The Chase: A Vancouver couple rent a Toronto apartment, sight unseen
The renters: Erin Loyst, a 34-year-old operations professional for Tiffany & Co., and her partner, Manalto Hijmans, a 35-year-old independent contractor.
The story: Erin moved from Toronto to Vancouver for work in 2013. Shortly afterward, she met Manalto, who is originally from South Africa. They enjoyed living on the west coast, but figured Toronto had better career opportunities and a slightly less insane housing market. While still living in Vancouver, they scoured Craigslist and ViewIt for a one-bedroom, pet-friendly condo, preferably in the Yonge and Eglinton area, or near the downtown lakeshore. Their budget was $1,500—a bargain price compared to the rents they were used to seeing in B.C. A friend in Toronto agreed to be their cheque-pusher if anything caught their fancy.
A one-bedroom on Rosehill Avenue (near Yonge and St. Clair), advertised for $1,500 per month
This unit in a Rosedale apartment building was within their budget, but fell short almost everywhere else. It came with a parking space, but no other amenities, and the kitchen’s honey-oak cabinetry and laminate countertops looked like they’d been installed in 1992. Hoping for more modern digs, they kept looking.
A one-bedroom on Queen’s Quay, advertised for $1,500 per month
Erin and Manalto liked this place’s granite kitchen countertops and new cabinetry. But the mountain of documentation required from them to apply—including reference letters from Toronto employers they didn’t yet have—forced them to move on.
A one-bedroom on Erskine Avenue (near Yonge and Eglinton), for $1,332 per month
A Google search for “Yonge and Eglinton apartment” brought them to this building’s website, which offered an intriguing promotion: discounted rent of $1,332 per month for a one-bedroom high-rise apartment (with a spacious patio) while the building underwent renovations. After nine months, the rent would be bumped to $1,499 per month. They put together an application and had their Toronto friend drop off a deposit to seal the deal. And then, nothing. They didn’t hear back from the property manager for two weeks. When it came time for their cross-Canada drive to Toronto, they still didn’t have confirmation. They packed up the trunk and hoped for the best.
They were camping in Banff when they got the news: their application was denied. Confused and upset, they contacted the building manager, who said the denial had been a mistake. To make up for it, they were offered a similar unit one floor up. With no other choice, they accepted their new home sight unseen. When they arrived in Toronto, though, they were pleasantly surprised. The replacement unit had a smaller patio than the original, but an unexpected walk-in closet made up for the shortfall. Despite their brush with homelessness, Erin said the experience was easier than finding a rental in Vancouver.
Here’s the living room:
And the bedroom: