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07/25 - Renting

Strategies for Tenants in a Changing Market

Have you been looking for a property to rent?

You know the leasing drill if you’ve been hunting for new digs, right? The properties that interested you are gone before you know it.

You’ve sent multiple inquiries directly to Landlords without hearing a peep back. Properties appear to be scooped up in multiple offers left, right and centre.

Not to mention that rental prices seemingly keep increasing week over week? Ugh.

Is it just you? Absolutely not. The Toronto Rental Market has gone bananas!

It’s like the wild west out there! And you’re not alone.

As a Tenant in our current “Landlord friendly” market, it’s almost a guarantee you will have to compete with offers from other prospective tenants.

So! Here are some tip-top strategies that have worked for our Fox Marin Tenant clients to set you up for success.

With almost 100 leases under our belt year-to-date, we know a thing or two about closing deals for Tenants!

1/ Have all Your Supporting Documents Ready to Go

Nothing is worse than finally touring a property you love and watching it leased moments later just because you haven’t had a chance to get your act together! And we’re talking about your paperwork act!

Remember, Landlords will not make a decision based on your offer price alone; they need supporting documentation to prove that you’re a reliable Tenant with a firm financial covenant.

With properties leased in mere days, the longer you wait, the higher the chances other prospective tenants will also tour and fall in love. And, if they have their paperwork ready to rumble and you don’t, you’re guaranteed the short end of the stick. It’s that simple.

So before starting your rental search, it is imperative to have your documents ready to go:

  • Employment letter
  • Full Credit Report with Beacon Score
  • Government Issue Photo ID
  • Two Recent Pay Stubs
  • Personal & Professional References

It takes a couple of days to pull together an effective Tenant package, so get on this checklist first and foremost.

2/ Get Off Your Comfy Couch & View Properties ASAP

Schedule a showing stat as soon as you find a property you’re interested in viewing. The sooner, the better!

Should you work with a Leasing Agent (which we highly recommend, BTW), have them schedule a showing on your behalf; otherwise, reach out to the Listing Agent or Landlord directly.

In a fast-paced rental market, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the more competition you will have.

3/ Prepare for a Bidding War

Landlords in Toronto’s changing market will likely receive overwhelming interest. So to consider all prospective tenants fair and square, they (the Landlord) may choose to hold an offer date to review all offers at one specific date and time.

If competing with other prospective Tenants, you may want to strategize how to stand out from the crowd.

Here are FIVE great tips to consider:

1/ Offer a higher rental amount without overpaying significantly – make sure your agent is doing their research and looking at neighbourhood comparables!

2/ Consider pre-paying rent – 6 to 12 months in advance will certainly make your offer more favourable than those that don’t!

3/ Include a 5-star reference letter from a former Landlord

4/ Add a photo of you, your roommate, partner or pet – putting a face to the name always gives Landlords improved confidence in their prospective Tenant

5/ Offer up your time to be interviewed in person or on Zoom call so the Landlord can meet you and get a better sense of your responsible (and charming) disposition.

4/ Write a Witty Letter to the Landlord

The rental offering process can be pretty impersonal.

Writing a letter will help build an emotional connection with the Landlord and paint a more colourful picture of who you are.

Include who you are, what you do for a living, where you have lived in the past, how you cared for previous homes, and what you enjoy doing in your spare time. It’s also wise to add “why” you want to rent this specific property and how you will respect the coveted address as if it were your own!

A personalized letter has no downside – if anything, it will help you stand out! Who doesn’t appreciate someone going the extra mile?

5/ Update Your Social Media (no Landlord needs to see your recent trip to Cancun)

Landlords will often dive deeper into your social media pages (don’t underestimate this)! You can quickly learn about Tenant prospects snooping through their Instagram and TikTok accounts. Sometimes you discover too much!

So make sure you do a general social clean-up and update any public profiles you may have.

If you use LinkedIn, ensure it’s current and matches the information submitted about your employment history. Any discrepancies could create a red flag for a Landlord and their agent.

It makes logical sense, right?

Now, Are you Ready for Some Good News?

It costs you nothing to use a rental agent to help you find your rental property in Toronto. Your future Landlord covers all commissions owing. So, as a tenant, there are no service fees. How awesome is that?

What Are the Benefits of a Rental Agent for Tenants?

As a prospective tenant, you will have the benefit of using a full-service realtor to guide you through the process, including:

  • Understanding your wants and needs – for example, what are your location, parking requirements, pets, bedroom count, etc.?
  • Sourcing potential properties that meet your requirements
  • Booking appointments to view homes or condos that are of interest.
  • Flagging the pros and cons of various features when previewing
  • Narrowing down your search quickly as the Toronto rental market moves quickly
  • Organize your rental package before offering on a space – for example, letter of employment, credit score etc.
  • Looking out for your best interests as a tenant when reviewing and signing your Rental Agreement
  • Explaining the terms and conditions of your Rental Agreement so you understand what your responsibilities are
  • Ensuring that your deposit, monthly rental cheques, tenant insurance, utilities and the key exchange are organized in advance of possession
  • Walking through the property on the closing date ensures your new home is in good condition and any damage is documented in advance.
  • Coordinating an introduction with your future Landlord so you know who to reach out to
  • Staying in touch with you through your rental term to ensure you are content and that things are running smoothly

To learn more about working with a rental agent, browse our recent article here.

Searching for properties on the web can be easy, but there are many challenges you may face along the way – especially in this fiercely competitive market.

We at Fox Marin are here to guide you on your rental journey; we have our client’s best interest in mind, are here to advocate on your behalf, and will help you beat out the competition.

If you’re interested in scheduling a leasing consultation, click here to get started with our online Leasing Questionnaire!

This article was written by Susan Wen. Immersing herself in different sectors of design, architecture and the client experience from a young age, it was clear to Susan that the real estate industry was where she belonged! From day one, it was important for Susan to understand the multifaceted nature of the real estate business, including dealing with complex administration paperwork, expert negotiation in a multiple offer scenario or various clients with different visions, needs and wants!