When planning for exchange at Ryerson University, finding appropriate living arrangements can often be a challenge. As you start your search, there are many factors to consider such as cost of living, location, rental agreements, etc.
Photo Credit: Vilja Keskimaki, 2016/2017 Ryerson Inbound Exchange Student
Below are some search avenues that may be helpful:
1. Student-residence building: There are 5 student housing buildings close to Ryerson campus that you may be interested in living in, and may offer you a short-term lease along with basic furniture. As they are not owned or operated by Ryerson, you will need to do your research on them and contact them on your own. They are called: Neill-Wycik, Campus Common, Tartu College, Parkside Residence, and CampusOne.
2. Our partner Places4Students is an excellent resource, as property listings are posted regularly. You can use the Ryerson campus postal code to sign up for a Places4Students account: M5B 2K3.
Look for a sublet via Places4Students. A sublet is a short-term rental where you are renting from a tenant who is absent for a period of time (such as going on exchange themselves, or taking a co-op job in another city). Sublets are ideal because they are almost always furnished, and people looking to sublet out their unit may be willing to cover the cost of your internet or hydro bills in order to get their unit rented.
Look for a short-term lease via Places4Students. A short-term rental is simply a lease with a shorter duration than 12 months, where you are directly renting from a landlord. Short-term rentals are not too common in Toronto (most Toronto leases are 1-year), but you may find some if you search a “room for rent in a shared house” or a furnished basement apartment
3. Our partner StayBillety is another great resource for short-term stays. We encourage you to check out StayBillety and use the code RAMS to book a short-term stay with a like-minded host. StayBillety operates similarly to AirBnB, but is dedicated to connecting guests with hosts who have shared interests, and you can book a longer-term stay than a typical weekend AirBnB booking.
4. Consider a Homestay. This option involves living with a family who has a home in Toronto, and paying rent to them directly. Many of these families offer ESL support and their homes will be a comfortable and safe environment during your stay in Canada.
5. You may also want to look at other websites such as Kijiji for postings. You can reduce the distance radius to 3km to find a place that is under 30 minutes walk to campus (1km = about 10 minutes walking).
We also suggest using 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 your classes will be within a 5-minute walk of this building.
Prepare against scams
It is very important that you view a unit before agreeing to a lease. Housing scams are unfortunately common in large cities, and particularly at this time of year. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We strongly encourage you to view any apartment before you sign a lease; make sure to google 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/damage deposit; they can ask for first and last month’s rent, as well as 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.
This may mean you have to come to Toronto a week earlier and stay in a hotel or hostel (you can find one via this list of temporary accommodations), and attend viewings in person before agreeing to sign a lease.