The pandemic has led a flurry of people to leave major urban centres in search of less crowded, smaller town living. That has left a huge number of newly built condos and great apartments vacant for anyone looking to move. So, assuming you’re not in the market to buy, where do you stand on renting an apartment vs condo? As one might expect, there are things you’ll want to consider before signing on the dotted line.
How much living space do you need ?
A recent article compared Toronto’s newest condo sizes to the size of a walk-in closet. As land prices continue to soar in major urban centres, condo developers are starting to build “micro condos” –suites that measure around 277 square feet– to keep these suites at affordable price points for buyers. Not surprisingly, investors are grabbing these units up as rental opportunities. Could you live in a suite this size? .
How important are building amenities for you?
While many condo amenities have been temporarily shuttered as a result of the pandemic, those fitness rooms, screening theatres, party rooms and rooftop terraces will re-open at some point. Renting in a condo gives you access to condo-quality amenities without the condo price tag. If you consider those as extensions of your living space, maybe a reduced living space won’t seem quite as small.
Can you live with slower repairs and service?
Suppose your sink backs up or there’s a problem with your air conditioner. If you’re renting a condo, you’re going to be at the mercy of the condo owner’s schedule to fix these. Moreover, if your suite is owned by a foreign investor (as many are), the owner may not even live in the same country as you, which further complicates matters. If you’re renting an apartment, you can simply put in a request to the building management to take care of repairs.
Can you live with an element of uncertainty?
Condo living comes with some uncertainty. Firstly, you can become a victim of “renoviction”, where you’re forced to vacate if the owner suddenly decides to renovate. Secondly, if condo resale values begin to soar, the owner may just decide to sell. Thirdly, your rent can be hiked at the owner’s discretion; there is no limit to how much owners can legally raise the rent on condos built after 1998. Can you live with these unknowns?
On the flipside, apartment landlords are legally only allowed to raise the rent a certain amount each year (this varies by province). Plus, as long as you pay your rent and follow rental rules, you can’t be evicted from your apartment. If you live in Ontario or BC here’s good news: rent freezes are in effect for all apartment and condo renters, so you can breathe easy until the end of the year.
In conclusion, deciding on your next rental address is going to be up to your wishes and your non-negotiables. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s a personal preference. When you do decide on that next address, talk to the moving professionals at AMJ Campbell to help get you there.
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