The information on this page is ONLY for students coming to the University of Toronto through the Centre for International Experience exchange program.

Contents

Living in Toronto Learn about renting in the city
U of T residences Eligibility considerations for exchange students
Off-campus housing Tools and resources to help you find a place to live in Toronto
Renting guidance What you should know while you search

Living in Toronto

Finding housing in Toronto can be a big challenge for exchange students. The rental market is expensive, competitive and limited in short-term options. This is a difficult reality, but you can be strategic in making decisions about where to live. Below you’ll find housing options and resources to find safe and affordable housing.

Learn estimated living costs and check out the U of T Financial Planning Calculator to budget accurately for the year.

U of T residences

The vast majority of exchange students at the University of Toronto do not live in residence. 

St. George (downtown Toronto) and University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) exchange students ARE NOT guaranteed residence, but may apply for the UTM or St. George residences’ waitlists.

University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) exchange students ARE guaranteed residence, provided your application and deposit are submitted on time. Application details and deadlines will be noted in your admission package.

If you wish to apply for residence, start by exploring your options. Each campus has their own distinct residential communities and styles of residential living such as dormitory residence halls, townhouses or apartment suites.

Please note: If you are on a residence waitlist, the chance of receiving a residence offer by the start of September is very low. However, some residences may have by the start of the winter term in January. You may wish to add yourself to the waitlists if you are planning to start at U of T in the winter term and would like to stay in residence.

Off-campus housing

Harrington Housing*

Harrington Housing offers furnished rentals to students on a short-term or long-term basis. Most of their set-ups involve renting a room (private or shared) within a shared apartment. All key items are provided: bed, desk, couch, TV, dining table, kitchen tools (cutlery, pots, pans) and even bedsheets. Many exchange students have rented with them and reported high satisfaction. 

Harrington Housing has beds available for September 1 at their Bloor & Sherbourne location (20-min walk to the downtown Toronto St George campus). Rates are ~$1,300/month. 

To apply, go to their website using a laptop or computer browser window. In the top right corner, click the green Apply Now button. You can select a room type ("shared room" is most affordable) and provide some personal details. 

All University of Toronto students receive a 15% discount.

*The University assumes no responsibility in regard to any agreements entered into by students/residents with these residences, and makes no representations or warranties and assumes no responsibility for the conditions of services provided at these residences. 

Homadorma*

Homadorma is a homestay service, in which a student lives with a family who has a home somewhere in Toronto and pays rent to them directly. The host family sets their prices, which typically includes a furnished private bedroom along with standard amenities: utilities, Wi-Fi, a private or shared bathroom, and a shared common space. Homestays may also include meals. Homadorma is a platform that connects students to families interested in offering homestay options. 

To browse units close to the University of Toronto, sort by "University/College" instead of "City" in the search bar and type "University of Toronto". Select your campus (most exchange students will be “Downtown – St George”). Varying units are available, typically around the $1,000 CAD mark, with some as low as $750 CAD/month. 

*The University assumes no responsibility in regard to any agreements entered into by students/residents with these residences, and makes no representations or warranties and assumes no responsibility for the conditions of services provided at these residences.

University of Toronto Housing Finder 

You can also search for apartments on your own using the official University of Toronto Housing Finder property-listing website. There are a variety of housing options posted. Some are intended for long-term housing only, but many listings are sublets or short-term rentals posted by landlords who are open to signing short-term leases. Independent landlords (private homeowners or tenants) are likely to be more flexible than property-management buildings or student housing buildings. 

Apartment units with September 1 lease start dates usually begin appearing in June, with the majority appearing mid-July to the end of August. The Toronto housing market is competitive and properties move quickly, so it is important to be proactive in checking daily and contacting landlords immediately.
Student housing buildings

There are several student housing buildings in Toronto that are designed to offer students an experience similar to living in residence. Student-housing buildings may offer you a short-term lease along with basic furniture. As they are not owned or operated by the University of Toronto, you will need to research them and contact them on your own.

The two most popular buildings for short-term (4 month) leases are Tartu* and Neill-Wycik*. They fill up quickly so we recommend contacting them as soon as you have determined your exchange dates to join their waiting list. 

There are other buildings which do not offer specialized short-term housing but may be able to assist you with taking over a current resident's lease or sublet. They are: St. Vladmir’s*, Campus Common*, Parkside*, CampusOne*, and Campus Co-Op*.

*The University assumes no responsibility in regard to any agreements entered into by students/residents with these residences, and makes no representations or warranties and assumes no responsibility for the conditions of services provided at these residences.

Renting guidance

Here are some important things to keep in mind while you search for housing:

1. Understand Toronto's housing market:

Toronto's rental market is both highly competitive and expensive, so compromise will be necessary to separate your deal-breakers from your nice-to-have amenities. Flexibility is essential—there are many variables (price, location, distance from transit, having roommates and in-building amenities) but only some of them can take priority. 

2. Read:

Review housing search fundamentals to understand what's involved in securing a place to live in Toronto—it's a multi-step process! Don’t forget to review common forms and documents involved with rentals. 

3. View:

We strongly encourage all students to view units in person before agreeing to rent. If you are unable to view, we suggest that you either rent with an established property-management building such as one listed above, or arrive in Toronto a week prior to September 1 and stay in temporary housing while you visit potential rentals in person.

4. Scams:

Like any major city, Toronto's property listing websites (Places4Students, Padmapper, Kijiji) may have scams posted. Learn how to avoid getting scammed online. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it's likely a scam. 

5. Fees:

In the Canadian province of Ontario, landlords are only allowed to ask for first and last month's rent up front. They cannot charge a holding fee, application fee, security deposit or any other kind of charge. Never pay any money in advance and only pay your first and last month's rent at the time of signing your lease and getting your keys. This may differ if you choose to live in a student-residence.

6. Leases:

In 2018, Ontario released a new standardized lease form that all landlords must use. Make sure to insist on signing this paper agreement and getting a signed copy for your records.

7. Confirm your commute:

Google Maps can be helpful to check the distance of each apartment to campus. For students living in downtown Toronto, you can use the University of Toronto address as a reference point on campus, as your classes will be within a 10-minute walk of this location. Search within 3kms of campus to keep your walk within 30 minutes.

You may wish to get a sense of Toronto's varied neighbourhoods when you are searching. The University of Toronto St. George campus is in the Annex area. Many of our students find affordable rentals in this area, as well as in the Baldwin Village, Chinatown, Kensington Market, Church-Wellesley Village, Cabbagetown and St. James Town neighbourhoods. 

Another option is to try living farther from downtown but close to a subway stop, because you can likely get a better deal on rent and still have a reasonable commute. For reference, the University of Toronto St. George campus is close to St. George Station, as well as Queen’s Park and Museum Stations. 

A large number of University of Toronto students rely on the subway to get from home to campus. This allows you to live as far as Toronto’s outer districts of Etobicoke, Scarborough, or North York, which are significantly farther away from campus but still ~40 minutes by subway, provided you live close to the station. 

You can get a discounted student metropass fare through the Toronto Transit Commission. Learn more about the Presto card system that Toronto uses for public transportation.

Questions?

If you have any questions about off-campus housing, don't hesitate to email Housing Services.

Remember, Housing Services is a resource for students dealing with any housing issues, not just finding a place. Once you arrive if you have concerns about your housing or experience any issues, you can reach out to Housing Services for support