Toronto Renters Survey: the results are in

More than 2,100 people filled out our inaugural survey. The results reveal the harsh realities of renting in the city


While many tenants struggle with high rents, statistics around specific issues they face are thin.

That’s why in February, NOW launched its inaugural Renters Survey to help quantify the housing crisis – and more than 2,100 Torontonians responded. The results offer a sober snapshot: bidding wars to secure housing and people who occupy the lowest rungs of the economic ladder spending more than half of their monthly income on rent.

How much rent do you pay individually per month?

Less than $800 – 13%

$800-$1,200 – 35%

$1,200-$1,800 – 32%

$1,800-$2,600 – 16%

$2,600-$3,700 – 3%

$3,700 – 1%

38% –  The average percentage of their monthly income that Torontonians spend on rent each month.

54% –  The average percentage that Torontonians who make less than $35,000 a year spend on rent each month.

What kind of building do you live in?

Apartment – 46%

Unit within a house – 27%

Condo – 14%

Entire house – 5%

Room within a shared unit – 5%

Other – 4% (including coach house, “sofa in living room of one-bedroom”, co-op, rooming house) 

Renter Survey income

Who do you live with?

I live alone – 38% 

With a partner – 33%

With roommates – 16%

With family – 11%

Other – 1%

Have you ever had a problem with pests?

Yes – 44%

No – 55%

What type of pests?

*Respondents selected all that applied

Mice – 51%

Cockroaches – 50%

Ants – 32%

Bed bugs – 24%

Raccoons – 16%

Rats – 9%

Other – 13% (Beetles, squirrels, skunks, bats)

Have you considered moving to a less expensive city?

Yes – 64%

No – 36%

Have you ever been in a bidding war or offered a landlord more money to secure a rental?

Yes – 24%

No – 76%

Have you ever been evicted or forced to move out by your landlord?

Yes – 27%

No – 73%

What was the reason given by your landlord?

*Respondents selected all that applied

Personal-use eviction – 57%

Landlord sold the property – 33%

Major renovations – 20%

Violated your lease agreement – 7%

Other – 9%

Have you ever considered buying a home in Toronto?

No, I’ll never be able to afford a home in Toronto – 62%

Yes, if I get a major windfall – 20%

Yes, in less than five years – 7%

Yes, in 5+ years – 6%

Yes, in 10+ years – 5%

Have you ever filed a complaint with the Landlord and Tenant Board?

Yes – 18.3%

No – 81.7%

What was the reason?

Need for major repairs/maintenance issues – 37%

Above-guideline rent increase – 20%

Pests – 12%

Landlord harassment – 9%

Personal-use eviction – 8%

Illegal eviction (no reason stated) – 6%

Landlord illegally entered unit – 6%

Renoviction – 5%

Noise/disturbance from neighbour – 5%

Have you ever lived somewhere temporarily while searching for a long-term rental?

Yes – 45%

No – 55%

Where did you stay?

Friend or family member’s home – 83%

Airbnb – 11%

Hotel – 7%

Shelter – 5%

Other – 15% (including short-term rentals, sublets, hostels, rooming houses and homeless)

Motel. And I also lived secretly in the back of a store where the owner thought I was just leaving my stuff temporarily. I would sneak in late at night to sleep, then wake up early and leave before the store opened.”

How long did it take to find your current place? 

Two weeks-one month – 30%

One-two months – 25%

Three-plus months – 15%

Less than two weeks – 14%

Two-three months – 13%

Other – 5%

Has your landlord ever applied for an above-guideline rent increase?

Yes – 31.5%

No – 68.5%

In your opinion, what are the biggest issues facing tenants today? 

“High rent for poor living conditions” 

“Expensive rent. I want to move to an apartment but can’t afford it so we have to stay in a basement”

“Nowhere to go if evicted, renovicted or [the building] is demolished for condos. If I have to leave my current place, I cannot afford to pay two-and-half times more rent” 

“Above guideline increases for things that should be routine part of doing business”

“Lack of rent control on new buildings”

“Landlords want long-term tenants out to raise rent and this creates unstable environment for tenants with no intentions to move. Landlords will do anything to get them out”

“If you have lived somewhere for more than three years, you feel like you can’t ever move because a comparable or slightly better unit now costs nearly double”

“Lack of [vacancy] rent control. My last apartment was $1450 per month, which I thought was a rip-off at that. I gave notice and the landlord re-listed the place at $2000/month, and found somebody”

“Lack of affordable housing and lack of purpose built rentals compounded by developers only building “luxury condos” even though regular people need regular places to live”

“Paying sky high rates for a shoe box”

“NIMBY-ism on supply side. Allow higher density housing in downtown where transit exists. Allow creative use of existing real estate, i.e. laneway housing, more 3-6 story developments in traditional neighbourhoods”

“Tenants competing with short term rentals like Airbnb”

“Cost and availability of rentals. I am paying $1,700 for a basement rental without windows. It’s insane”

“Rent is exorbitant Only thing affordable is with clueless mom and pop landlords”

“As a growing city that attracts talent with higher incomes, those with higher incomes outbid the lower to lower-middle income earners which inflates prices. We don’t have enough affordable housing in Toronto”

“Insecurity. With the increase of “renovictions” or “my family member is moving in”-type shady evictions, tenants are loathe to complain about any subpar living condition, because simply having to move means one’s monthly rent will jump by several hundred dollars” 

@SamEdwardsTO

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *