Understanding Toronto’s Rent Regulations

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Most people are aware of the fact that Toronto is the largest city in Canada, but many don’t realize just how big the city is in a global context. Toronto is actually the fourth largest city in all of North America: Mexico City is the largest, followed by New York City and Los Angeles. Until a couple of years ago, Chicago was actually the fourth largest in NA, but Toronto has been growing at an incredible rate and shows no signs of slowing down. One of the predictable results of this growth is an unprecedented increase in rent, with landlords arbitrarily raising rent by massive amounts and demanding six months rent up front for sought after units.

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Considering that Toronto is the financial capital of Canada, home to several prominent universities and the literary and artistic center of the country as well, it makes sense that many people would end up moving there. However, with rent shooting up all the time, it seems strangely unfair for outsiders who want to move to Toronto in order to access opportunities they might not have elsewhere.

For renters, there are a couple of workarounds: for one thing, if you browse the ads on Craigslist, you might just find a rental opportunity in a shared house with low rent. Even more likely, newcomers may use Facebook’s excellent resource – Bunz home zone – to connect with people who may be looking for a roommate in a great house. Applicants will still have to impress their prospective roommates, but at least things will be sorted with the landlord in advance and the individual will be entering a stable rental situation.

Despite the current difficulty of finding a decent apartment in Toronto for a fair price, regulations are starting to come into play to protect renters against absurd rent increases. As of April 20th, 2017, landlords cannot raise rent more than 2.5% a year, unless they reach an agreement with their tenant regarding renovations or drastic improvements to the unit in question.

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For real estate investors reliant on rental units for income, this may seem like a slap in the face, but realistically it is only fair. Regulations are necessary to keep villainous behaviour in check, and despite the new regulations, real estate in Canada is still an extremely profitable gambit. With Bill Morneau’s new regulations regarding mortgage rates and foreign investment, the field of play does seem to be changing a lot, but seeking out reliable tips for realtors to be more profitable isn’t too tricky, if you know where to look.

Additionally, with the new craze of private rentals through peer-to-peer sites such as Air BnB, regulations are in place regarding how many weeks per year an individual can rent out their apartment to a third part. Furthermore, those making any significant amount of money through these kinds of short-term rentals will have to pay taxes on their profits. Hotels are interested in pushing even more reforms in order to take back some of the business they’ve lost, but it will be difficult to reverse the momentum.

As you can see, the real estate and rental scene in Toronto is anything but simple. Hopefully, if you live in the 6, you’ve got your living situation sorted!

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.