Here are 4 outrageous Canadian rental listings to avoid as an int’l student

expensive Canadian rental
Canada's nationwide rental and housing crisis has resulted in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver to become increasingly unlivable for students and low-income earners. Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

Could you survive on just 1000 Canadian dollars? With inflation price hikes affecting everything from groceries to the expensive Canadian rental market, the country is becoming increasingly costly to live in. Despite the numerous perks of getting an education in the True North, international students would be wise to think twice and hard before moving to a city that might be too expensive for them to live in. 

Currently, Canada is facing a nationwide rental crisis that sees housing prices and room rentals skyrocketing, so much so that it’s losing affordable rental units to those making less than CA$30,000 per year. It’s estimated that four percent of post-secondary students in the country are homeless, with many more caught in temporary, untenable living situations such as in slum housing and cubicles.

Rental scams and extortionate rates for closet-width rooms have mushroomed in a climate where many are desperate to secure a roof over their heads. From windowless flats to barely-legal partitioned units, here’s a roundup of some of the most outrageous listings we’ve found in Canada: 

Four expensive Canadian rentals to avoid as a student abroad 

This landlord charging CA$420 per bed in a gloomy basement 

As the most expensive city in Canada, Toronto takes the cake for ridiculous listings you may never find elsewhere in the country. Take this landlord, for example, who decided to charge CA$420 for one bed in a basement where light barely filters through its tiny window:

If that wasn’t bad enough, it’s only one among three beds lined next to each other — all charged with the same rental fee individually. Clearly, a violation of the city bylaws didn’t stop this landlord from exploiting those in need of affordable housing. 

The post, which originated in a local Facebook group, sparked outrage on social media among those who know the struggle of trying to make ends meet and still live with dignity in a costly city. The listing has since been taken down. 

The owner who partitioned a townhouse into 10 units, asking for $CA4 million 

“Is this even legal?” seems to be a running theme in Toronto listings.

While downtown living comes with a hefty price tag on real estate, some costs are simply unjustifiable. Recently, a homeowner has put a townhouse partitioned into 10 individual units in the city’s popular Junction Triangle neighbourhood for a whooping CA$4 million. 

“Great Investment Opportunity!” the listing read on “Located in the Junction Triangle in the Dovercourt area, this triplex offers 10 individual, fully-furnished rental units with 10 kitchenettes and 10 full bathrooms.” The listing further mentioned that the property would fetch a “rental income of approximately CA$15,949 monthly and CA$191,388 yearly.”

Though no room rental is open at the moment on the property, blogTO estimates the units (ranging from 140 to 288 square feet) to fetch CA$1,600 if split equally — which is still more expensive than an average decent-sized studio apartment in the city. 

This twin bed-sized windowless room in Vancouver listed for CA$750 monthly 

Absurd Canadian rental listings aren’t limited to just one province. On its Western shores, Vancouver has consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities for years. A vibrant city surrounded by scenic natural landscapes, it’s a popular study destination that welcomes over 150,000 international students annually. 

Like other high-cost cities, finding affordable off-campus accommodations can be an uphill battle. Just don’t fall into the trap of renting this CA$750 windowless bedroom that’s hardly bigger than a twin-sized mattress.

“There’s practically no space between the bed and every wall in the room,” an interviewee remarked to CTV News Vancouver. The room is located in a shared condominium right next to the city’s Granville metro station, and the rental fee excludes monthly utilities.

The “half-room” in Vancouver going for CA$500

The second twin mattress-sized room to make it to our list is slightly far out from downtown. Located in Marpole at Vancouver’s southern edge, a tiny “den” is apparently available for rent at CA$500 with utilities included. 

“(It’s) for people with few personal things or who are arriving in Vancouver,” they write. “You share kitchen, bathroom and living room,” the posting read. The half-room of 20 square feet is dominated entirely by the bed, and comes with a chest drawer.