According to a recent survey by Square One Insurance, approximately 30 per cent of Canadians rent their homes, and many share their home with a roommate. However, rental affordability has been a problem that has affected all of them.

“There is a large and growing population of renters in Canada. This group is continuing to grow due to many factors, one being the rising costs of homeownership in major cities,” says Square One CEO, Daniel Mirkovic. “We surveyed over 5000 Canadians to find out more information about renter lifestyles and to see if the rental landscape has changed.”

Key findings in the survey included:

  • Renters with roommates increased considerably in 2019 (mostly in Ontario)
  • Toronto had the highest percentage of roommates out of every major city in Canada
  • 58 per cent of renters with roommates in Ontario cannot afford to live alone
  • Over 1/3 of renters in Canada do not have renters insurance.

As to why renters wanted roommates, most Canadians responses included:

  • Help with rent
  • A form of companionship
  • Added security

However, renters who want a roommate to help pay for rent is consistent for each age group until adults ages 55 and older, where it becomes less about rent and more for companionship and company.

However, the percentage of renters who cannot afford renters insurance becomes more of a problem. “With the high cost of rent, it makes sense that most renters have roommates for financial reasons,” says Mirkovic. “However, it’s surprising how many renters and their roommates go without home insurance given the increased risks of living with unrelated persons.”

Even though the cost of rent continues to increase, it’s more likely for Canadians to buy insurance this year than it was back in 2017. In 2017, the percentage of renters without renters’ insurance was at 41 per cent whereas now in 2020 it was decreased to 34.5 per cent.

You can see the full report on the Square One Insurance website here.