Originally on Geocities, but it is long gone.
ontariotenants.ca also has a copy.
I always recommend that you try to get as much information about the place you are going to rent before you move in.
You certainly should inspect the apartment before moving in, though that is not always possible; You might be moving from another city, province or country.
You can not always take advertisements at face value. A perfect example are a couple of towers in Parkdale that the landlord has been advertising as "Beautiful and Quiet Apartments!" and "On-site friendly management staff". I have many friends in those particular buildings, and I believe both of these statements are blatantly false. I don't think I have to go into details about how bad these buildings are but they are two of the worst in the whole area and the city. The watch words when reading advertisements are "Caveat Emptor" (let the buyer beware).
There are good landlords out there but they are hard to find because people in those places don't want to move; They usually only move out if they are able to purchase housing, or if their personal situations change and they have to move for one reason or another.
There are many bad landlords out there.
How do you find the good landlords? The only ways I can think of is by asking your friends about where they live to see if they like the landlord (and you can also use this strategy to find out about the type of area it is too). Inspect the building to see if the hallways are clean before you move in.
There are many things to remember:
Be patient. Finding housing takes time. Don't get discouraged.
How much can you afford for housing? Do a budget of your income and expenses to help assess how much you can afford and allow extra for emergencies and unexpected items.
What is included in the rent and what do you pay for separately? Is electricity (hydro) in the rent? A parking space if you need one? Make sure it is clearly stated in writing in the lease before you sign.
What is near the apartment that is available? Is it behind the garbage chute and how much noise will that create for you? Is it near where the garbage bins are kept outside and if so, do you get offensive smells from it on your balconey or in your unit, especially during the summer? You may be willing to put up with these problems, but you shouldn't be paying premium prices for it, and you can let the landlord who is trying to rent it out know you want a lower price because of that.
Some buildings have laundry rooms on each floor. What hours they are open? How close is your apartment and how much if any noise does it create for you?
Is the unit on the top floor (pethouse)? If so, you won't have noise from tenants above, but it could have other problems such as mould, if the roof leaks.
Higher floors have the advantage of being away from street and driveway noise, but have the disadvantage that if the building has a problem with elevators breaking down, that you will have a lot of stairs to climb.
How good of shape is the apartment and the building? Is there good security, or is the lock on the lobby door broken or door propped open?
Where to look for housing:
Ask your friends. This has the added advantage that if they or their friends live there, they can give you information about problems and advantages of that location and building.
Many places to live, particularly the least expensive, (often floors of small houses or basement apartments,) are not advertised. You need to look in areas you are interested in, and literally go up and down each street to look for signs on apartment buildings and houses for rooms or apartments for rent.
Web sites such as the ones listed above.
Daily newspaper, classified ads, for rent sections.
Alternative newspapers, including college and university newspapers.
Bulletin Boards at grocery stores and even some community centres.
For college and university students, check with your student services, or housing department, for bulletin boards, as well as web pages (such as those listed below) with rooms for rent listings.
In some communities there are also specialty magazines that only provide (or have large sections of) rental listings.