Would you live out of your landlord’s office for $1,695 a month?
A one-bedroom apartment in the heart downtown Toronto is up for grabs — so long as you leave its office furniture as is and let the landlord hold meetings whenever they want between 11:30 a.m. anf 5 p.m. on weekdays.
According to the real estate agent that posted the unusual listing at Yonge and King Sts., the unit is ideal for a professional who works long hours and needs a place to crash in the city after late nights at the office — but tenant advocates say it’s yet another example of how Toronto is a brutal landlord’s market.
The apartment on the fifth floor of One King West Hotel & Residence has all the appearances of an office. The photos posted with the listing show it comes furnished with a small meeting table and chairs, filing cabinets, at least two desks and an office-style kitchenette stocked with plastic plates and cups. One room includes several printers, file folder organizers, multiple desktop computers and swivel desk chairs.
And none of that can be removed from the unit, according to the listing.
“Rental is based in tenant using live-work furnished unit as is, and arranging a sharing arrangement with landlord regarding use of meeting room (Monday) to (Friday) 11:30-5:30 pm,” it says.
The listing describes the unit as a one bedroom suitable for a single family, with Murphy bed included, although it is not featured in the photos.
“Some people work really hard and very long hours and they just want to stay somewhere instead of going wherever they live,” said listing agent Maria Miller, a sales representative at RE/MAX Condos Plus Corp.
Miller said that she has received plenty of interest from people looking to rent the unit as a permanent home, but said these types of candidates were unsuitable because they wanted to move the existing furniture out of the unit.
“A lot of students and a lot of single men,” she said. “It’s not really suitable for just a nice, little apartment.”
As for the sharing agreement with the landlord, Miller said that the unit is split into two rooms: one that could be used as a living area and the second, main room that is set up as an office. The agreement would allow the landlord to use the office periodically during the day.
Under a standard residential lease, a landlord must give at least 24-hours notice before entering a unit — but that’s not the case if the lease spells out another arrangement.
Under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord is able to enter with notice “for any other reasonable reason for entry specified in the tenancy agreement.”
Tenant advocates slammed the listing as an example of the challenges that tenants face in Toronto’s heated housing market.
Kenn Hale, director of legal and advocacy at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, said it was “shocking” that someone would advertise “sleeping in somebody’s office as residential rental” — and that the listing was even posted in the first place.
“I think there’s some question as to whether or not it is even covered by the Residential Tenancies Act,” Hale said. “Because if you share a kitchen and bathroom with the landlord, then you’re not covered,” leaving the potential renter with few rights, he said.
Hale said the listing is “above and beyond” what he normally sees.
According to Geordie Dent, executive director of the federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, this type of listing is not uncommon — and that’s due in large part “because it’s a landlord’s market right now” in terms of supply, with massive lists of people who need housing and prices going through the roof.
Generally speaking, he said, tenants should know their landlord is only able to enter a unit for very specific reasons, like inspections and maintenance, but that “it’s your unit — you get exclusive access to it.”
The unit was initially listed at $1,850 a month and was later reduced, according to Miller. The previous tenant was a lawyer who continues to operate a law firm in the building, she said.
Stefanie Marotta is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @StefanieMarotta
Ilya Bañares is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @ilyaoverseas