Wanted: Condos For LEASE!


4 minute read

August 15, 2007

Time and time again, I have heard people talk about how soft the rental market is in Toronto.

Tell that to the girl that left her $290/month Waterloo sublet to come and pay $1300/month to live in Toronto!

Or how about my clients that lost three places in three days, and are still scrounging to find a place for September 1st…


When I leased a 1-bedroom unit at 39 Parliament to a client in July for $1300/month, I had no idea that I would soon be using this experience as the benchmark for success.

She had been living in Waterloo as a student for the past few years, and was currently paying $290/month for a summer sublet.

$290 per month?  That’s like ten dollars a day!  That’s less than the worst hotel in the worst dive in Ontario!  “Only ten dollars a day”…..I feel like I’m signing up to sponsor some orphan child that Sally Struthers is hugging on daytime TV…

She came to me asking for a decent condo to lease, with parking, for $900-$1100 per month.  As I always find myself doing, I explained to her the dynamics of the Toronto real estate market, and asked of her that if I tell her how it’s going to work, she will take me at my word.

She did.  And we set out to find a 1-bedroom condo for less than $1400/month.

As is always the case with leases in Toronto, more than half of the places listed on MLS were either leased already, or “temporarily unavailable.”  I often think that shady Realtors list ficticious places so they can solicit calls. In fact, I know this to be the case…

We set out one day after work and looked at six different places (our shortlist was eleven places, but five were “temporarily unavailable), and by the end of the night, 410 Queen’s Quay at $1450 and 39 Parliament at $1400 were the front runners.  Sure enough, the next day I talked to the Realtor about making an offer on 410 Queen’s Quay, and he informed me that it had been leased a week earlier.  “THEN WHY IS IT STILL ON MLS,” I exclaimed.  I’m pretty sure he hung up on me…

We ended up offering $1300 per month on the $1400 unit at 39 Parliament, and after the hardest fought negotiations I’ve ever had on a lease, she got the place for $1300/month.  A 1-bedroom, with parking, all utilities included, in the heart of the Distillery District.

Who knew that this would be as easy as it gets.

My next potential lessees were looking for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom unit for under $2400/month, which is the going rate for a spacious, new, “decent” unit.  We short-listed twelve places, ALL of which were leased by the time they came to Toronto the following week.  We shortlisted another eight places, and with the luck of the Irish, a whopping SIX of them were available.

As soon as they saw The Icon at 250 Wellington, they knew they were home.

They asked me about putting in an offer the next morning, and in one swift motion I turned my car north and headed to my office immediately.  “We are doing this NOW,” I told them.  We offered $2150 on the unit with an asking price of $2200, and I had them provide me with the following items in advance:

  • Credit Check (www.equifax.ca, “Score Power” for $23.95)
  • Employment Letter (position, salary & bonus, term)
  • Ontario Real Estate Association Rental Application

I sent the offer along with these three important items directly to the listing agent’s home fax machine, and he called me back an hour later….to tell me there were THREE offers on the property.

I told him that we were taking this unit, no matter what.  We would pay the full asking price, and I informed him that my clients were the model tenants.  Two girls, non-smokers, exeptional incomes, working long hours and therefore would only be in the unit to sleep and eat breakfast, who are both essentially training to become Nuns…

You have to sell your tenants to the listing agent.  Landlords are VERY weary about who to rent to, and they feel at ease when they know that your tenants are THE tenants for their property.

The listing agent told me that there were two other offers higher than our offer, and higher than the listing price, but they didn’t include any credit checks or references.


My proactive approach had paid off.  Behind door #1 and #2 were two sets of potential tenants who were offering $2200 and $2225, but were complete mysteries.  Behind door #3 were two delightful young girls, with all their paperwork completed, and FULL disclosure as to who they are and what they do.

We got the condo for $2225/month (list price was $2200) because we did our due dilligence in advance.

FOUR offers on a unit to lease.  Who would have ever thought?

I had another set of young ladies come to me last week, with skepticism in their eyes.  I showed them six places, and told them that the 2-bedroom at 39 Parliament (I seem to be there a lot lately) and the 2-bedroom at The Element at 36 Blue Jays Way were both excellent values, and that we should move on them ASAP.

They told me they wanted to sleep on it.

I told them the units would be gone by tomorrow.

They told me that their father says the Toronto rental market is SOFT right now, and that its a buyers market.

“What does your father do for a living?” I asked.  “He’s a public school teacher.”

Apparently, he also acts as a real estate consultant in his spare time…

The next afternoon, they called me to say they’d like to put in an offer on the 2-bedroom at Element for $2100!!  The asking price was $2400…

I leaned back in my chair, a smile on my face, as I had the satisfaction of saying, “Well ladies, that offer wouldn’t fly even IF the unit didn’t get leased yesterday for $2450.  So, yeah.  Oh, and while I’ve got you on the phone, the unit at 39 Parliament is also leased for full asking price.”

There was dead silence on the phone.

What happened next was unbelievable, yet not surprising: she blamed ME for the entire episode.   She surmised that I was somehow in cahoots with the listing agent, and that her father KNEW “this kinda stuff” happened all the time in real estate.

“Best of luck to you, Jennifer,” I said.  “I’d love to stay and chat with you about your significant lack of options at this point, but I need to pack my bags for Mexico.”

It’s kinda overcast today, but this Corona is mighty tasty…

I gotta run now.  The festival is about to start…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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