• Tue. Nov 28th, 2023

    Toronto’s Rental Market: Exploring Desperate Measures to Afford Housing

    ByJames Forsyth

    Nov 20, 2023
    Toronto’s Rental Market: Exploring Desperate Measures to Afford Housing

    Toronto’s rental market has reached unprecedented levels of chaos, exemplified by a recent eye-opening listing for half a bed priced at $655 ($900 Canadian). This alarming situation sheds light on the extreme measures people are resorting to in order to secure housing in the city.

    Screenshots obtained by CTV News Toronto revealed a jaw-dropping Facebook Marketplace post from January, seeking an “easy-going FEMALE” roommate to share a queen-size bed in a shared bedroom. The ad, which has since been removed, demanded an upfront payment of $1,900, including the first and last month’s rent, along with an extra $100 for the key fob.

    Real estate agent Anya Ettinger, who brought attention to this absurd listing on TikTok, expressed her disbelief and highlighted the sad reality of Toronto’s real estate market. Ettinger, with her extensive industry experience, stated that such listings were unprecedented, demonstrating the dire lengths people are willing to go to secure housing in the city.

    While this particular listing showcases the extreme end of the spectrum, Toronto’s rental market remains highly unaffordable. According to a recent Rentals.ca report, the average rent still stands at a staggering $2,908 per month. This begs the question: Is renting a bed becoming the new norm in Toronto, and will this trend spread to other cities, such as New York City, where rents are notoriously high?

    Cassandra Fafalios, a legal expert, highlighted the murky legality of such arrangements, emphasizing the absence of clear definitions for “occupant” or “roommate” under the Residential Tenancies Act. As a result, individuals in these arrangements often find themselves in a legal gray area, lacking rights and protections.

    Douglas Kwan, director of advocacy and legal services at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, emphasized the potential health and safety risks associated with these desperate living situations. He urged individuals to exercise due diligence, comparing the process to a job interview.

    With Toronto’s rental market in disarray and New York City experiencing its own affordability crisis, it becomes evident that affordable and adequate housing is increasingly out of reach for many individuals. Urgent action and innovative solutions are required to address this pressing issue and ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.


    Is renting a bed becoming a common practice in Toronto?
    While the recent listing for half a bed attracted attention, it is not yet a common practice in Toronto. However, the extreme unaffordability of the rental market is forcing some individuals to consider such desperate measures.

    What are the legal implications of renting a bed or a shared space in Toronto?
    The legal implications are complex and uncertain. The Residential Tenancies Act, which governs landlord and tenant relationships, does not provide clear definitions for occupants or roommates. As a result, individuals in such arrangements may lack legal protection and find themselves in a legal gray area.

    What are the potential health and safety risks associated with these desperate living situations?
    Renting a bed or sharing a space with limited privacy poses potential health and safety risks. These living arrangements may lack proper ventilation, sanitation, and fire safety measures. It is crucial for individuals to exercise due diligence and prioritize their well-being when considering such options.

    Is the housing affordability crisis limited to Toronto, or is it prevalent in other cities as well?
    The housing affordability crisis extends beyond Toronto and is prevalent in many cities, including New York City. High rents and a lack of affordable options have left millions of households facing the burden of spending a significant portion of their income on rent, making it increasingly challenging to achieve financial stability.