By Kristen Doopan, Elizabeth Oloidi and Temi Dada

165 Cosburn Ave.: garbage in the garage

165 Cosburn Ave.: garbage in the garage
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Toronto Observer's Elizabeth Oloidi and Kristen Doopan went on a tour of 165 Cosburn Ave. with one of the tenants, who asked that his real name not be used. His voice has also been altered, to protect his identity.

If you look up the city’s Municipal Licensing & Standings division, there are many buildings around the city being audited because of tenant complaints about building conditions.  In 2011 the city audited the apartment building at 165 Cosburn Ave. in East York after residents complained about property standards pertaining to the parking garage.

As seen in the document posted above, residents had filed complaints with the city commenting that the garage had large piles of garbage and leaks were very common in the space. According to the city’s documents, these issues were dealt with as of Sept. 2011. However, in more recent times, residents have filed complaints with the city about the building’s heating problems and property standards. Also,  the previous issues have not all been fixed up to the tenants’ satisfaction.

One tenant in particular, who prefers to remain anonymous and for the purpose of this article will be referred to under the pseudonym of David Smith, has been living in the building since 2008. He says the windows in his apartment are a big issue.

“The windows are single pane glass, it’s great for 1970 but they rattle whenever there is wind and it’s really cold in the winter,” Smith said.

But that isn’t the only thing he’s upset about.

“The building’s got cockroaches, but you really have to push the super[intendant] to do these things,” Smith said.

Smith has said because of slow response from the superintendents at the building, he has had to be his own handyman, over the years.

“I have had to fix things myself, like cupboard doors, which I should not have to do, but I don’t have an issue with this super, but the previous one was a real winner, but they never manage to stay a full year. I don’t know why,” he said.

Even though the building management responded to Smith’s complaints, he says the improvements still have not helped with the quality of the windows.

“They came to fix my windows, but all they did was put a spring closer on. I said the windows are rattling, they have to replace the entire building and put proper windows,” he said.

Another issue with the building, that has been an issue since 2011, is the garage.

“Right now, there’s no garbage cans in the garage, so garbage is piled in the corner,” he said.

Another tenant told the Toronto Observer that the building has not had an official superintendent since October 2016.  Smith says he has no issues with the woman now filling in, but he noticed some other tenants feel that she is not doing a great job.

“I personally, I get along with her, but there’s a section that doesn’t,” Smith said.

When we tried to reach out for an interview with the acting superintendent, she initially accepted, but then declined, saying that she would need permission from Firm Capital to speak to the media.

Toronto Observer tried to arrange an interview with the acting superintendent of the building at 165 Cosburn Ave. in East York. She told us she couldn't speak without permission of her company.

The building at 165 Cosburn Ave. is among 22 buildings owned by Westbury Rentals across the GTA. The parent company is Firm Capital, a “boutique real estate and financial services private equity investment company deploying capital opportunistically between debt and equity in the real estate public and private markets,” as the website says.

Here is a link to the Westbury Rentals website with a full list of all the buildings it manages, including 165 Cosburn Ave:  westburyrentals.com/buildings-available

Joel Cash is a senior executive of Firm Capital, and works as the Director of Property Management, and is the senior property manager for all Westbury Rentals. When Toronto Observer approached him for an interview about the building’s conditions or the new city bylaws, Cash declined.

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The e-mail that accompanied the letter sent to Joel Cash and his response to our request for an interview.

Elizabeth Oloidi/Toronto Observer

An ML&S spokesperson, Tammy Robbinson, says that the new bylaw clamping down on problem landlords will not come into effect until July 1st, which means if these issues were not attended to, landlords and property managers will be held accountable. This is not to say tenants will have the rights to file complaints about anything, as the city will have to investigate to ensure the issues are truly unacceptable for proper living conditions.

Tenant David Smith said he isn’t planning to move out of the building, despite its issues.

“They need to replace the whole building, but this is one of the better apartments,” he said.

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