TORONTO — Sources have confirmed that the landlord currently showing you around a 1-bedroom apartment in a Toronto low-rise just needs you to put a 20% down payment on the mid-century building it’s housed in before you can sign a lease.
“I know it’s annoying,” the good-natured 40-something told you as he walked you down the narrow hallway to the 30-square-foot kitchen. “But it’s just a formality. We get a lot of people trying to rent apartments who can’t even commit to paying a few dozen thousand dollars for their units. So we just have to be sure.”
“Anyway a post-dated cheque would be fine,” he added
As housing markets in Toronto and many other major Canadian cities have become more and more competitive, sources have confirmed that landlords are now regularly requesting tenants put down at least a sizeable portion of the rental property’s value prior to renting a unit, as a gesture of good faith.
“Look, being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility,” landlord Derryl Weil told reporters. “I don’t just want tenants willing to pay rent and keep my property in good condition. Sure, they seem fine at first, but before you know it, they might do something irresponsible like have a baby or adopt a dog. What you want to do is find tenants to show they are abjectly desperate to find shelter in Toronto and will pay any cost, up to and including laying down enough money to put all of their children through college.”
“Adopt a dog!” He added.
While many tenants are struggling with the new policy, responses have been mixed.
“Initially we thought putting down a lot of money up front wouldn’t be so bad,” Toronto homeowner Tim Lee told reporters. “But then he explained we’d also be responsible for replacing all the knob and tube wiring in the building, and we started thinking something fishy was going on.”
When confronted with criticism that requirements like these inevitably exclude all but the most exorbitantly wealthy renters and will lead to a dangerously destabilized housing market, Weil responded, “Yes.”
Nevertheless, some renters are gradually adjusting to the changing market.
“Sure, initially we thought scrounging up $500,000 dollars was a lot,” Toronto resident Tom Shannessey told reporters.
“But then we thought, what are we going to do, move to Vancouver?” at which point Shannessey and his wife, Laura, dissolved into laughter.
At press time, the landlord is letting you know that you’ll have to give up the apartment after 60 days so his family can move in.