Getting A Rent Decrease during the Pandemic

Whether it is our health, jobs or living costs, everything becomes uncertain in a pandemic. However, regardless of what you are dealing with, you still need a stable place to live in. The good news is, if you are renting, you may be able to take advantage of the cooling rental market right now.

There are many reasons behind the drop in rent prices. In the city of Toronto, condo rents have declined significantly since April due to the migration of people who used to fill the rental market.

First of all, students who would have been in the market for downtown units close to their universities have gone home to shelter with their families during the pandemic. On top of that, many city-dwellers, especially young working professionals have begun to reevaluate the high living cost of being in the core against the possibility of working from home becoming permanent.

With the halt on travels as well, the city has seen a surge of Airbnb condos being released into the market. If you are a future tenant, you are likely to save some real money on rent this year when you sign a new lease, even if you are not in the city.

Leases in the Greater Toronto Area have decreased by a whopping 9%.

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Source: Interpretation of CMHC data from Rentals.ca (https://rentals.ca/national-rent-report)

Further Analysis – Case Study

This short case study is based on the current place I am residing in. I live in the financial district in downtown Toronto and prices have dropped in my neighbourhood. The current building I’m living in is INDX Condos, and it’s a modern high-rise building designed with a minimalistic look that comes with top-tier amenities. From my observations in the elevators at 9am, young working professionals working in the financial district have opted to live in this building.

If we look at the average price/sqft in 2019 for the condo I live in, it was going for $4.38/sqft in 2019. However, it is currently going for $3.92/sqft. That is a whopping 10.67% decrease! Hence, it did not take long for me to decide to move out of my unit at the end of this month to take advantage of this rent market.

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Source: INDX Condos – Historical Avg. Prices from Condos.ca

Nevertheless, for people currently on a lease not ending anytime soon like mine, it may be a while before you can take advantage of the current rental market. However, I do have a suggestion in attempting to lower your rent. Try sending a polite email or give a call to your current landlord requesting for a rent decrease.

I did this during the onset of the pandemic and it has worked for me as I managed to decrease my rent from $2500/mo to $2200/mo. Obviously, this is not guaranteed to work as it depends on the benevolence of your landlord but it does not hurt to try.

To make things easier, I have provided a sample email you can use below. It requires some research on your condo/apartment/area you are living in but it should not take long to get the information you need. Good luck to everyone and may you get your rent decreased!

Hi [Name of Landlord],

Hope you are well and keeping healthy during this time. As you know the current situation with COVID-19 has affected many of us. Currently due to COVID-19, many people are leaving Canada, a lot of people's classes and internships are getting cancelled so the market is very competitive. Many units have been put on the market with very cheap prices and no one to rent.

Right now, for a [Details of Unit], it is possible to find online for [List competitive prices for unit]. Currently, bearing [Current price of unit] per month is very expensive, especially considering the market now.

Some examples of other properties similar to this in the area and the prices:
[Provide other listings with prices]

I would like to ask if you are willing to reduce the rent to [List amount you would like for rent] until the end of the lease. 

Thank you so much and I do hope to hear back from you soon.

Warm Regards,

[Your Name]

Author

  • syao scaled

    Stephen Yao is a writer, ex-Deloitte financial engineer with expertise in the life insurance, pension, and capital markets industry. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, and writes about personal finance and career fulfillment.

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