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Toronto apartments for rent

Rental crunch hits students

Toronto Sun - August 15, 1999
by Moira MacDonald


College students are scrambling for affordable Toronto apartments this fall due to rising rents and a low vacancy rate.

"People are at their wit's end," said Paul Kutasi, a student spokesman at the University of Toronto. "I just found a place recently after looking for four months."


DROPOUT FEARS

Some students may have to drop out because of the shortage. "It is a serious concern," said Victoria Austin, manager of U of T's off-campus housing office.

The U of T office has seen monthly rents jump $100-$500 since rent controls were loosened last summer.

The office lists rentals that tend to be cheaper than those in newspaper classified ads.

UofT's housing office normally has about 500 listings in July, the peak of the house-hunting season for students.

This year those listings shrunk to just 370. The city's vacancy rate is 0.9%.

"It's a pretty significant decrease," Austin said.

"We have more students coming to the service because they're not able to afford the rents in the newspaper. So we have increased demand and decreased supply."

"Rental prices have really gone up," said Jean Wilson, an assistant at George Brown College's housing office. "It's really incredible."

The housing pinch is also being felt on campuses.


FULL HOUSE

York University's 3,517 residence spots have already been snapped up.

"This is the first time we've been this full this early," said York spokesman Sine McKinnon.

Student housing is a little better for York students in the north Toronto area. "We are busy but the availability is there," said Anne Marie Ridley of York's off-campus housing service.

U of T students are being urged to wear more business-like attire instead of shorts and T-shirts when meeting landlords and to bring bank statements to show they're good for the rent.


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