Finding a place to live in Toronto without a professional career
October 24, 2011 7:46 AM Subscribe
I am not a student or a working professional, but I need an affordable place to live in Toronto. How do I sell my story to potential landlords?
posted by TimTypeZed to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The place I am now living in has been sold, and is changing hands Nov 24th. I need somewhere new to go. I have been living downstairs at a relative's place while he renovated for resale. I only moved back to Toronto because I was aware of a decent place to live where I knew someone and could get a deal. Otherwise I thought of this city as too expensive for the type of work available to me. I have been looking on Craigslist, Kijiji, and ViewIt. In theory I would like a shared house, but I may be too old to roommate. A basement apartment might work. I'm fearful of the large buildings, especially at prices I can swing, because they may have issues of bugs and maintenance. I'm dragging around a car, so parking is an additional hassle. I've sent emails to a few places in the last week, but have received no replies.
Many places stipulate in the ad that their offering is for students or working professionals. I am neither. I haven't been working at all, and when I do work it is not in a professional capacity. I came here after I lost a factory job elsewhere in Ontario during the downturn two or three years ago. Since my prospects sucked and I had money squirreled away from years of working in and out of factories, I tried to rededicate myself to art/illustration. Honestly, I have been doubtful and apprehensive about that path, and I don't have much to show for a couple years of doodling in sketchbooks trying to find the right approach. If I had produced more, approached a couple people and found some freelance assignments, maybe I could call myself a kind of working professional, but I didn't. I've been working a fantasy, and I wish I could keep doing so. Occasionally I'd take a temp job in a warehouse, but it didn't seem to make sense to join the commute on the 401 for minimum wage we'll-call-you-when-we-need-you packing boxes in a factory.
So I'm having a hard time approaching landlords because I expect them to see me as a bum without purpose or direction, without an income. It would be worse trying to find a place if I smoked or had pets or children, but I'm free of those issues. Still, it would be silly to end up homeless when I do have money in the bank to pay rent for the next couple years even if I don't work an assembly line somewhere. My retirement is screwed, but I can pay people now. I'm clumsy and slow at life, and I isolate myself, but I'm also quiet and polite, and pay my rent on time. A trouble-free tenant, I think, except that I never seem to go anywhere. In the last week I've been questioning if I belong in Toronto if I'm not a working professional. But I don't know where else to go anyway. I've thought of moving up to Brampton, because industrial temp work might be more abundant up there, but I look at those areas as the worst of Toronto (expense, congestion and urban ugliness) without any of the good things (arts, culture and diverse living). And, there's no reason to believe that landlords up there would feel anymore secure about renting to me than landlords in the centre of the city.