Now that you’ve made the decision to live off-campus rather than living in residence on-campus, you may be wondering where to begin your search. Wherever you decide to live, remember that it will be your home for the next eight to twelve months, or longer. Shop around. Be selective. You don’t have to settle for cramped or low quality housing. Take the time to look around and find something that makes you feel comfortable.
While there is always housing being advertised, it might take you some time to find a place that fits your criteria. It's a good idea to start your search at approximately four weeks before your target move-in date so that you won't be pressured to accept housing that you are unsatisfied with. Make a list of the criteria that you are looking for. This will help cut down the number of postings you will have to sort through and will help you avoid unnecessary site visits.
Rent costs vary according to a number of factors, including size, location, and type (for example, basement apartment vs. high rise condo). Below are average costs based on housing advertised on the University of Toronto's Off Campus Housing listings site from May 2020 - May 2021
|Private accomodations||Bachelor or Studio||$915|
|3 Bedroom +||
In addition to rent, there are additional costs of off-campus living to be considered. For budgeting purposes, you should also think about tuition and school expenses, food, entertainment, shopping, gifts, toiletries, and other miscellaneous items.
- Utilities: $50 - $100/month
- Phone & Internet: $50 - $150/month
- Public Transportation (TTC pass) - $128.15/month (A limited amount of discounted passes are available at the SCSU office each month.)
- Tenant Insurance - $300/year
- Costs associated with owning or renting a vehicle (parking, fuel, maintenance, insurance)
Do you want to be able to walk to U of T Scarborough, downtown, or somewhere in between? While housing in Scarborough is typically less expensive, some students prefer living in the downtown area and commuting further. What’s more important to you? Would you rather have a short commute and be right next to campus, or live closer to downtown and have a longer commute?
How will you be getting to school? If planning on taking the TTC, you might want to find housing close to a subway or RT station, or near a bus or street car stop. If you are planning on driving to school, you would want to look for housing that includes parking.
Do you want to live with other people, or would you prefer living alone? If you are new to the city, having roommates can be beneficial to help you get oriented and learn more about the area. While it is often exciting to live with people you know, many housemates-to-be overlook the importance of discussing needs and expectations prior to moving in. You should consider discussing items such as cleaning schedules and responsibilities, sharing items in the unit, study habits, sleep patterns, guests, and noise expectations. Try to have everyone meet each other, and make sure that everyone is comfortable. Communication and flexibility are key for successful housemate relations.
Regardless of how well you know your housemates, it’s a good idea for everyone to put down all agreements in writing with signatures at the bottom. You may want to create this housemate agreement form shortly after all parties have moved in, as it may take a few weeks to identify potential areas of conflict. Download the template housemate agreement form so you can adapt to fit your own particular needs and agreements. It is also a good idea to agree upon a timeframe to revisit the agreement and create amendments as need be.
One of the most crucial elements of maintaining good housemate relations is regular and open communication. If you are all too busy to regularly touch base on issues, schedule times to sit down and talk. It is also a good idea to discuss differences in communication styles, as people do communicate differently.
While leaving notes or messages on whiteboards might appear to be an easy solution with no confrontation, the absence of tone and body language can easily create misunderstandings and lead to passive aggressiveness.
Type of Accommodation
The two most common types of accommodation are living in an apartment, and living in a house. Often, if living in a house you will be renting one room and will be sharing the common areas (kitchen, bathrooms, living room). Sometimes accommodations in a house are limited to just the basement area, which may have less natural light. Apartments are usually in high or low-rise buildings with many other tenants. They are usually professionally managed where as houses are typically managed by their owners.
Will you be looking to buy your own furniture, or would you rather live in housing that is already furnished? Living in a furnished house can provide some convenience and savings, but you will likely be limited to the provided furniture.
Some housing will have a washer and dryer available in the unit, while others will not. For those without, you will have to find a public Laundromat in the area.