What has been your experience with affordable housing in Greater Toronto area

What has been your experience with affordable housing in Greater Toronto area

I have grave concerns.I am one of the lucky ones who bought my home 12 years ago just before the market went crazy and in todays market I would not even be able to afford to rent the house I have now, never mind even think about being able to afford to own it and I make a decent salary.My house in a mere 12 years is now worth about 3 times what I paid for it which in some home owners eyes is great but in my eyes is scary for current and future generations as salaries are not anywhere close to keeping up with these huge increases.

A friend of mine bought a condo pre-construction 4 years ago and just moved in finally a few months ago – due to housing inflation on both rental and house sales during that 4 year waiting period she is actually paying less money in mortgage and common expenses than what she had been paying in rent.I have friends who have been renting a tiny loft apartment who pay about the same amount per month to rent as I do to own a whole house and that’s only because they have been there for 11 years now and they are absolutely kicking themselves now that they didn’t buy 11 years ago as now they can’t move as anything else comparable to what they are now renting has now increased by at least $500 – $1k per month to what they are paying now.They are looking at buying either a condo or small house outside of the GTA as they are both semi-retired now and while their income isn’t increasing houses costs are going through the roof whether rental or owning.

They are one of the lucky ones who have received inheritances where they can actually afford to buy although not in the GTA and being basically retired (the work they do is from home) they don’t have to be reliant on having to travel to and from an office daily.Other friends have been renting the same apartment for 20+ years so they are also the lucky ones as their rent can only go up a certain percentage every year unless the owner does major renovations which is a constant threat but even a greater threat is many of them are being offered $20k+ to move out of their current apartments as the owners can then charge whatever they want for those apartments which by current market rates are in some cases $1,500 more per month.$20k sounds like a lot of money but unless one can afford to move outside of the city and rent or buy they are looking at the same increase in monthly expenses if they stay in the city which is simply un-affordable but for most they have no choice as they need to be in a commutable distance to their jobs in order to pay rent/mortgage at all and that $20k will be eaten up within a year on the extra rental costs.

These landlords will do whatever they can to get these people out even to outright lying saying that a family member needs to move in which is so unfair not to mention illegal.I feel so sad for the young people trying to get a start in life as although housing costs have increased so dramatically over the past 10 years, salaries have not kept up to speed and you will often see 6 or more people sharing a 2 bedroom apartment renting out for over $2k a month in order just to put some kind of roof over their heads.So unfair.

If one is willing to move north to Markham or east to the Whitby/Oshawa area you can still find some half decent rental prices (forget Mississauga as that area has gone crazy too) but then you are looking at extra transportation costs on the GO Train and depending on the location of your office TTC costs on top or buy and maintain a car (if there is parking is available where you rent which in many cases is not) which can easily add an additional $500+ per month so the savings in rent can quickly be eaten up by the commute costs just to get to work unless you are lucky enough where you can work from home most days.I myself am a landlord and rent out a basement bachelor apartment in my home (brand new construction with high quality materials including a full kitchen with a new stove, fridge, brand new bathroom, access to laundry (included in the rent) with all utilities included ….that I myself lived in for a few months while the rest of my renos were being completed upstairs as I wanted the space to be really nice and somewhere that I myself would live in) but purposely charge only about half of what the going market rental rate is in my area (which is walking distance to both the subway and GO Train so a highly desirable area) plus throw in free cable and internet to try and help out in a small way plus gives me a little bit extra to manage my own expenses.

In addition I also offer further rental discounts if my tenant is willing to help me out with small things such as snow shoveling and gardening or walking my dogs on occasion – but only if they want to.My first tenant, being on his own for the first time was so amazed at the great deal and although he received the discount he never helped out at all and in fact wouldn’t even take out his own garbage and threw it in the the back yard for me to have to take out but I never increased his rent.He decided to move back in with his mother to my relief after a year but had done over $1k in damages that he promised to pay back which of course I never saw.

As the space, location and rent is so amazing I rented it out the very first day and everyone who came to view wanted to rent it.My new tenant is more mature and extremely appreciative of the extremely affordable rent, is respectful and not only puts out his own garbage but has done some amazing gardening that I never expected.Although he does not yet know it, his rent next month will be further reduced.

Just my little way of trying to help out.I do wish more landlords were of the same mindset as it’s not about making a huge profit off the backs of those less fortunate but to try and give a helping hand to those that need it.But there are two sides to every coin as many tenants, as my last one, treat the space in a destructive and inconsiderate manner which can cost the landlord thousands of dollars to repair and in their eyes just isn’t worth it to rent out the available space in their homes or end up not fixing the damage created by the previous tenants and rent out spaces that are barely livable for a high rental cost for that very reason.

Although yes, you can take a tenant to court and even win costs, good luck on actually collecting the costs awarded.A friend of mine went though a nightmare situation with a tenant who not only destroyed the unit but purposely and maliciously also put food to attract bugs under all of the carpets in the unit, refused to pay rent (which was far below market rates as like me, my friend just wanted to help out others in a less fortunate situation) and even had the nerve to take my friend to court over the bug problem she herself purposely created to get out of paying rent.The Judge threw the case out of court, directed the tenant to move out in addition to paying all of the back rent owed and costs for the damage she created (which was far more than just the bugs).

The tenant did move but my friend never saw a dime in the awarded damage costs and just felt it wasn’t worth her time to go back to court.She ended up having to fumigate the entire house and paid for the repair costs from her own pocket.She now refuses to rent out to anyone as she says she will never go through that again.

So she has a perfectly livable unit that sits there empty.Others I know who have gone through similar situations either refuse to rent or go the Airbnb route.So although there is a huge shortage of apartments available for longer term rentals in the GTA there are many home owners that do have apartments available that they simply refuse to rent out as they have found it’s more trouble than what it’s worth to them and in the end actually cost them more money in repairs than what they even collected in rent.

For years now my Realtor (who over the years has become a close friend) is saying the bubble is going to burst and although there have been slowdowns in price increases the prices still continue to rise and now there is a lack of homes even available to buy or rent which is driving up costs even more.My feeling is the bubble will eventually burst as there will be very few left that can afford to pay these crazy prices – I know for a fact that most young people who have bought in my area over the past 5 years have had substantial financial help from their parents in order to do so and not everyone has the means to do so.As the older generation dies off who will be left to help them?

Total frustration.I have on the board of three highrise, affordable housing complexes in Toronto, for a major charity for about 15 years.The Ontario government will finance construction of more geared to income units BUT, we have to compete with the private sector for land.

We just cannot pay the same price as a condominium developer.The concept is that we can find donors who will donate land to us for a hefty tax receipt.That worked well in the past but given today’s outrageous prices who is going to give up millions for a tax receipt that will yield them far less?

A few years ago, Toronto needed 200,000 affordable housing units.My guess right now, we are near to 300,000 as prices in Toronto from rentals to starter homes has rapidly escalated.

I don’t think there is much of it from what I hear but some areas are a little better than others.If you are willing to do a longer commute on subways and buses you may find something relatively affordable but I think there are people who have had to think outside the box.I have a friend who purchased a second hand trailer in the Kawartha’s and she has had an addition built on.

She lives quite comfortably up there on her pension in the summer and spends the winter living in similar accommodations in Florida.By doing this she is living a fairly comfortable life on her pension.If that is not an option one may want to look into sharing someone’s home in exchange for some duties in order to get a lower rent.

There may be quite a few seniors interested in that arrangement.Another friend rents out a bedroom in her basement for a reasonable rent.The tenant has access to a furnished sitting room, TV , cable and wifi included and use of a fully equipped kitchen, However it is on the understanding that is stays impeccably clean and accessible by the owner whenever she wants (which is never).

As a social worker involved in care of older adults and seniors, it is a real challenge to help them to access affordable housing on pension income in the GTA.My clients have had to move out of the area in order to live on the income that they have.This includes not only rent, but utilities, food, medication copays, transportation and so forth.

There is little left over for any extras that contribute to one’s quality of life.Related to this concern, I was devastated at the early termination of the Basic Income pilot program.There is so much promise in this project – illustrating the benefits to recipients and spin off benefits in the area of education, work and quality of life.

My mantra is “each according to his means and his needs”.And “there but for the grace of God go I”.I have a profession, two jobs and own my home and feel grateful for that.

A leg up has been given to me in times of hardship and I’ve recovered my footing.Others can do the same and I don’t resent the extra help they need.

For the average family there is no such thing as affordable housing.A typical 2 bedroom condo would cost around $800,000.With $100,000 down the mortgage would be about $3,000 per month.

Condo fees would add $500 to that plus $250 in taxes, plus heat and electricity.This is something like 75% of a mddle class family’s take home pay.Renting a place, if you can find one would be $2,500 to $3,500 per month.

Housing is far from affordable in the City of Toronto every home that is 1.5 mil or under has bidding wars