LIVING IN THE CITY

Downtown Housing

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, OCAD U is at the centre of one of most dynamic and diverse cities in the world. Studios, galleries, museums, start-ups, and more are all just a few blocks away. Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods. Check out the blogTO.com site and you can discover the restaurants, stores and other local businesses that make each one unique.

OCAD U does not have its own student residences, but has many housing partners within the city! As we know there are many new and current students who will be need a place to stay during their studies, we have compiled these housing pages to support you in your search. 

OCAD U staff do not inspect any of the listed homes or housing options, and do not guarantee the accuracy or availability of any information provided by third-party websites. It is your responsibility to judge their suitability and location. OCAD U cannot and does not accept responsibility for housing arrangements made by persons using any of these services.

We have put together some helpful questions for tenants to ask in relation to the pandemic. Before applying or signing any lease, be sure to ask the following:

 

Are housing partners are accepting applications?

Yes! Housing partners are current accepting applications for fall 2021.

Keep in mind that due to the pandemic, housing partners have allowed students to defer their lease agreements from last year to this coming year (2021). This could impact the amount of spaces available to new first year students. This means you should start your search as early as possible if you hope to relocate to Toronto this fall.

When is the deadline to apply for housing with one of OCAD U’s housing partners?

Each housing partner will have their own deadline, but it is important to start the process as soon as you know which space you want to live in. Spaces will begin to fill up quite fast, starting the month of July, but many partners will accept applica-tions as long as they have rooms available.

What is the quarantine procedures for arriving at one of the housing partners?

Each housing partner will have their own quarantine protocols, for incoming ten- ants. It is important to know the steps for entering Canada, coming to OCAD and the steps required for staying in one of the housing facilities. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Ask about cleaning protocols for rooms and shared spaces
  • Check on food options, some will allow you to access your meal plan while others may have you order in food
  • Some spaces are allowing students to arrive in August (some are even providing August free) while their leases start in September

What sanitization measures are in place with housing partners?

Many have added additional safety and cleaning measures such as social distancing in elevators, frequent cleaning of shared spaces, and closure of shared amenities (including cafeterias). Be sure to ask them about the additional measures they are taking to ensure your safety and if they are providing alternatives for shared ameni-ties such as grab-and-go food packages instead of open food halls.

What if I still cannot arrive by the fall start of my lease?

Housing partners will have individual policies for lease holders regarding deferrals of lease start dates. We recommend that you reach out individually to ask about guidelines, if you are unable to move to Toronto.

Is room occupancy different now? How many roommates will I have?

Due to the pandemic, some housing partners have limited the amount of tenants to rooms. This could mean that a 4 bedroom unit will only have 2 occupants to allow safer protocols. It is a good idea to see if this will continue throughout the next year.

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HOUSING TIPS:

Beginning the Journey

Unsure where to start? Here are a some things to keep in mind when looking into housing!

When to start looking

  • Are you planning on moving in August/September?
  • If you are looking to rent a house or apartment or share accommodation with other students, you should likely start your search safely in late June/early July.
  • Landlords normally advertise accommodation four to six weeks prior to the intended move-in date.
  • Tenants are required to give 60 days notice of move-out.
  • If you are looking for residence-style accommodation, please note that some of them may offer a waiting list up to a year in advance, which will limit immediate availability.

How to start your search

  • Determine your price range.
  • Decide where you want to live.
  • Map it out. Consider transportation, shopping and other nearby amenities.
  • Decide how you want to live (shared, residence-style experience, room and board).
  • Set aside two or three days to come to Toronto to look.
  • NEVER rent a space without seeing it first.

What to do next

  • Make a list of questions to ask (about rent, services, amenities), either on the phone or in-person.
  • Make appointments with landlords to view the space.
  • If the space meets your needs, submit rental/lease application and first and last month's rent.
  • Upon renting a space, don't be afraid to ask for receipts for rent/utility payments.

Shared accommodations

Sharing can make your costs more affordable, offers security and can lead to opportunities for socializing and making new friends. If you don't know anyone, or don't have a room mate in mind, some places (such as U of T Housing Services or places4students.com) offer free matching services. Things to keep in mind:

  • What are the house rules?
  • Who will take care of collecting money from all room mates for rent, bills, utilities, phone, cable?
  • Communicate/ask about living arrangements and expectations.
  • How do your room mates/landlord view additional room mates, overnight guests, smoking, food, sharing internet?
  • Whose name(s) is/are on the lease?
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Housing Assistance

The City of Toronto's Housing & Homelessness Services ensures that people have shelter and affordable housing options, and assists with emergency shelter during critical incidents. 

Single adults, youth and couples can call the Assessment and Referral Centre: 416-338-4766 or 1-877-338-3398 (toll free from a payphone). 

Families with children can call Central Family Intake: 416-397-5637. 

The Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division also helps people avoid homelessness through a number of eviction prevention programs and by providing support to tenants in Toronto.

 

Tenant Rights

City of Toronto: Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
What you need to know as a renter in the private market.

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) 
CERA is the only organization in Canada dedicated to promoting human rights in housing and ending housing discrimination. 

Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations
The FMTA is a non-profit organization which advocates for better rights for tenants. Find a wealth of housing information and a housing hotline phone number which offers free housing information and referrals in 150 different languages.

Ontario Tenants Rights
A web guide to Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Act, the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants' rights, social justice, rental housing issues and more.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have been a problem in Toronto and cities across the country. It is possible for anyone to become infested with bed bugs, which are small biting insects that multiply quickly and travel easily. An infestation can cause anxiety and a feeling of shame. They can also cause secondary infections, allergic reactions and financial hardship. 

When looking for housing, it is important to understand how bed bugs could affect communities locally and around the world. While bed bugs do not have a history of transmitting infectious diseases, they are a pest that that both landlords and residents should know about, treat and eliminate:

  • Be aware
  • Know what to look for
  • Learn how to inspect
  • Learn how to prevent transport and/or infestation

Information and fact sheets (available in many languages) can be found on the City of Toronto's website. For additional assistance, contact Toronto Health Connection, 416-338-7600.

Tenant Tips

Need a place to store your belongings? FindStorageFast is a free resource that makes it easy to compare prices and specials at nearby storage facilities.

STORAGE RESOURCES

Helpful list for those living in or moving to Toronto, having both Toronto apartment search sites but also government resources, social services, legal, health and even emergency housing.

ONTARIO TENANTS LIST

Article: How to avoid misleading language and misunderstandings about rules that lead to landlords taking advantage of you (NOW Magazine, March 2016)

10 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR TENANTS

Article: How to avoid being conned out of your cash (CBC, March 2016)

ONLINE RENTAL SCAMS

 

Indigenous Student Resources

OCAD University works with several housing service providers, including independent residence-style student residences, and co-op options. Check out our supports and resources for housing and get more resources on the Indigenous Applicant page.

Are you moving to Toronto or living outside of the city? If you would like assistance with locating a housing coordinator or resources in your area, please contact our Student Success Coordinator Reagan Kennedy rkennedy [at] ocadu.ca to set up a virtual appointment.

Native Youth Resource Centre 

The NYRC supports Indigenous community members aged 16-29 with housing advocacy, viewings, first/last month’s rent supports, acquiring furniture, viewings, tenant rights and more! Contact: Sherry Clemens (Housing Advocate) sclemens [at] nativechild.org  NYRC Drop-In 416-969-8510 ext. 4119, 655 Bloor Street West. To view their presentation from the OCAD U Housing Info Fair click here! 

Native Canadian Centre of Toronto  

Indigenous community members ages 25+ can receive support with housing, holistic wellness, service navigation and financial support. Contact: Bella Lafontaine (Adult Case Manager) Bella.Lafontaine [at] ncct.on.ca Reception 416-964-9087, 16 Spadina Road (Bloor & Spadina) https://ncct.on.ca/  

Wigwamen

Wigwamen is a non-profit and charitable organization, is Ontario’s oldest and largest urban Aboriginal housing provider. With 214 units scattered throughout the City of Toronto, a 92-unit apartment building for families and singles in Scarborough, a 60-unit apartment building in Northeast Scarborough, a 103-unit apartment complex for seniors in downtown Toronto, a 41-unit apartment building in Ottawa, a 145-unit apartment building in the Canary District of Toronto, and a 115-unit apartment building in Scarborough, Wigwamen is committed to providing decent, safe and affordable housing to thousands of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families, singles and seniors.  

HOUSING QUESTIONS? WANT TO LEARN MORE?