Mapping Toronto's Rental Complaints
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.




Mapping Toronto’s Rental Complaints

A look at licensing and standards data shows that older high-rises in priority neighbourhoods receive the most complaints.

Data from MLS Investigations (minus election signs and fences) from March 31, 2013 to April 1, 2015. Map by Sean Marshall.

If you’re wondering which Toronto rental properties are most likely to receive licensing and standards complaints, there’s a clear trend. High-rise rental properties built between the 1950s and 1970s, in or adjacent to Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (previously known as priority neighbourhoods), are most likely to be in need of repairs, and some severely so.

The map above shows properties with at least 25 open investigations resulting in notices or orders as of April 1, 2015, and/or investigations closed within the last two years (since March 31, 2013). There are over 50,000 orders and notices for over 10,000 properties in the database, and Torontoist takes a closer look below.

Most of the properties mapped are multi-residential rental buildings; most are found in the inner suburbs, or in the Church-Wellesley, St. Jamestown, Midtown and Parkdale neighbourhoods of the old City of Toronto, where many older rental towers are located. A disproportionate number of problematic residential properties can be found in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas—25 of the 40 properties with at least 100 ML&S notices or orders are in NIAs (Search by address here).

Many ML&S investigations are the results of neighbours’ complaints of improper waste disposal, graffiti, long grass, unkempt grounds, or fence disputes; these complaints are distributed all over the city. These are usually quickly solved, resulting in only one or a handful of orders issued.

Multi-unit residential buildings are subject to both complaint-based and pro-active enforcement. Most buildings have few or any problems. But a small handful of others, particularly large rental housing complexes, both private and TCHC, are responsible for the vast majority of the ML&S staff’s notices and orders to comply. Troubled buildings might have dozens, even hundreds of violations, ranging from poor groundskeeping, to poor interior lighting, to more cringe-worthy deficiencies such as failures to guard against pest infestations, leaking pipes, damaged and stained ceilings and walls, and unsanitary waste collection and storage. Failure to comply with enforcement officers’ orders can result in prosecution.

All of the properties with over 100 records in the database are rental high-rise or townhouse complexes, both privately owned and TCHC properties. Of the 10 worst offenders, five are private rentals, five are TCHC, and all were built between 1950 and 1975. The worst offender, 1501 Woodbine Avenue (at O’Connor Drive), is a private rental tower, with 735 records – 633 still open as of April 1. The property with the next most records in the database is 31-85 Gilder Drive, a TCHC complex of three high-rise buildings built in 1970, has 414 orders and notices recorded in the database.

The top ten buildings:

  • 1501 Woodbine Avenue, private high-rise—735 orders/notices
  • 31-85 Gilder Drive—TCHC complex of three high-rise buildings, built in 1970—414 orders/notices
  • 4301-4331 Kingston Road—TCHC high-rise/townhouses, built in 1972—232 orders/notices
  • 20-50 Falstaff Avenue–TCHC complex with three high-rises, built 1970—210 orders/notices
  • 2 Regal Road—private mid-rise rental—203 orders/notices
  • 2739-2743 Victoria Park Avenue—TCHC twin-tower complex, built in 1971—201 orders/notices
  • 85-95 Thorncliffe Park Blvd (Leaside Towers)—private high-rises—198 orders/notices
  • 402-444 Lumsden Avenue (Agnes MacPhail Residences)—TCHC, built in 1969—175 orders/notices
  • 3967 Lawrence Ave East—Private high-rise—170 orders/notices
  • 126 Bellamy Road North—Private high-rise—169 orders/notices