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Controversial Toronto Rental Listing Sparks Debate on Housing Crisis

A recently removed rental listing in Toronto has shed light on the difficulties faced by renters in the city. Originally posted on Facebook Marketplace, the listing advertised a shared basement room in a fully furnished townhouse for four female students. Priced at $600 per month per person, the post has sparked discussions about affordable housing in Toronto and received significant public backlash. Real estate experts have weighed in on the legality of the listing and the broader issues it represents.

The listing specified that there were no private rooms available and outlined restrictions such as no alcohol, pets, or parking. It was located in East York, near the intersection of Millwood and Overlea Blvd.

Many people, including a 23-year-old named Matt Linkert, expressed disbelief and concern upon discovering the listing while searching for rentals in Toronto. Linkert questioned its legality and expressed unease about having to share a room with four strangers. Reddit commenters echoed these sentiments and pointed out misleading aspects of the listing, such as false claims about proximity to downtown and the absence of parking.

Kevin Berry, a real estate broker with Toronto’s Peak Edge Realty, remarked that the controversial listing is not surprising given the current rental market conditions. Berry believes that such listings may become more common due to soaring rent prices and a rising homelessness rate. Desperate individuals are left with limited options, often having to choose between compromising living arrangements or facing homelessness.

Mark Weisleder, a senior partner and notary public of Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP, raised legal concerns about the listing. He pointed out that asking for a security deposit of $600 in advance violates Ontario’s regulations, as landlords are only allowed to request the first and last month’s rent prior to the tenant moving in. Prohibiting pets or alcohol is also legally questionable unless specific circumstances can be proven. Weisleder further explained that barring tenants based on gender or student status may not be discriminatory, but landlords may face legal trouble if they engage in religious-based discrimination.

If the townhouse in question is located within a condominium, Weisleder noted that the owner could be violating the building’s rules. Many condominiums have restrictions against this type of rental arrangement, and landlords who disregard these rules may face substantial fines. Weisleder warned of the potential risks associated with such rentals, particularly for international students who are often targeted and vulnerable to scams.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the challenges faced by renters in the city and the broader issues surrounding affordable housing. Share your insights and join the conversation!

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