This week, the federal government in its pre-election budget did something they always do; produce smoke and mirrors and buy your votes with your own money. The question is, why do Canadians fall for this strategy every single time? The Wynne government did it with rent control and now the federal liberals are at it again.
I was at the Toronto City Council with the Planning and Housing Committee and this is what I had to say.
I think we can all agree that housing is a necessity and not a luxury. In a city like Toronto, creating more housing has become incredibly imperative. Making secondary suites easily attainable would go a long way to ease the housing crisis that our city faces. Secondary suites can help make an expensive home more affordable for someone to buy. It also creates a more affordable space for someone else to live.
As a real estate agent, home owner and landlord, I see it as a win-win. I do feel that it’s important to remove as many road blocks as possible so that more secondary suites can be created quickly. Requiring a secondary suite to have parking is unnecessary as many people don’t have cars. They live close to transit so I’m glad to hear that the parking requirements have been reduced. It’s important to choose people over cars.
Making the creation of secondary suites easy to implement is an inexpensive way for the City of Toronto to increase its housing supply. Secondary suites can also help homeowners qualify for mortgages given the high price of houses in the city.
The front wall restriction
I also wanted to mention the front wall restriction that states that an entrance can’t be created if the main wall faces the street. So entrances to secondary suites can only be at the back? If someone wants to create a secondary suite badly enough, they are forced to demolish the entire house and start from scratch. Which doesn’t allow for the character of the neighbourhood to remain. It’s difficult for home owners to create side entrances as the city currently. There needs to be a 1 meter easement between the house and the neighbouring property line. Something that a few properties in Toronto have.
If the city is going to truly simplify the process of creating secondary suites, they need to look at the building permit process and its requirements. If the city doesn’t do this, home owners will continue to create apartments illegally which have the potential to be unsafe. Increasing secondary suites is not just about increasing housing supply, it’s about creating safer places to live.
Currently, the building permit department requires a separate heating source. So one of my clients was forced to add in electrical baseboard heaters because her basement wasn’t large enough for a second furnace. Baseboard electrical heating will drive up the heating costs for her tenant. Another client was forced to create a more expensive entrance to her basement apartment as she was told that the easement between her property and her property line had to be a meter. Even though there was a meter between her property and the next house.
I’ve personally experienced inspectors making exorbitant requests in plumbing. Only to return to the house a few weeks later to change their minds. Meanwhile, the home-owner has spent more money than necessary, and the basement apartment has taken longer to build. All of these factors add up to creating delays and more expensive housing for tenants. This happens as home-owners try to recoup their costs to create secondary suites.
Allowing secondary suites for homes in Toronto should definitely be allowed by the planning department, however, unless it comes with an overhaul of the building permit department, these changes could be all for not.
I think it’s also important to note that household sizes are
changing. According to Statscan, there are now more single households than
households that have couples with kids. These secondary suites are ideal for
our growing single population.
Allowing secondary suites to have a fast and easy
implementation is extremely important for the future of housing in our city.
Here it is! I made a map that easily visualizes what the average price of 1-bedroom and 2 bedroom condos were according to their sale prices in 2018. I’ve kept it to a 0.5km radius around each TTC station so that the condos are walking distance. Now you can hunt in the market armed with better knowledge!
How much does a condo in Toronto cost based on the sales within the past year? We have done all the heavy lifting for you so you don’t have to. Here’s an easy graphic of prices within a 0.3km radius of each TTC subway station!
I know you think that prices can’t get much higher and you don’t want to think about what life might be like for you 20 years from now but trust me, real estate prices will become more expensive. I know you think that some areas of the city aren’t great but trust me, 20 years from now everyone will want to be in this neighbourhood. Continue Reading
Your dream canvas awaits your creative touches! This Dovercourt Village home has 3 bedrooms + den and 2 car parking located on a quiet family friendly stretch of Delaware. The area offers some of the best upscale and casual dining in the city and is a short walk to shops, great parks and public transit. With a walk score of 91 you have everything you need just a short stroll away!
House sold in as-is condition.
How can you win in the real estate game if you want to become a real estate investor?
1. Start young
This means you, millennials! There is nothing better than having time on your side to watch your real estate assets grow. Over 5, 10, 15, 20 years, your real estate will appreciate. Continue Reading
Let’s talk about your goals this year.