Start searching 44 to 60 days prior to your intended move-in date
Apartment units with September 1st lease start date usually begin appearing in June, with the majority appearing mid-July to the end of August. The Toronto housing market is competitive and properties move quickly, so it is important to be proactive in checking daily and contacting landlords immediately.
Understand Toronto's housing market
Toronto's rental market is both highly competitive and expensive, so compromise will be necessary to separate your deal-breakers from your nice-to-have amenities. Flexibility is essential—there are many variables (price, location, distance from transit, having roommates, and in-building amenities) but only some of them can take priority.
Find a rental within a reasonable distance
You can use Google Maps to check the distance of each apartment to campus. You can use the Ryerson Student Learning Centre as a reference point on campus, as classes are typically within a 5-minute walk of this building.
You may wish to get a sense of Toronto's varied neighbourhoods when you are searching. Ryerson is in the Yonge-Dundas area, and many of our students have found rentals in areas including Church-Wellesley Village, Cabbagetown, St James Town, the Annex, Kensington, Chinatown, and Baldwin Village.
Search within 3kms of campus to keep your walk within 30 minutes.
Another option would be to try to live further out from downtown but close to a subway stop, as you can likely get a better deal on rent and still have a reasonable commute. For reference, Ryerson's closest stop is Dundas Station (not to be confused with Dundas West station however).
A large number of Ryerson students rely on the subway to get from home to campus. This would allow you to live as far out as the districts of Etobicoke, Scarborough, or North York which are significantly further away from Ryerson but still ~40 minutes by subway provided you live close to the station.
You can get a discounted student metropass through the Ryerson Student Union.
Prepare against scams
It is important that you or someone trusted view a unit before agreeing to a lease as housing scams are unfortunately common in large cities. Make sure to research the address and landlord name to see if there are any reports of scams connected with either.
Landlords want to get their place rented—if they're making excuses for why you can't come see the unit, or are asking you to send money in advance, this is likely a scam.
Remember: you should only ever pay money at the moment you are signing the lease. Toronto landlords cannot ask for a security or damage deposit; only for first and last month's rent, and a key deposit only in the amount it would cost to replace the key but you should only be paying this after you have seen the unit and are signing the lease.
We understanding it can be challenging to search for a unit from abroad. You have two main options to still ensure that the unit is being physically viewed and checked out before you sign a lease:
This may mean you have to come to Toronto a week earlier and stay in a hotel or hostel and attend viewings in person before agreeing to sign a lease. You can look into local hostels and Homestay options for the night.
An popular option that is inexpensive and safe is Hosteling International which is about a 10-minute walk south of campus—please keep in mind that they fill up quickly.
There is a paid service called Kanaree who you can arrange to have view a unit on your behalf. They will send one of their staff to the unit to take photos and give you a report.
Please note: this service is being shared for information only. Ryerson Housing & Residence Life does not investigate, rank, endorse, or recommend any particular company.