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By the housing situation being "beyond terrible" anyone not from NYC or LA, what do you mean? In terms of pricing, in terms of size of apartments, in terms of easy availability to find apartments...? I'm not from LA, but I am from SoCal, so anything below $1000 for a one-bedroom apartment (particularly in downtown) strikes me as a steal. But what is a good price for downtown apartments in Toronto? (I'm thinking one bedroom, and not shared with another student, as I'm married). Where would you recommend living? (I have mostly been researching places along the subway line just north or east of U of T, but should I look at other places?) My husband will most likely be working downtown also, so ideally, we'd like to be a 5 minute walk or less to the subway, so we drive as little as possible. Any advice?

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finding a decent one bedroom apartment on the subway line is totally do-able. craigslist is always good, but also check out classifieds in local papers such as NOW toronto (http://toronto.nowtoronto.com/online/classifieds/index), where you find a lot more cheaper private landlords. The areas people have already mentioned are nice, like the annex, kensington, queen west... If you're willing to go a bit west of the downtown area there are lots of nice and convenient neighbourhoods like roncesvalles. I used to live at Roncescvalles and Howard Park which is a 5 minute walk to the subway (dundas west station), and had two streetcars that run downtown right on the corner (King streetcar and Dundas streetcar). You can plan to get in the city quick or with no transfering. It's a very friendly neighbourhood, lots of green space and places to hang out, community run not for profit movie theatre, grocery stores a plenty, plus less than 20 minutes to u of t. I much prefer living west of yonge but I also have friends who live along the danforth in greektown and love it. Toronto's a really great city and there are no really bad areas that you need to avoid. There's a bit of a rougher area south of bloor east of yonge but really nowhere i feel scared to walk alone at night or anything...

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Thanks for all the very helpful replies! I really appreciate it. I'm wondering if someone can give me a price range for apartments in downtown that are, say, within a 15-20 minute subway ride of U of T. I imagine the prices vary depending on the neighborhood, but what is TOO cheap for a safe, convenient one-bedroom apartment? How much should I expect to spend on utilities? (so if they are included in the rent, I can compare those prices to not-included prices)

Also, I won't be able to go out to Toronto until--at most--a few weeks before school starts, and at least where I'm from, that's probably not enough time to find a good apartment (plus, I don't want to pay for a hotel room for more than a few days), so I guess I'll be trying to find an apartment long-distance, unless Toronto is different and we could find a nice place to live in a week or less. (The reason why we can't visit this summer and try to find a place is that we're currently living overseas, so that's not an option). Any advice about common problems in apartments in Toronto to ask about, or recommendations on good complexes/owners? I've never tried to find an apartment long-distance before, so this makes me nervous! Also, when should I start seriously looking--as soon as possible, 3 months out, 2 months out...?

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I'd say if a one bedroom apartment is less than $700 it's too good to be true, it gets more expensive the closer you are to downtown (uoft is downtown). I have always paid all inclusive so I'm not sure about hydro but I've heard it can be around 30$ a month..more in the winter but this can also range depending on the type of heating it is. If it's plus utilities you should ask what type of heating it is, I've heard baseboard heating can surprise you with huge bills in the winter. I've always gone with all inclusive becuase there are tons available and you dont need to worry about surprise huge bills, or how it's measured between apartments etc.

If i were you I'd opt for finding an apartment in a short period of time than renting one without seeing it. The rental process in Toronto can be very quick I've never heard of anyone being asked to provide thigns like credit scores, bank statements, proof of income etc. Some landlords may ask you for references of previous landlords. Just make sure to have a deposit available because the apartment will not usually be held as yours until you provide this (landlords cannot ask for a deposit larger than one month's rent. Often ask for "first and last" at move in). It's good to see the apartment first because you get to see the neighbourhood and what a "short walk" to the subway actually is. Also seeing it in person allows you to check for pest infestations which can be a problem especially in the downtown area where there are lots of people crammed into a small space, and houses are often joined in long rows (one of those gets cockroaches you all do), it's technically the landlords responsibility to take care of pest control but lots of places downtown have these problems continuously (china town, kensington market...). Its good to be able to open cupboards and give it your own quick inspection. Dont let me scare you there are tons of apartments downtown that have no pest problems at all i'm just telling you what to check for!

as far as how much in advance you can find a place I find that most apartments dont get posted until one-two months before the move in date. Tenants are required to give 30-60 days move out notice depending on the accomodation type, so landlords often dont know what they will have available in 3 months time.

good luck!

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I had a girlfriend who used to live in Greektown, and I used to play soccer out there, and I have to tell you it's kind of a pain going that way very often, if most of what you do is d/t. I guess it still beats transit "service" to York, but what doesn't?

My comment about the housing situation was in reference to the price you have to pay to get more than a closet to live in, especially if you want a rat-free abode. My current gf had to move a while back, due to infestation. It was not cool.

Maybe I'm just particular about rats and roaches, since you don't deal with that stuff growing up in Minnesota.

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We don't really have them in California, either - would *not* be excited about that! So I guess at this point my first choice will be getting the on-campus apartment, and if that doesn't work out, trying to go out early and find a place then. Thanks for all the help! :)

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I have lived here for close to 5 years. A basic apartment fairly close to the St George campus (as in 15-20 minute subway ride) will be approx 1000 plus utilities. Specific neighbourhoods to look for places would be Riverdale, Cabbagetown, and the Annex. Perhaps you'd like to try looking on Craigslist to get a sense of what is available. I'd also consider living a 30-45 minute TTC ride away (Yonge and Eglinton area or King West).

I certainly haven't had any run-ins with bedbugs, rodents etc. Toronto is a gorgeous (and comparatively, extremely clean) city.

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I have lived here for close to 5 years. A basic apartment fairly close to the St George campus (as in 15-20 minute subway ride) will be approx 1000 plus utilities. Specific neighbourhoods to look for places would be Riverdale, Cabbagetown, and the Annex. Perhaps you'd like to try looking on Craigslist to get a sense of what is available. I'd also consider living a 30-45 minute TTC ride away (Yonge and Eglinton area or King West).

I certainly haven't had any run-ins with bedbugs, rodents etc. Toronto is a gorgeous (and comparatively, extremely clean) city.

I agree whole-heartedly. I have been a career U of T student thus far and I know I will miss the city and the university in the years of study ahead. Those are good neighbourhoods to browse, although I have friends who love Bloor West Village. Also, avoid living outside of Toronto. I have been a commuter for about two years now, and while I save money on rent - the transport time and the general disconnect from university life make living outside of that 30-45 minute TTC radius diffcult.

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Hi im a 13+ years resident of Toronto and got my BA from UofT. Been living downtown for 3 years (before that lived @ home in North York).

Quick points:

1. While Toronto is a big city, its peripheral regions are underdeveloped and estranged from the heart of Toronto. SO stay away from the 'suburbs' ie North York, Etobicoke. They usually tend to be very car-centric especially North York and expensive since most are home owners there. Basically You don't want to live anywhere north of Young and Eglington (20-25 subway ride to UofT, not 45), West of High Park (even that's pushing it a bit), and East of...

1.5 STAY AWAY FROM THE EAST END. While the Beaches, Leslieville and Danforth areas are nice they tend to be a bit more family-oriented (ie $$$) and are disconnected from the urban nightlife. And despite being a quick ride on the subway, it really tire you out when you have to do it every day. Plus, no-one from the Westend will go to the East End, unless its a super special occasion; it's just the way it is. Also, you have to pass through some crummy areas to get there, so be aware. I mean, if you are more of the settled-down type maybe living with a partner who just wants to go to school and hang out in your neighborhood these east-end areas are certainly nice; but if you are still in your 20/early 30s who wants to soak up the citylife, well, go west young (wo)man, go west. Cabbigetown and the adjesent gay village (Church Street) are nice too and are much closer to Yonge St, the dividing line b/w West and East.

OH! And despite what someone said, Roncesville (between High Park and Dundas West subway stations) is not 20mins from UofT. Sure if you live right next to the subway, yes. But most likely, you would be living 10-20mins from the subway and be tempted to take the streetcar which is always late. And its a total bitch to get from there by foot. Lastly, while having a lot of Eastern European charm, you should be aware the neighborhood basically shuts-down after 9pm.

2. Though the subways are pretty fast, buses and streetcars are totally another matter. If you live in the downtown core (Annex, Chinatown/Kensington Market, Queen West, Little Italy) its not really an issue because everything is walking distance, but if you are thinking "oh its not that far, i can just hop on the bus every day" dont! Also fare is 2.75 per ticket!

3. Dont live in grad house. While its in a relatively convenient area between College Street and Bloor Annex its a monstrosity of a building and its immediate surroundings are kind bland. Plus if your partner will be working in the city it will be embarrassing for him/her to invite his/her professional friends to what is essentially a glorified dorm.

4. You can relatively easily find a 2 bedroom + living room for around 1500-1800, and certainly a 1 bedroom + den for around 1000. Check Viewit.ca, Craigslist, and NowToronto classifieds and Thestar classifieds. UofT's housing database tends to have a lot of crap listed on it and isnt regularly updated. Keep an eye out for regions like College & Dovercourt (30min walk to UofT), around Dupont station just north of Bloor is blossoming, Dundas Street. If you're single I recommend sharing a Victorian house with a few roommates. Its pretty common for young professionals and other grad students to live like that so you'll be living in a mature environment; check Craigslist for potential roommates, you'll find plenty. For around 750-850 you can get a nice sized room in a very nice house shared with 3-4 other housemates that will have a nice proper kitchen and living room, a nice shared backyard, maybe even basement for storage. And you can get this in pretty posh and coveted neighborhoods like Little Italy, the Annex, Queen West.

Anyway these are just some of my opinions. As others have said, Toronto is great vibrant city and don't be scared about the infestations. I've never seen a rat yet.

PS: Despite liquor sale being controlled by the government (ie the LCBO stores), you can basically smoke grass on the street without a care, in case anyone is wondering.

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I would also point out that while there are always merits to living on the subway lines, the subway shuts down around 1:30am so if you're the type to be out until last call, make sure you're located somewhere an all night bus or streetcar goes to.

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Hey this thread hasnt had activity in a while.....

Just wanted to say thanks everyone for the good tips on where to live, etc. I'm heading to Toronto in September for MSc program so i'll be getting a place downtown!!!! I can't wait; no more boring small city stuff for me!

Does anyone know my chances of getting an apartment where the lease starts in Aug or Sept? I want to save money this summer and not have to pay rent like i did during undergrad!

Thanks a mil!

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I went to York for 4 years, so I'm pretty familiar with the area and such. If you need a place to stay, definitely go to craigslist, thats where I found all of my places. You'll have to decide if you want a room in a house, which is common, many families rent out their basements, or even groups of students share a house, or your own apartment, which can be significantly more expensive.

There are always a lot of places available, it should be easy to find a place where the lease starts in september, renters are used to students

I wouldn't live on campus. While the campus life can be pretty lively, since it is located so far from urban toronto, I have never encountered a dorm room I liked. The new townhouses are terribly uncomfortable, if you really want to live nearby there are a few older apartment buildings and townhouses on campus I can recommend though (avoid sentinel. At all costs.)

Hey this thread hasnt had activity in a while.....

Just wanted to say thanks everyone for the good tips on where to live, etc. I'm heading to Toronto in September for MSc program so i'll be getting a place downtown!!!! I can't wait; no more boring small city stuff for me!

Does anyone know my chances of getting an apartment where the lease starts in Aug or Sept? I want to save money this summer and not have to pay rent like i did during undergrad!

Thanks a mil!

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Everything I've read about Toronto life seems to come with a warning about pests, especially roaches.. whats the deal with that??

Since I'd only be living in Toronto for a year, I would quite honestly just prefer to live in student accommodation and not bother with an apartment. However, I do have a pet bird so I'm sure that makes me ineligible for student housing. Are there any university-managed apartments that allow pets, and/or is it difficult to find apartments that do allow pet birds? I'm sure it's possible since it's a big city, but I've never had to deal with the landlord+pet issue.

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I went to York for 4 years, so I'm pretty familiar with the area and such. If you need a place to stay, definitely go to craigslist, thats where I found all of my places. You'll have to decide if you want a room in a house, which is common, many families rent out their basements, or even groups of students share a house, or your own apartment, which can be significantly more expensive.

There are always a lot of places available, it should be easy to find a place where the lease starts in september, renters are used to students

I wouldn't live on campus. While the campus life can be pretty lively, since it is located so far from urban toronto, I have never encountered a dorm room I liked. The new townhouses are terribly uncomfortable, if you really want to live nearby there are a few older apartment buildings and townhouses on campus I can recommend though (avoid sentinel. At all costs.)

Thanks for the tips! I will be working/studying in the college street area close to King's Circle...Sick Kids area; i was thinking of getting a place in this area but i am also considering other areas and just commuting via subway!

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Hey this thread hasnt had activity in a while.....

Just wanted to say thanks everyone for the good tips on where to live, etc. I'm heading to Toronto in September for MSc program so i'll be getting a place downtown!!!! I can't wait; no more boring small city stuff for me!

Does anyone know my chances of getting an apartment where the lease starts in Aug or Sept? I want to save money this summer and not have to pay rent like i did during undergrad!

Thanks a mil!

I'm at U of T for the foreseeable future...

* living "downtown" - define "downtown". Some would say it's basically everything south of Bloor, but that can also technically mean the west or east end. I live on the Bloor subway line, but not close to campus, though it's about 15 min subway ride, which is fantastic. If you want subway access, then I recommend looking along the subway lines (Bloor or the Spadina branch of the Yonge-Spadina line).

*alternatively, if you like to bike or walk, then you can look at the annex, little Italy (to the west, along College or Bloor) or around Church (to the east). I wouldn't go too far north, because the commute can be a drag, particularly during rush hour.

*apartments can become available any time during the year, including August and September. You should look at viewit.ca and other similar websites for apartment buildings. Or you can check out the student housing website of U of T, where you can see rental ads - usually for roomates or basement apartments (which are cheaper than apartments in buildings). Don't limit yourself to one area - go wide, explore, and ask about specific neighbourhoods. Also, I find that I can google the building address and get tenants' reviews. What looks good on paper (or a virtual ad) may turn out to be a living nightmare!

*have you considered grad house (if you're single) or family housing (if you have a partner or a child)? they are both very affordable and right on campus. Sometimes I envy the grad house residents. One short block to the library! Then again, if you're not into a roomate kind of living situation, this might not be for you.

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I've been checking out places around the Annex (phil department is near st george station). Most of the ads are all for March/April starting though, but there are some arpatment building websites that make reference to waitlists, so maybe it's just a good idea to call and ask about that? Any recommendations about that, or places in the Annex in general?

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Yea i guess i was using downtown loosely.... traditionally i think downtown is like from bloor to lake ont (north-south) and from don river to bathurst (east-west). I am def going to look around at different areas!

What do people think is an acceptable commute to go into school everyday? I'm thinking max a 20 subway ride (for me at least) if you live close to the subway line.

The grad house looks very appealing b/c it's def cheaper than other places but it reminds me too much of a glorified undergrad rez, like the suite style ones... still the pictures look very nice tho.

Thanks again for the tips everyone... each piece of info will make my house hunting in the summer much easier!

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I've been checking out places around the Annex (phil department is near st george station). Most of the ads are all for March/April starting though, but there are some arpatment building websites that make reference to waitlists, so maybe it's just a good idea to call and ask about that? Any recommendations about that, or places in the Annex in general?

Right now you'll see lease dates for the spring. In a couple of moths you'll start seeing more for Aug / Sep.

What type of place are you looking for - basement? apartment / house with roomates? just for yourself? The first two are usually advertised sorta short term, just before a roomate or a basement tenant is leaving, so you'll see more posting much later in the summer. As for the latter, check out apartmen buildings in the area (if you're not physically in TO, then at viewit.ca and similar website) to get a feel for the building, the neighbourhood, amenities etc. Of course, ads and photos can be misleading.

I've seen a couple of places that I liked -

Around St. George station, several (mui expensive but well maintained) buildings in Prince Arthur street (or maybe it's avenue).

On Spadina, near Spadina subway station, the famous 666 building - expensive, kinds noisy, but man, the location! (less than five mins to the library!)

Spadina and Bloor, strategically located cluster of buildings on Walmer road, mixed reviews, ok rental, across the street from just about everything you need.

Then there are buildings further west - like Bloor and Ossington (will take you about 20-25 mins to walk to St. George, or 5 mins on the subway). There are also low rises on Bathurst a couple of blocks north of Bloor - beautiful units!

If you go east of St. George, you get to the Yorkville area, which is VERY pricey and IMO not worth it.

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Yea i guess i was using downtown loosely.... traditionally i think downtown is like from bloor to lake ont (north-south) and from don river to bathurst (east-west). I am def going to look around at different areas!

What do people think is an acceptable commute to go into school everyday? I'm thinking max a 20 subway ride (for me at least) if you live close to the subway line.

The grad house looks very appealing b/c it's def cheaper than other places but it reminds me too much of a glorified undergrad rez, like the suite style ones... still the pictures look very nice tho.

Thanks again for the tips everyone... each piece of info will make my house hunting in the summer much easier!

20 mins is great. Remember that what looks like 20 mins in theory is often longer. We often joke about how in rush hour (or at least in YOUR hour of rush), there's often a stoppage of trains due to "personal injury on track level", as the anouncer says, which is code for "somebody chose to commit suicide exactly when you're about to be late to class"!

I think anywhere on the Bloor line (don't get too far into Etobicoke though) and Danforth (don't go beyond Pape or so) would be fine. You can either get off at Spadina or at St. George. If most of your university activity are around Queen's Park, then you can consider the Spadina line, but not too far north, because having lived on that line (never again!), I can say it's a nightmare in the morning and afternoon hours, which people crammed inside like sardines.

If you're interested in grad house, you'd better make your enquiries soon, because they will be running out of rooms.

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Thanks for all the advice, NorthwerStar :D.

What I'm looking for, well: alone & close to 170 st George, as much as cost permits. The trick is balancing the constraints :P. Basement or apartment would work, I guess.

I've found this site called myhood.ca that seems to list lots of apartment buildings... I saw those Prince Arthur places but I think they'll be outside of what I should be spending. Knowing anything about 70 Spadina? Google tells me it's a ten minute walk from there to 170 st George, and their website lists bachelors for $850. But maybe basements would be cheaper.

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Thanks for all the advice, NorthwerStar biggrin.gif.

What I'm looking for, well: alone & close to 170 st George, as much as cost permits. The trick is balancing the constraints tongue.gif. Basement or apartment would work, I guess.

I've found this site called myhood.ca that seems to list lots of apartment buildings... I saw those Prince Arthur places but I think they'll be outside of what I should be spending. Knowing anything about 70 Spadina? Google tells me it's a ten minute walk from there to 170 st George, and their website lists bachelors for $850. But maybe basements would be cheaper.

Never checked out that building. Is the 850 all inclusive (hydro / heating)? is there a laundry room in the building? what do other people say about this place?

Yes, basements will probably be cheaper, but my hesitation about them (and it's my own little hang up) is that the acoustice normally sucks. You really can hear people walking (stomping, rather) over your head, and often you can hear conversations (which got me thinking about what they can from below). Also, many private landlords forbid bringing pets or smoking, which might become and issue.

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Hello all, I will be coming to Toronto next year. I've never been there in my life, so I'm a little scared! Since I'm rather far away at the moment, I'll be depending on my parents to find me a place to live. One thing I was wondering is, how big is the central campus, i.e. how long does it take to walk from Spadina Ave to Bay Street, or from Bloor to College street? I have a map but am not sure of the scale. Is it generally possible to live in this area outside university accommodation, or would that be impossible/outrageously expensive? I keep hearing/seeing people talking about how great the Annex is for living as a student - am I right in thinking that's the area right above Bloor? For the average Annex dweller, how long would it take to walk to, say, the main library, Queens and Wellesley (CMS), or Sidney Smith Hall? If decent location is my top priority, what would be the best area to check out for apartments if these will be my main academic destinations? Do many students manage to live close enough so as not to depend on public transportation for their daily commutes?

Is it common for apartments to be furnished, or for landlords to include utilities/internet in the rent? If possible, it would be great if I could avoid having to deal with setting up accounts and getting fleeced by various service providers. Also, I'd prefer a furnished apartment but know that that's not always so easy to find in some cities. I should note that I'm American and as such don't know if things are done differently in Toronto to what I've experienced.

Thanks for any advice!

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