This guy put himself on a movie poster to get landlords to notice him—and it worked

This guy put himself on a movie poster to get landlords to notice him—and it worked

Huy’s poster. (Click to see it full size.)

With the vacancy rate for rental homes in the Toronto area hovering near one per cent, finding an apartment in the city is often a masochistic enterprise, involving weeks of fruitless emailing and meeting with landlords. Huy Do, a 27-year-old downtown resident, decided to try a different approach when he embarked on his latest apartment search: rather than spend hours responding to online ads for rental units, he’d make his own advertisement. His product? Huy Do, the ideal tenant.

To get the point across, he created a mock poster for a nonexistent movie called The Hunt for an Apartment, starring himself. The poster itemizes all his requirements: a one-bedroom unit somewhere near the downtown core, for $1,300 per month, and with a lease beginning on June 1. In place of the usual assortment of film-fest accolades and glowing pull-quotes from critics, the poster talks about Huy’s steady job as a compensation analyst for a big telecom, and it gloats (without evidence, but that’s what references are for) about his respectful and likeable nature. “The poster idea came from me watching a lot of movies,” he said. “Looking for an apartment can be full of drama and suspense. When someone looks at a movie poster, they might be able to empathize and feel those emotions.”

Huy is no newcomer to the Toronto rental market. His current apartment is a two-bedroom CityPlace condo that he shares with four other people. “Two people live in the master bedroom,” he said. “One person lives in the second bedroom. One person lives in the living room, and then I live in the den area. I’ve been living like that for the past three years. There’s no window or anything.” His $600-per-month rent allowed him to pay off his student loans and save some money, but now he’s hoping to find someplace with more elbow room.

A storage area in Huy’s current living space. Photograph by Huy Do

After creating the movie poster last week, he spread it around online as much as possible. “I posted it on a lot of Facebook groups. I posted it on my own Facebook. I posted it on Instagram, Twitter, Kijiji, Reddit—anywhere I could post without having to pay money,” he said. It was a matter of hours before he got his first response from a potential landlord, and now, a few days later, he’s getting ready to sign a lease. The success has been so overwhelming that he has decided not to release phase two of his self-marketing scheme: a parody song about apartment hunting set to the tune of “Closer,” by the Chainsmokers.

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The Hunt