Driven mostly by seemingly unrelenting gains in Toronto, the condo sector of Ontario has enjoyed much increased volume and expansion over the past few years, but the engineering troubles currently plaguing a Burlington building are threatening to upend the lives of its tenants in an already overheated market.
A decades-old condo complex at 2411 New St. has drawn much argument and legal attention—and none are more concerned than the current tenants, who have seen the value of their investments drop to almost nothing due to the rapidly deteriorating state of their building.
“It looks like welfare. Most people probably don't know this is a condo,” long-time occupant Joe Gillis told the Hamilton Spectator
of the structure’s litany of woes, which include cracked walls and floors, corroded balcony railings, and exposed reinforcing bars.
Gillis said that purchased his unit for around $84,000 nearly two decades ago, but continuous growth in the market along with non-stop increases in bills have gradually eaten at the value of his aging unit.
In response, the condo corporation filed a $20 million lawsuit 6 years ago, naming various parties like several engineers, a Hamilton real estate company, and even the City of Burlington as responsible for the building’s decrepit state.
Just a year later, 26 of the unit owners sued the condo corporation itself. This particular lawsuit is projected to go on trial in January 2017.
In a statement released early April, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring noted that the building remains “structurally sound” and complies with existing building codes.
“I certainly understand that there are challenges for residents at this building — challenges they have expressed to the city,” Goldring said. “We have asked our legal team to set the record straight by providing accurate information to respond to factually incorrect information posted online.”
To date, none of the lawsuits have been satisfactorily settled, leaving tenants like Gillis in a nail-biting limbo of near-zero equity and a city government that is seemingly not willing to bail them out.
“It's kind of a crazy situation for anybody to be in. A lot of people are just getting fed up,” he said.