How a pair of 20-somethings just barely managed to find an affordable downtown apartment
The renters: Danielle Gerritse, a 27-year-old recent university graduate, and her boyfriend, Kyle Collins, a 24-year-old freelance audio engineer and lead guitarist of a band called The Luminary.
The story: Originally from Saskatoon, Danielle moved to London, Ontario, to attend Western University. In January, while she was still a student there, she met Kyle, a native Londoner. This summer, they decided to move in together. They wanted a one-bedroom apartment with a den—ideally with some character and located in a neighbourhood close to downtown, with plenty of access to public transit. While Danielle attended postgraduate classes at Humber College, Kyle logged many hours on Kijiji, searching for a place. “It was a nightmare,” Danielle says.
Navy Wharf (near Spadina and Front), advertised for $1,800 per month, plus hydro
This 550-square-foot unit was advertised as a one-bedroom plus den, but the den was more of a glorified walk-in closet. There was just one other closet, practically no room for dressers or other portable storage, and the balcony seemed like it could accommodate only one chair. They figured they could do better, so they kept looking.
Bruyeres Mews (near Lake Shore and Bathurst), advertised for $1,800 per month, plus hydro
This apartment had a nice, open layout, but it was hard to appreciate the floor plan because the existing tenant’s housekeeping habits were abysmal. They couldn’t even set foot in the walk-in closet because it was jammed with possessions. “It was hard to picture us living there, and we weren’t guaranteed it would be clean when we moved in,” Danielle says. The large (but filthy) balcony wasn’t enough to sway them. And then there was the view: a hole in the ground where a new condo tower would be under construction for the next two years. They moved on.
Yonge Street (near Davenport), $1,800 per month
This unit, in a 1974 condo building, had an abundance of large windows with a view of the city’s skyline and the lush trees of the Don Valley. That, plus the open floor plan, was enough to persuade them to put down a deposit. Over the next two days, there were several other applications from interested renters. In the turmoil, the unit’s management company retracted a number of upgrades and amenities that were originally supposed to be included with the monthly rent, like internet, a gym membership and a locker. Danielle and Kyle, figuring they’d have trouble finding a comparable place for the same price, decided to stick it out. They got the place, and made the move in July.
The living area has large windows:
Here’s the kitchen:
There’s a little space for an office:
And here’s the bedroom: