they feel uncomfortable divulging. Mostly, people want to be helpful and their answers will give you a good picture of whether the price presented to you aligns with the norm.

Consider the costs. Usually, landlords set rents to cover all their costs, plus have a little income month to month. In condo and apartment buildings, there are condo fees that usually get bundled in with the monthly rent. Buildings that have a ton of amenities like pools, gyms, meeting rooms and outdoor common spaces, plus 24-hour security or a concierge will have really high condo fees, which can drive up your rent.

Measure availability. In cities like Toronto where the rental market is hot, rentals get snapped up as quickly as they come available. There’s a high demand for rentals in Toronto and a limited demand and as with all types of micro-economies, this leads to skyrocketing rents. Neighbourhoods that are most popular tend to have higher average rental rates for that reason alone.

What constitutes a “fair rent” to you? Does that even exist in Toronto? Tell us what you think.

Erin Cardone

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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