If You Need A Challenge, Try House Hunting


I’m not sure if it’s a Toronto thing, but house hunting is DEFINITELY one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever been given. To add to the difficulty, I’m living an hour and a half away from Toronto, which is where I need to find my accommodations.


I live and breathe Kijiji and Craigslist. Any chance I get, I’m browsing the classifieds to see if somehow a decently priced room opens up.  I’m asking everyone I know – any rooms available in Toronto? I sent a desperate message out to the Twitterverse: Anyone know of a decently priced apartment in Toronto for August or September?


After two months of looking, I found a place that seemed alright. $620 for a room in a large house with laundry and everything included. This might be the one, I thought to myself.  The room’s owner told me to come at 12:30 and said she would be there to show me the room. I decided to make the voyage to Toronto.


Conveniently, the Gardiner was under construction so the speed of traffic was at an all time low, going about 1 km/h. My mom was with me so we had some nice bonding time. Long, drawn out bonding time. Good thing we left an hour early.


We actually ended up arriving a bit early for the viewing so we walked around in the disgustingly hot weather, went to Starbucks (of course) and visited Ryerson. When we got to the apartment at 12:30, I rang the buzzer. No answer. I rang the buzzer again and we waited. No answer. Maybe she’s late? I pressed the intercom button. No answer. We sat on the front steps and just waited in case she was late. I didn’t have her number – everything was done through email. Someone walked beside us and started going into the house. I asked if her roommate was home. “I’m supposed to view her room.” She gave her a call and shortly after, the roommate came outside.


“I’m sorry,” the girl said from the doorway. “I gave away my room this morning. It’s rented now. Sorry.”


My heart dropped. We just drove two hours for nothing. It was swelteringly hot. I paid money for gas and parking. Why don’t I just throw my money into the street? It would probably melt.


Beware of Toronto renters. They’re a cruel bunch.


I didn’t want to completely waste a visit to Toronto so I quickly logged on to my two favourite sites – Kijiji and Craigslist. I contacted everyone within the Ryerson vicinity and found a couple rooms to view. “When are you available to come see it?” they asked. “Right now,” I answered.


We walked around for hours in 30+ degree weather. I have never sweated so much in my life. Even my feet were sweating – since when do feet sweat?


One place we found was a little run down on the outside…and a lot run down on the inside. One person could barely fit through the hallway. The bathroom door only opened halfway because the counter was right in front of it. None of the lights worked. The owner had to awkwardly wake up one of the tenants and kick her out of her room so we could view it. I actually felt sympathy for the people living there. There were bugs flying all over the place. Their conditions were worse than the houses I repaired on my trip to the Dominican Republic.


There are many houses whose landlords are conveniently “in Africa” and “just need someone to take care of the place.” All I need to do is give them all of my credit card information and they’ll mail me the keys. Right.


The house hunt continues.


Oh, and here’s my cry for help: if you know anyone who has an empty, un-infested room in downtown Toronto, help a girl out!