Moving Checklist in Toronto during COVID-19
Updated: Jan 10, 2021
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Moving's a feat that many shy away from, and after these two months of running around the city I can finally say it all makes sense why. After a 9 year run of renting with roommates I've decided to make the jump to an one bedroom, and let me just say that it was so much harder than it needed to be. Take from my experience and prepare yourself of things you should know when moving in Toronto.
Things to prepare:
1. Employment letter / Verification of Income (VOI)
This comes straight from your employer and should state when your start date, position title, annual salary, status (part-time/full-time), and contact information of the HR team. Depending on your organization, this may be a one day or one week turnaround request so make sure to ask ahead of time.
2. Pay stubs
The last two paystubs you've received with the breakdown of gross wages, total deductions and net income.
Credit score report, not credit report nor consumer disclosure report. The difference here is the big giant number that shows your credit score at the top of said report. "Credit report" is the Equifax term, while "consumer disclosure" is the Transunion term - they serve the same purpose and that's basically to show how you deal with your finances. Most realtors/landlords will accept either or, but Equifax definitely seem to be preferred. You can request free versions if you have the time to wait through mail, otherwise Equifax costs $23.95 CAD for an immediate digital version. If you aren't going through agents, I'd recommend asking if your landlord will accept a Borrowell/Credit Karma version to save this cost.
4. Landlord reference (letter recommended)
Ideally get this in writing ahead of time. There's always an option for the prospective landlord to call your landlord directly for the reference, but you save them time and hassle if it's written. They do actually check as this was the last factor in me securing my new unit with 4 other prospective offers.
5. Personal referral contacts
Be it a friend, a colleague, or a teacher - this is something that may come into play. Make sure you know their address, phone number, length of connection and obviously get consent and give a heads up that a landlord might call them.
6. First & last month rent deposit (in.your.chequing.account)
Once an offer is approved, the seller realtor/landlord typically requires the first and last month deposit within 24 hours. I know. Although their agent requested it to be via a wire transfer, a bank draft was accepted - the fee difference for my bank was $40 vs $8.50 respectively. Thing to note about bank drafts is that you have to personally go into the recipient's primary bank and deposit the money, compared to a wire transfer where it is deposited for you. Living in downtown Toronto this extra step wasn't an issue in order to save me some money. Make sure to get a receipt and send it through to your agent for proof of payment.
7. Tenant insurance (recommended)
Do your due diligence and get a quote from the numerous insurance providers that are available. For my one bedroom unit with a $1M Personal & Premises Liability, $30k Personal Property, $5k Additional Living Expenses, and $1k Standard Deductible, this came out to just under $20/month. However, I did receive quotes anywhere from $20 to $30. Note that everything you input alters this final number and one cost saver for me was knowing that buildings with 35-100 stories are typically built with concrete. (Yes, stating "Don't know" automatically means they charge you the most expensive option.)
8. Elevator booking
If you're like me and moving from one condo to another, you'll most likely need to book the moving elevator ASAP. Secure the date with your new condo (my landlord was kind enough to book on my behalf rather than waiting for the paperwork to be processed and risk losing the date). It never hurts to ask to move in a day or two earlier than official lease date. My landlord was OK with this as long as my tenant insurance started on the move in date. To secure the bookings, both condos required a certified cheque/money order as a refundable fee (security deposit).
9. uHaul rental
10. Internet set-up
There are much simpler renting processes than this. In my last 9 years of renting, I've typically just had to complete a simple application and provided my first and last month deposit and the deal was done. The above is an example when going through agents on both sides.