What should you look for when renting a property?

When you rent a place to live, there’s a lot that goes into your decision on where you decide you live. Before you start browsing property listings for available rooms, first figure out what you need in a space.

Cost: For most people, this is a deciding factor when they look at places to live. Always set a budget of what space you can realistically afford. If you miss payments, you may find yourself on facing an eviction notice. When meeting with any potential landlords, you’ll want to know whether the cost of the place covers monthly rent and utilities or if those need to be paid for separately. Also, learn about your tenant rights, including whether your province is regulated by rent controls.

Location: If you’re going to school or working, chances are you want to live a short distance or a short commute away. If you need to take public transit, keep an eye out for your possible routes, or if you have a car, make sure the place you’re renting has parking available and if not, where you can park. Your mode of transportation also affects what you’d like in your neighbourhood. For example, if you don’t have a car, you may want to live in an area with a nearby grocery store, a pharmacy or a bank. If you have children, you may want to live in a place near a park or near a smaller road that doesn’t see as much traffic.

Number of occupants: The number of people living in the space will determine the number of bedrooms you will need to rent. If you have children, seniors or anyone who’s physically disabled who will be renting with you, you will want to take their needs into consideration. The number of rooms you will need will also affect your budget since in certain areas, such as downtown, it’ll be more expensive to find a two- or three-bedroom space compared to renting in the suburbs.

What type of building you want to live in: Some renters may be pickier about this aspect compared to others. Typically renting a basement suite is more inexpensive compared to renting in a townhouse, but you may not be a fan of the lack of sunlight.

What does the space include: If you’re looking to rent a room in a house, you’ll want to know whether it comes with any furniture or if you’ll need to bring your own, which will affect your costs. On the other hand, if you’re looking to a rent a condo, you’ll want to know whether the unit comes with laundry, whether it’s in the suite or located in another part of the building, as well as the other amenities you can access, such as patios, a gym, a pool, an entertainment room or a BBQ. Some of these features you may be adamant on having, while others may not be as important to you.

While your preferences may change as you view properties for rent, it’s always important to have a general idea what you’re looking for so you can make a quick decision, if needed.

If you’re a first-time renter in Toronto, these commonly asked Renter FAQs will help you find the right place to live.

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