Young couple from HK who migrated to Toronto condemned by netizens for living beyond their means to rent apartment in city centre

Brandy and Umi

28th January 2023 – (Toronto) Many Hong Kong citizens who migrated overseas in particular to U.K. and Canada have shared their experiences on social media. Brandy and Umi, a Hong Kong couple who migrated to Canada, make videos on YouTube from time to time to share their life in Toronto. They uploaded a video recently to lament over their dilemma in finding a place to rent in the local area.

However, after the video was released, it was severely criticised by netizens because despite their low combined income, they still wanted to rent somewhere in the city centre. The couple claimed that due to their working hours, it was difficult for them to arrange for apartment viewing. Brandy also demanded a convenient location for work, so he wanted to live in the downtown or city centre, preferably within 30-45 minutes by road transport, so as not to be too far away for him to commute daily.

However, rent is relatively expensive even if the apartment is small in the city centre, and the average rent is between CAD 2,200 (approximately HK$12,910) and CAD 2,600 (approximately HK$15,269). They were rejected by many landlords due to their low income and some only preferred single tenant. A few landlords even required their joint salaries to be 3 times higher than the rent.

After the couple uploaded the video, netizens condemned them for being demanding as most of the units they viewed were quite modern and well equipped. Netizens said that they should only rent a room or a basement unit while working to save money instead of spending beyond their means. The two of them have specified requirements for the apartment location, transportation, lighting, kitchen size, bathroom, interior partition, height of the building, etc., but because their rent budget is not high, the possibility of securing a unit of their choice is low. The two were being criticised for being unrealistic as they should save money instead of hunting for a ‘holiday home’.

In the end, they found a unit with a monthly rent of 2,600 Canadian dollars (approximately HK$15,269), but they still felt that it was too expensive. They are now negotiating through a broker to ask for a discount to 2,400 Canadian dollars (approximately HK$14,095), but it is still unknown whether they managed to secure the unit.