Toronto Star Tuesday: Why renting while single is twice as hard

A favourite pastime of mine is posting rental listings of beautiful, character-filled apartments in other cities (Pine floors! Crown moulding! A fireplace!) on Facebook, flanked by weeping emojis.

Finding an above-ground apartment in an urban neighbourhood in Montreal, Halifax or even Chicago for under $1,000 a month is a breeze.

In Toronto, it’s practically the stuff of fiction.

Things are financially tight for many in this city, but single people — especially single parents — are at a serious disadvantage. The average rental cost of a one-bedroom condo in Toronto is nearly $1,800 per month. Finance gurus suggest spending only 30 per cent of your total income on rent. Sticking to that rule, a single renter would have to be earning upwards of $65,000 a year. According to Statistics Canada, the average annual income for individuals living outside of an economic family (i.e. a single person) in Toronto in 2014 was approximately $40,000 before taxes.

“Young and single tenants face a terrible situation in the city right now,” says Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations. “A low vacancy rate means that people are struggling to find any place to rent, much less an affordable one. It puts them into debt or unsustainable living situations. Many young folks don’t know their rights and single folks have few others to lean on for support.”

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