The Chase: A 35-year-old cultural director needs a dog-friendly apartment so she can move out of her parents’ house

The Chase: A 35-year-old cultural director needs a dog-friendly apartment so she can move out of her parents’ house

The renter: Nidhi Khanna, 35, the managing director at Daniels Spectrum, a cultural hub in Regent Park.

The story: Nidhi lost her job at a healthcare company in 2013 after the business folded, so she moved in with her parents at Bathurst and Lawrence. It was a happy arrangement, but, after getting back on her feet, she wanted her own place again. She was attracted to Queen West, between Ossington and Dufferin, because she has friends in the neighbourhood. She hoped to find a one-bedroom apartment in a house with character, for no more than $1,300 per month—and it would have to be a place where Xena, her Boston terrier, would be welcome. Condos were out of the question: she’d heard horror stories about living in party buildings, and she had no desire to fight for the elevator in the morning.

Thanks to her parental living arrangement, Nidhi didn’t have to find an apartment by any specific date. She searched online while her friend, real estate agent Alexandra Cote, scoped out listings that didn’t land on Craigslist and Kijiji.

Option 1

A one-bedroom apartment in a house near Sorauren and Queen, advertised for $1,300 per month

Nidhi found this apartment, at the border of Roncesvalles and Parkdale, online. When she arrived at the viewing, she was surprised to learn that she was one of about 20 people interested in the place. It had heated floors in the bathroom, and Nidhi liked the wood panelling and hardwood flooring. But the parlour area by the front window was tiny—too tight for a loveseat, let alone a couch. Still, she told the landlord she might be interested and that she’d follow up. When she called the next morning, she learned that the apartment was already rented to someone who’d showed up with $1,300 cash in hand.

Option 2

A one-bedroom apartment near Runnymede and Annette, advertised for $1,350 per month (plus utilities)

Alexandra brought Nidhi to the Junction to visit this apartment. It wasn’t in her ideal neighbourhood, but it was noticeably more spacious than the Sorauren apartment. When Nidhi walked into the living room, she immediately noticed the non-functional fireplace, which she thought was a nice aesthetic touch. Upon closer inspection, she found the layout to be peculiar. The bedroom was in the middle of the apartment, and the kitchen was tucked in the back of the house. Nidhi imagined throwing a dinner party and having to ask her guests to walk through her bedroom. She decided to pass when she found out that, despite what the listing advertised, there was no laundry on-site.

The choice

A two-bedroom apartment in a house near Dufferin and Queen, for $1,575 per month

Nidhi first visited this two-bedroom apartment in Little Portugal in May, and she checked it out twice more in June. The ground-level unit came with on-site laundry, a large bay window in the bedroom, and a backyard for Xena to run around in. But Nidhi was on the fence about the price, which was nearly $300 more than she hoped to pay, and she wondered why the apartment had been on the market for weeks. Alexandra suggested that the reason may have had something to do with the tiny second bedroom, which was barely big enough for a crib. Alexandra negotiated a lease with all-inclusive rent, so there wouldn’t be any nasty hydro bill surprises. Sold on the deal, Nidhi took over the apartment in August. She has since turned the second bedroom into what she calls her “room of requirement,” where she stores her odds and ends and has set up a little desk to write. To help absorb the extra cost of the rent, she cancelled her gym membership and has taken up running outdoors.

Here’s the exterior of the house:


The foyer pulls double duty as a lounging space:


The kitchen:


The spare bedroom:


And here’s Xena:


The Hunt