Let's say you've been househunting for a while. You've seen a lot of properties and this one catches your eye and captures your heart. Semi-detached, parking, nicely reno'd, most of the features you've been looking for, and the location...wow! South of Queen, in the heart of the Beaches, just steps to Lake Ontario.
You know the value of this location, the surrounding houses are comparable in size, shape and value and the price actually seems reasonable. The other half of the semi seems to be in poorer condition, contrasted to this shiny, staged property, but hey, that's not your concern, right?
So you buy your dream home, move in and start living the good life. But after a while you're annoyed, even offended by the lack of upkeep next door. The neighbours seem ok, but they never fix even the most conspicuous problems. Sooner or later the other neighbours tell you that's because it's Public Rental Housing and the City of Toronto is years behind on maintenance. It's unlikely things are going to get better any time soon.
Then one day you come home to find the neighbours gone and their house vacant. It stays that way for months. No one cuts the grass, the shrubs are overgrown, and the eavestroughs look like someone's starting a roof garden. You call the City of Toronto. They'll look into it. Two weeks later the grass is cut. Nothing else is done.
More time passes and another family moves in. Like most families they have their problems and sometimes these problems happen late at night. The disputes spill onto the front porch and become quite public and quite loud. Sometimes neighbours call the police, but it's a domestic disturbance and there's nothing they can do.
Then one day you come home to find your neighbours gone and their house vacant............
What would you do? Let's agree that you can't pick your neighbours, ever. But would you have bought this house had you know it was attached to Public Rental Housing? Would you have paid the same price? Did you or your Agent make any effort to investigate who lived there or owned the property next door?
I'd love to hear your comments on this article. I'll explain more about how and why this happens in Parts 2 and 3.