Looking to rent a place in the city?

Five tips to help you be successful in today’s competitive market


Family getting professional consultation

Many major real estate markets across Canada have seen home sales activity fall over the last four months, as buyers move to the sidelines to reassess their finances and the potential impact of rising interest rates on their budgets. At the same time, thousands of students, as well as hospitality and tourism workers, who moved out of the city during the pandemic are returning full- or part-time to the city, driving them to seek out new living arrangements, often rentals. As a result, a surge in rental demand has emerged amid tight supply conditions, sending rental rates skyrocketing in the greater regions of Toronto and Vancouver.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s recent Rental Market Report, the average cost of rent for one- and two-bedroom apartments reached record levels last quarter, increasing 20% and 15% year-over-year, respectively, surpassing the previous peak in the third quarter of 2019. Transactions were down more than 11% in the second quarter, compared to the same quarter last year. This is due to a significant decrease in the number of listings – which fell almost 30% – not a decrease in demand.1

“Treat your rental application like a job application. In this competitive environment where there could be a dozen other applicants vying for the same property, it’s important to put your best foot forward right away,” said Amrit Walia, sales representative, Royal LePage Signature Realty in Toronto. “Show that you are professional and responsible; be decisive and willing to act quickly; and ensure that you are fully armed with all the necessary documentation before you initiate the application process. With fewer listings to choose from, it is becoming increasingly difficult for renters to get deals done.”

On Canada’s west coast, it’s a similar story. According to a recent Rentals.ca report, the average rent for condo and rental apartments in Vancouver increased nearly 25% year-over year in June.2

“For a landlord, the most important factors when choosing a tenant are finding someone who will take good care of their property and who will pay their rent on time,” said Kevin Axford, REALTOR® and property manager, Royal LePage Sterling in Greater Vancouver. “In today’s market, a renter’s best chance at securing a property is to act swiftly. It’s imperative to be actively searching on a daily basis, and to respond to attractive listings quickly. Properties are being picked up in a matter of days.”


Follow this list of helpful tips to ensure you and your rental application stand out from the rest, and improve your chances of securing a lease on the property you want!


  1. Make a good first impression. If you are meeting with the landlord or their agent, you want to put your best foot forward. Be punctual, be polite and respectful, and look presentable.
  2. Personalize your application. Especially in multiple-offer scenarios, a written letter with a photo of yourself – or better yet… a video – can go a long way in pushing your application to the top of the list.
  3. If you are a student or are not employed full-time, arrange a guarantor to co-sign your application; someone whose income can cover both their and your housing expenses.
    N.B. Typically, listing agents and landlords want to see an annual income equal to 40-times the cost of monthly rent. 
  4. Complete the application honestly and in full (assume all questions listed on an application are mandatory). Ensure all the necessary documentation is organized and accessible, ready to send to the listing agent promptly. This often includes a letter of employment with your name and salary listed, a recommendation letter from your previous landlord, and a full credit report.
  5. Having good credit is important. So is knowing your credit score before you apply. Most listing agents and landlords will request a full credit report, and prefer those from a reputable agency, like Equifax or Borrowell, rather than a bank.