The Ryersonian found three low-cost options to save a buck on the city’s skyrocketing rent, but would you want to live in one?
Unwieldy upfront costs, unreasonable landlords, unsafe city blocks and unaddressed alleged insect infestations; the world of low-rent apartments can be a treacherous one.
For some students, the weight of Toronto housing prices is enough to drive them to these places, where money from student loans, retail jobs or their parents’ generosity can stretch far enough to put a roof over their heads.
The Ryersonian did a dive into classifieds boards, real estate sites and the social media marketplace in search of affordable housing. All throughout, the greatest question of all is a simple one:
How cheap can it get?
Dundas and Spadina: The Demands – $530/month + additional costs
This Chinatown duplex has a room for rent, but it may not be for the faint of heart. For just $530 per month, a student can live minutes from Ryerson campus in one of Toronto’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. Their new home in Chinatown, however, comes with some caveats.
In addition to first and last month’s rent, prospective housemates are expected to pay a $250 yearly maintenance fee, as well as all utilities (including air conditioning and internet) upfront; a lump sum of $1,320.
For all of this, they receive 100 square feet of private space, a bathroom shared with one other person and a kitchen shared with two. Parking is an additional $120 monthly, and cars greater than 14 feet in length are not welcome (for reference, a newer-model Toyota Corolla is 15.25 feet).
Beyond monetary concerns, the Kijiji poster wishes to make clear that “Inquiries are welcome from persons who are financially & emotionally stable,” and that “disruptive individuals will not be accommodated.”
As well, interested students be warned: “If you can’t be bothered to include the contact information requested above then don’t bother responding to this advert’\! [sic] … it is utterly ridiculous that I have to s;end [sic] HOURS every day chasing ppl for such trivial information as is required to setup an appointment!!”
For those who are willing to stomach the upfront fees and are ready to navigate the possibility of some serious attitude, this could be the place for you. For others, the search continues.
Dundas and Sherbourne: The History – $995/month, all inclusive
Closer to campus is this bachelor apartment in Moss Park west, offering hydro, heat and water for $995 in monthly rent. Located a 10-minute walk from Kerr Hall, the tenant would have few excuses for being late to their 8 a.m. lecture. As well, even with the convenient location, they’ll still be paying a whole $94 under market average for a bachelor, even with utilities. To top it off, they’ll have the place to themselves – no roommates.
That said, there are potential complications with living here.
First is the area: Moss Park has ranked high among Toronto neighbourhoods for incidence of homicide, and the apartment in particular’s proximity to noted gentlemen’s club Filmores Hotel may turn away potential tenants.
As for the building itself, 280 Dundas St. has garnered negative attention online in previous years. Users of the third-party website The Bed Bug Registry have filed 31 reports on the complex since 2009. Nearly all of them are detailed descriptions of infestations, troublesome neighbours and unsanitary conditions, or non-residents asking if any of those things have changed since previous reports.
“The hallways stink of weed always, and there’s there (sic) crack rock all over the area,” writes Marvin, no surname given. “Luckily I never had any bedbugs, but I was always uneasy doing my laundry in the shared laundry machines in the basement.”
According to others, not everyone is so lucky. In 2012, an anonymous poster wrote:
“Do not rent here. These apartments are absolutely disgusting. They are infested with bugs and roaches, the first night I moved in I killed 7 roaches, and I saw 3 or 4 almost everyday.”
It bears mentioning that these are not official reports with the city, and there isn’t proof provided that these people even lived in the building, let alone of their specific claims. As well, though the website remains active, the building in particular hasn’t had a report since 2015.
For those who are discouraged by the mere mention of creepy-crawlies, the search continues to its final stop.
Dundas and Church: The Squeeze – $800/month, all-inclusive
Even closer to campus and for a more affordable price, this room for rent has the lowest upfront cost of any found in this search: $800 per month, without additional fees. Included in rent are “all amenities,” the rental description mentions, without detailing further.
The space is small and unusually shaped. There is little room for more than a dresser and a mattress on the floor. The ceilings are low, and, judging from one of the three images, there appears to be a small set of steps from the entranceway to the bedroom, creating significant difficulties for potential tenants with mobility issues.
Similar to the Chinatown duplex, this living space comes with the necessity to share with others. While information is scarce on the posting itself, the reader can gather that what is depicted in the photos is one bedroom of a larger unit. Luckily, however, the tenant can expect a private washroom.