How to find an okay(ish) place to stay in Toronto: A Series

By: Fejiro Tobore
Posted on: June 7, 2016

Living away from your parents offers a sense of independence that is unmatched by simply attending post-secondary school. And while it is easier to fantasize about living alone, the process can be quite daunting: I’ve had experiences where an asshole landlord kicked our entire shared house out into the streets with but a month to spare (He planned to increase rent…and yah, I know “squatters rights” and blah blah blah but I’ll get to that later), or that one inconsiderate roommate who throws parties while you sleep. But this article is less about asshole landlords and roommates, and more about how to not be homeless and have a marginal roof over your head—whether it’s because of short notice, an emergency, or roommates that you can’t stand. This series will give you insight that will take you a step closer in being a more confident home finder, especially if you are a short-term renter with a credit history that’s as long as Tyrion Lannister.

By applying some simple budgeting tips, managing expectations, adopting the internet as religion and scouring the internet, one can find an okay(ish) and popping place to stay. Like a $550 dollar bachelor style room (Kitchen and Bathroom included) in North York, a spacious $470 dollar room on Bedford and Bloor, or a $750 dollar bachelor right on the Danforth. See, the struggle can be real, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable. The reason I emphasize “okayish” in this article is because Toronto has developed a hideous reputation for dwellings with astronomical prices and less than satisfactory living conditions. I want to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way-ish. Now back to getting kicked out. With one month to spare I had to act quickly. Now at this point, it wasn’t my first rodeo finding a place and luckily, I was able to find a place in the downtown core almost immediately using the combination of tactics I mentioned earlier: budgeting, managing expectations, scouring the internet and being confident.

Step One: Realistic Budgeting.

The first step to finding an “okayish” place to stay is developing a budget. Assess how much you currently have saved, along with how much you are currently earning. Financial guru Gail Vaz Oxlade warns against spending more than 50 per cent of one’s income on housing accommodations, so according to GVO, if you are taking home $2200 net (gross being after taxes), then spending $1100 dollars in rent each month in lieu of the rest of your living expenses may not be wise decision. I would recommend that struggling millennial making $2200 or less stick to a budget below $1000 dollars, for accommodations or consider getting a roommate (I mean, how else are we going to pay off student loans or save for your next big trip?) Establishing a budget is an important step because it helps you weed out all the crap you’ll see on the Internet and set realistic standards for your living quarters.

And Now that we are done with Step One, I’ll see you again with Step Two: Managing expectations.


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