Skip to main content

Rental Applications

After viewing a unit, if you like it and are interested in living there, your next step is to apply! Keep in mind that Toronto housing is competitive and you may need to apply to multiple units before being approved. Being prepared is key when applying in Toronto—sometimes it comes down to being the first person to submit all required rental application documents.  

How do you prepare for a rental application?

Landlords require several documents as part of a rental application (listed in the drop-down menu below).  

It's best to compile these documents before starting your search, as they will give you an advantage in moving quickly through a rental application.

A Guarantor

While you are renting as a student, most landlords will require you to have a guarantor. A guarantor, sometimes called a co-signer, who is someone with a Canadian bank account who agrees to pay your rent in case you cannot or in case you leave the city or country. For many students, this is a working parent or older sibling, but extended family and friends can also be guarantors.

If you are a mature student, graduate student, or work a steady part-time or full-time job, landlords may not require you to have a guarantor.

If you do not have a guarantor, you may wish to have letters from employers, scholarships, and other forms of income and/or a bank statement that demonstrates you have enough money to pay the rent for a few months. 

Job Letter

Landlords want to verify that your guarantor is employed and therefore can afford to pay rent on your behalf.

If your guarantor is employed by a business, they will need a letter from their Human Resources Department that identifies the name of the company, their occupation/job title, the length of time they have been employed at the company, their salary and contact information for their HR unit or manager.

If your guarantor is self-employed, they will need to provide a business letter stating the same information.

If you have been working or maintain a steady part-time or full-time job, landlords may choose to forego you having a guarantor and could request a job letter from your employer instead. 

Please note that landlords may also require proof of income (T4s, bank statements, tax returns or CRA Notices of Assessment).

Two Month's Rent

You need to have the amount of two months’ rent available in your or your guarantor's bank account, ready to be withdrawn as a money order, as the landlord can legally ask you to pay first and last month’s rent when you sign a lease.

Please refer to our tips on scams to learn about illegal fees such as application fees, reservation fees, security deposits, damage deposits. 

References

Landlords will ask for professional references for yourself, from previous landlords, employers, teachers, or volunteer leaders.

You should reach out three potential references and ask for their consent to share their contact information with potential landlords. You will need to state the nature of the relationship, the length of the relationship, and a phone number/email for the referee. 

Credit Report with Credit Score

Your credit report shows the detail of your credit history: whether you have paid back money you owe and have paid your bills on time. It also shows if you have filed or been discharged from bankruptcy in the last 6 years.

Get an updated copy of your Equifax Credit Report and Score for $25 (click the orange "Buy Now" button to proceed).

For most students, a landlord will be looking at a guarantor’s credit report and credit score verify if they can be considered responsible enough to pay rent. Credit scores are a number based on the information in your credit score, which range from 300 (lowest) to 850 (best). Good credit is usually considered 700 or more. Sometimes, credit scores are turned into a letter and number combination. In this system, R9 is the worst credit rating and R1 is the best.

Government Photo ID

You will need to have scanned copies of government-issue photo identification for yourself and any roommates you might have. This could include a passport or driver's license. 

Previous Addresses

Landlords often ask for the addresses of the last two places you resided, and the length of time that you lived at both. Compile this information (including unit number, street name and number, city and postal code) and have it ready.

 

 

What else do I need to know?

What can a prospective landlord ask about in your application? What if I have pets or smoke?

A landlord can ask questions related to the tenancy, as long as they do not infringe on your rights.
 

A landlord can ask questions such as:

  • What is your income?

  • Do you work? Where do you work?

  • How many people will be living with you and what are their names?

  • Do you have pets?

  • Do you smoke?

  • Do I have permission to run a credit check?

  • Do you have a guarantor or co-signer?

 

Note: the RTA does not address smoking nor does it cover individuals before they become tenants, so if a landlord refuses to rent to you on the basis of pets or smoking, you cannot appeal to the Landlord and Tenant Board for this reason.

Once you have signed a lease, a “no pets” clause in the lease is void, but a landlord may still have the grounds to apply to evict you either for having a pet or for smoking if the pet or smoke damages the property or bothers other tenants.

What can’t a prospective landlord ask about in your application?

A landlord cannot select or refuse you as a tenant based on your rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Thus, no questions may be asked about your age, gender, sexual orientation, family status, place of origin, race, religion, disability, gender expression, your relationship status, pregnancy status, intention for more children, nor Canadian citizenship status.

 

Will you be asked to pay a rental application fee?

Legally, landlords and property management companies are not entitled to charge an application fee (usually called a “processing fee”).

In Ontario, landlords are legally only allowed to ask you to pay first and last month’s rent at the time of signing the lease, as well as a refundable key deposit (which can only be in the amount it would cost to replace the key). Landlords are not allowed to ask for security deposits. Note: this does not excuse you from liability if you cause damage to the unit–read our tips for avoiding incurring charges at the time of your move-out!  

 

Landlords will review the documents you submit, and will choose whether to accept or reject your application. Toronto’s housing market is competitive, so you may receive a rejection or two. Don’t give up! Once your application has been accepted, it’s time to sign the lease.