Real Estate News

The Chase: A 30-year-old lawyer hunts for an apartment within dog-walking distance of her old place

The renter: Claire Gowdy, 30, an associate at a Bay Street law firm.

The story: Gowdy was happily paying her share of the rent on a $2,150-per-month apartment near Casa Loma, where she lived with her brother and their dog, Piper (who has more than 1,300 Instagram followers). When her brother’s girlfriend moved back to Toronto from New York City in mid-May, Claire got a polite heave-ho—but, because she and her brother planned to split responsibility for Piper, she needed to remain within walking distance. She wanted to find an apartment with character (meaning, not a condo) for around $1,600. On-site laundry was a must.

Option 1

One-bedroom apartment in a house on Admiral Road (near Dupont and St. George), listed at $1,400 per month, plus utilities

This old mansion had been converted into six apartments. Gowdy checked out one on the ground floor. She liked the idea of living in an older house, but the place’s dated kitchen appliances and small windows were the wrong kind of “vintage.” The real deal-breaker was the price: she couldn’t see herself paying more than her previous rent for less space.

Option 2

One-bedroom apartment on Manning Avenue (near College and Bathurst), listed at $1,550 per month

About 70 people were waiting outside this house for viewings—which, as it turned out, were being led by landlord Tim Warmels, a former bachelor on Bachelor Canada, who was moving out of town. (The listing identified the landlord as just “Tim,” so the big turnout was solely for the apartment.) The crowd was divided into groups of 15 and brought inside for brief tours. The space was decorated beautifully, but Gowdy was turned off when Warmels didn’t give her a straight answer about whether tenants could use the basement laundry. Either way, she figured she had no chance of getting the place. She decided to pass.

The choice

One-bedroom apartment on Macpherson Avenue (near Dupont and Avenue), listed at $1,850, plus utilities

This third-floor apartment popped up on the apartment-hunting website PadMapper around 1:30 p.m. on a Sunday, and within the hour Gowdy was inside the unit. The kitchen was newly renovated, there was a deck out back, and the basement had coin laundry. Gowdy wasn’t impressed with the stained carpeting in the bedroom and living room, so she cut a deal with the owners: if they replaced it with wood floors, she’d move in two weeks early. After some back and forth, they came to an agreement. The rent is higher than Gowdy wanted, and she’s concerned about how expensive the electric heating will get in the wintertime. But, with her brother just 10 minutes away, dog-sharing duties should be a breeze.

Here’s the exterior:


The living area, with its new wood floors:


The newly renovated kitchen:


The bedroom:


And the back deck: