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.”
would buy there?
So who would buy in that building? Two kinds of buyers. The low-income
who has little clue what they are getting into. All they can see is the
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
If the slumlord lives in the unit, he will put locks on the bedroom
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
An in-suite locker—tiny and windowless—can rent as a bed-sit
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
Almost the same as a rooming house but with a live-in caretaker who
cooks the meals and cleans the common areas.
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.
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
but low property values is what they may want so they can buy more
How can this
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
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