Slumlords
Gary Marr was quoted in a 2013 article in the Financial Post:

“For a mere $60,000, you can get yourself a condominium in Toronto’s still-expensive housing market. The only catch: the condo fee.

In the city’s west end, albeit away from the glitter and glory of the downtown core, Ben Myers, vice-president of condominium research firm Urbanation Inc., which tracks the Toronto market, has watched prices plunge in some buildings because the fees have jumped through the roof, scaring off potential buyers.

“Some of these old buildings,” says Mr. Myers, “they are really deteriorating, so they need to raise money to fix things.”

In one case, he says, a unit measuring about 900 square feet recently sold for $60,000, but it came with a hefty condo fee of 98 per square foot —$882— per month.

“The building was basically falling apart,” says Mr. Myers.

Who would buy there?
So who would buy in that building? Two kinds of buyers. The low-income naive buyer who has little clue what they are getting into. All they can see is the low price. They are victims.

Then there is a second buyer, one who knows exactly what they are doing. These "investors" buy the units because they plan to become slumlords.

Rooming houses
If the slumlord lives in the unit, he will put locks on the bedroom doors and rent the individual rooms. The living room/dining room may be converted into a third or fourth bedroom. Each room can bring in $600 or more a month.

An in-suite locker—tiny and windowless—can rent as a bed-sit for $200 a month. Solariums become yet another bedroom and although far less common, balconies may be pressed into service.

Sometimes the owner will rent out the apartment to a single-family and the renter will be the one sub-renting individual rooms.

Either way, you get the same result: an over-crowded tenement building that puts a strain on the utilities, parking, elevators, garbage removal and all the common areas.

When a townhouse caught on fire just south of York University, 38 people—most university and college students—were burnt out of their homes when the fire destroyed two units and damaged a third.

Boarders
Almost the same as a rooming house but with a live-in caretaker who cooks the meals and cleans the common areas.

Students
Slumlords do not restrict themselves to cheap condo buildings. Some slumlords buy units in expensive condos that are situated along the subway lines or close to a community college or universities. Students, including those from overseas, are packed into these rooming houses.

Can the slumlord make money?
Sure they can. At $600+ a room, they make enough to pay the mortgage, taxes and common element fees and make a decent profit.

Their actions are helping to wreak the building and reducing property values but low property values is what they may want so they can buy more units.

How can this happen?
Slumlords need a board of directors who will not enforce the single-family provisions in the declaration or enforce the municipal by-laws and who will keep the maintenance fees low. They also need neighbours who will not force the board into taking action.

In some condos, there are so many illegal rooming houses that the board cannot even think of shutting them down as the slumlords, combined with the owners who are renting a single bedroom, will vote them out of office.

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