Common areas cluttered with filth and debris, units with broken appliances and suffocating from poor ventilation, these are just some of the complaints plaguing buildings across Toronto. Recently LandlordWatch.com
took stock of the deplorable conditions and assembled a list of the “100 worst landlords in the city”, along with the buildings they manage.
The data was culled from complaint-driven Municipal Licensing and Standards inspections. “We didn’t see too much seasonality, there are complaints going on throughout the year,” said Yale Fox, creator of the website.
“They’re slightly more skewed to heat, mold, bed bugs and roaches.”
So far in 2016 the apartments at 104 – 105 West Lodge Avenue, owned by the Bnai Fishel Corporation, have been hit with the most violations: 119. But the worst building since 2014 is the 15-story apartment at 500 Dawes Rd. Inside common areas were soiled with mold and flooring in some of the units was breaking apart like puzzle pieces.
Landlord Carolyn Goodman is known to the local city councillor who’s been urging residents to lodge complaints about their living conditions. Goodman did not respond to numerous requests for comment. “We are pushing virtually every day to keep on top of her and the state of this building,” said councillor Janet Davis.
“We should not have to do this as a city.”
Many of the run-down, broken buildings are clustered in the downtown core and the east end; but it’s believed there are many more tenants suffering in silence elsewhere. “We only have data from wards of proactive city councilors who push the city to investigate buildings,” said Natalie Hundt, with ACORN Institute Canada.
But when it comes to landlords, as opposed to buildings, the worst in the city, is the city. Toronto Community Housing (TCH) was hit with 452 violations since 2014. The TCH, however, is the largest landlord in Canada. Having the highest number of complaints in aggregate isn’t unusual by virtue of that fact. “TCH has 2,100 buildings, just under 60,000 units, 50 million square feet of residential space, and most of our buildings are over 50 years old,” said spokesperson Lisa Murray. Rounding out the top five are Havcare Investments Inc. (174 violations), Bnai Fishel Corporation (170 violations), Arsandco Investments (145 violations) and Q REIT SUB LP (134 violations).
Relief may soon be coming for tenants living with substandard conditions. Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee recently pushed ahead a preliminary licensing framework that would force landlords to comply with bylaws or have their licenses revoked.
“We need to look at more tools that can provide more teeth and enforcement to make these landlords comply,” said Councillor Janet Davis. Backers of the move say they have a broad base of support at city council and are hopeful that licensing landlords will address the pattern of neglect in many of these buildings.