Renting a Home as a Newcomer
Being a newcomer to Canada, can be a very exciting time full of opportunities, at the same time there are uncertainties and challenges you will face. The more knowledge you have before arriving, the better equipped you will be to make good decisions for yourself and your family.
As a licensed Real Estate Agent, who has lived in Canada for over 30 years, I know the communities and systems of the Toronto Real Estate Market well. I have seen far too many stories of newcomers being taken advantage of and lied to when it comes to Real Estate and I truly want to advocate for their rights.
Rent prices in the Greater Toronto Area are generally very high and with all the proof of documents required, it is very challenging for newcomers to find properties to rent. You need an experienced and caring Real Estate Agent to navigate the market for you.
Real Case Example
I had a mother and two daughters contact me from Iran, stating the date they will be arriving in Canada. The mother was so worried about finding a home in time for their arrival. As she tried to contact many agents from Iran, and felt she was not taken seriously. Their daughter had received a visa to study in elementary school at the Toronto School Board. Ongoing conversations with the family, I understood their needs and wants. They didn’t know which schools and communities were good. Having extensive knowledge of the communities in Toronto, I was able to recommend a safe neighbourhood within a good school zone. The wanted safety first, as the wife and kids were moving here alone and the husband was staying back in Iran to work. They had no credit score, no employment, but had cash and funds with them. I was able to secure a home for them, by negotiating a few additional months ahead of time, showing proof of funds, and sending copies of immigration documents to support the lease agreement. I managed to secure a hotel for the client on their arrival and helped them move into their new home. We managed to send funds internationally.
As a newcomer, some landlords will accept people with no financial records and background in Canada. Sometimes we can show proof of job offer, proof of funds, or volunteer to pay additional upfront rent to get accepted. Once you build credit and find a job, it is much easier to send applications for rent, but for the first time, newcomers must show their goodwill. Sometimes if you know someone family and friends that lives here in Canada, you can ask them to be your guarantor, this means that they are responsible if you do not pay the rent. This will give the landlord more confidence to accept an offer to lease.
General documents needed to lease a property, are credit score, job application, pay stubs, references and rental application. If you don’t have any of these, your lease applications can be viewed on a case by case basis.
First and last month's rent
Here in Toronto, you will be required to pay upfront, first month’s rent and last month's rent upfront. As mentioned you can volunteer to pay a few months additional to this since you do not have any records here in Canada.
When moving to Canada, you might have done some research, but it's important to talk to people who have lived here for years, to get an understanding of the neighbourhoods. As a newcomer, you want to be surrounded by community and people that are familiar. The Greater Toronto Area has many neighbours and not all will be right for you.
Additional fees and costs
There are fees you will have to pay in addition to your rent. You would be surprised that some newcomers are surprised once they move in that they have additional fees as their agents do not advise them.
- Tenant Insurance may be required by the landlord to cover your own materials in the home. Not all landlords require this.
- Utilities, some buildings and homes require additional payment for utilities such as heat, water etc. this differs from home to home. The amount can range depending on your usage.
- Deposit for keys, the landlord can ask you to pay a deposit for keys, which will be refundable when you move out.
Renting For Lower Income Families
There are obviously other ways of renting properties as a newcomer. I have specifically addressed the rental market. There are many resources offered by the Government of Canada for lower income families. You can look into subsidized housing, or find information on whether you can find subsidized housing. Other resources can be found on the Government of Canada's "Welcome to Canada” page.
As a licensed Real Estate Agent, who has lived in Canada for over 30 years, I know the communities and systems of the Canadian Real Estate Market well. I have worked with newcomers, helping them buy and rent properties in the greater Toronto area. I help newly arrived immigrants, newcomers and first-time buyers buy homes or condo apartments. I also help them with renting properties, as this can be a very challenging task. I highly recommend buying vs. renting, as by renting you are simply paying off someone else's mortgage. If you can within the first few years and build your own real estate wealth as soon as possible, you will be in a good position. Sometimes with a small down payment you will be paying the same amount in mortgage that you are paying in rental fees. There are lots of incentives for first time home buyers which I will address in another article.
If you want a free consultation please feel free to contact me directly at Sara Rahimian 416 624 8709
Disclaimer This Article if for educational and information purposes only. Author does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of information. These views are based upon the best available information at the time they were written and are not intended to and do not constitute direct legal or official interpretations. It is possible that the information may contain errors or omissions. It is highly recommended you seek legal advice regarding matters discussed in the article.
Author: Sara Rahimian, B.A, M.A, Realtor®