Tips to Find Affordable Rental Housing in Toronto

Affordable housing might be a familiar term; however, every person or organization can interpret its meaning differently. When talking about affordable housing, Toronto is one of the most popular cities in Canada that has this kind of housing. It could refer to various housing structures, including modular, subsidized, social, and rent-geared-to-income housing. Every type of housing slightly differs in purpose and levels of affordability. 

Few of the goals of affordable housing is to come up with adequate shelter for people who cannot afford to pay the housing market rate. Various requirements need consideration to qualify for affordable housing. 

What to Know About Affordable Rental Housing in Toronto

The most recent available figures concerning the number of affordable housing units in Toronto in 2018, were approximately 123450 units1. Year after year, the city is adding more to this portfolio, with up to 80 various affordable housing projects in the works. 

How Much is Affordable Housing in Toronto?

Housing in Toronto is not cheap. That is why familiarizing your options on affordable housing is essential. Affordable housing rates in Toronto vary on the type of house and Average Market Rent (AMR). The AMR could also depend on the agreement – programs are charging 100%, 80%, or other percentages of AMR. However, occupancy rates equal to 80% of AMR are the most common. A bachelor’s apartment costs about $969; meanwhile, a two bedroom apartment costs about $1661 per month. The rate generally goes higher if you opt for a bigger and more spacious house. 

How Does Affordable Housing Work in Toronto?

In Toronto, affordable housing works where the total monthly house cost (includes hydro and heat) is usually at or below the city’s Average Market Rent (AMR) by unit type. The prices will differ as to the Canada and Housing Corporation (CHMC) provides the AMR yearly. 

The Subsidized Housing or Geared-to-Income (RGI) Rental Units

What is Subsidized Housing?

Subsidized housing options are made available by Toronto to offer affordable household rents. As you list how much it would cost you to live in Toronto, you also need to know how subsidized housing works. Generally, the rent at subsidized units is approximately 30% of the household’s total monthly income before taxes and other adjustments. If you are a social assistance beneficiary, the rent will be based on the rent benefit implemented by the Ontario government.

There are several documents you need to prepare to apply for Toronto’s subsidized housing. You need to visit this website and upload the documents for all the household members:

  • Documentation of legal status in Canada for all the household members
  • Information regarding any owed money, or repayment plans with a Social Housing Provider
  • Declaration and consent for all the household members who are over 16 years old
  • Other income and income that’s generated from assets must be declared on the application

Currently, the demand for subsidized housing is higher than the number of units available. This results in higher significant wait times for applicants to receive their units. 

The Eligibility Criteria for Household

In applying for subsidized housing, Toronto implements several eligibility criteria2. Anyone may apply for RGI housing given that they meet the following standards:

  • There should be at least one household member who is 16 years or older.
  • At least one household member is capable of living independently, regardless of any support services. 
  • Every household member must prove their status in Canada, based on the following:
    • A Canadian citizen
    • An applicant for permanent resident status in Canada
    • A permanent Canadian resident
    • A convention refugee or a refugee claimant

Where to Apply for Subsidized Housing?

MyAccesstoHousingTO is Toronto’s online application portal for those applying for or managing applications for RGI housing in the city. It’s a secure and convenient way to interact with Toronto. You can submit all the necessary documents, update, view application status, and receive alerts and important updates.

The Other Options to Obtain Affordable Housing in Toronto

There are several options you can have when choosing to move to Toronto. While you are compiling your affordable housing list, Toronto also has other options for you to get one. There are those rental housing units where the monthly rental is either at or below the average market rate. Houses are made and operated by both nonprofit and private housing developers under the agreement with the city of Toronto. 

Toronto is a vast city; thus, you can always choose a subsidized housing unit of your preference. There are several neighborhoods in Toronto where you can choose to reside. You can opt for the largest nonprofit housing agency, which manages 38 residential locations and over 1000 units across Toronto. 


Either you are moving to Toronto or looking for a new neighborhood in the city; there are several things you need to consider. Given that Toronto is the most populous city in Canada, it can also be challenging to look for an apartment located in the most convenient place for you and your budget. If you can easily find it through searching online, most of them might be pricey and will surely take most of your monthly budget.



Share this article on social media

Relevant for your move

Need help moving?

Check out MovingWaldo’s free moving platform and find everything you need for your move. No sign up required!