The Chase: A couple ditches their housemate and goes in search of a sub-$2,000 rental condo

The Chase: A couple ditches their housemate and goes in search of a sub-$2,000 rental condo

Jack Hutton and Zohair Khan.

The renters: Zohair Khan, a 26-year-old producer at Corus Media, and his boyfriend, Jack Hutton, a 29-year-old visual merchandiser at Lululemon.

The story: Zohair and Jack were living with a third housemate in a two-bedroom apartment in Bloorcourt, where they each paid $560 in rent. The location was a 30-second walk to Ossington subway station, which was convenient. But the unfashionable laminate floors and old kitchen appliances were a turnoff, and Zohair had to drive to get to his gym. In August, the two said farewell to their housemate, gave their notice and started searching for an apartment for September—preferably a downtown condo with access to a gym, parking and a concierge, all for $2,000 or less. They figured they could live with a one-bedroom place. With only three weeks before they had to move, they couldn’t afford to be picky.

Option 1

A one-bedroom apartment on Dundas Street East (near Church), advertised for $1,750 per month

This newly built condo near Ryerson University was in the ideal location, roughly equidistant from both Zohair and Jack’s workplaces. But, when they walked inside, everything in the apartment seemed curiously small, as if it had all been shrunk to fit the space. The ceilings seemed low, the hallways too narrow and the bedroom could barely fit a double bed. Even so, they put in an application. In the few days it took for the landlord’s agent to call them back, they had second thoughts. They were offered the apartment, but they declined.

Option 2

A one-bedroom apartment on Charles Street (near Yonge and Bloor), advertised for $1,800 per month

An agent led Zohair and Jack to this unit in a 56-storey tower. The building had a rooftop pool, parking and a tiny gym. While the amenities were ideal, the apartment itself was showing signs of age: a window in the living room was cracked, the floors were scratched and the bedroom was cordoned off from the living area with an awkward glass sliding door. They figured they could invest in some minor renovations, though, so they submitted an application—but they were outbid by someone who offered $200 per month more.

The choice

A one-bedroom apartment on Dan Leckie Way (near Bathurst and Lake Shore), advertised for $1,800 per month

Like many condo hunters, Zohair and Jack eventually found their way to CityPlace. There were plenty of apartments available. They saw units in four buildings before finding this one, on the southern edge of the neighbourhood. The unit had floor-to-ceiling windows with lake views, a small den and a balcony with enough space for a patio set. After a two-minute viewing, they knew they wanted it, so they sweetened their application by offering $50 more per month. The gesture was small, but it worked. They were able to move in shortly afterward, despite neighbourhood-wide rolling blackouts that temporarily halted the building’s elevators. They’ve since converted the den into a walk-in closet.

The building is on the south end of CityPlace:

Here’s the living room:

The dining area:

And the bedroom, with sweet rope lights:

The balcony:

The Hunt