A homeowner and a renter share their experiences at Trinity Bellwoods: ‘You’re just going, “I have no control”’

A homeowner and a renter share their experiences at Trinity Bellwoods: ‘You’re just going, “I have no control”’

Join us as we make our way through the city chatting with Torontonians about the issues they’re watching this federal election. In the second part of this series, we speak to a pair of friends (and their French bulldog!) at the Trinity Bellwoods dog park about the challenges with renting or trying to own a home in the city.

Bre Dillon had to move three times because her landlords kept wanting to sell their home. The lack of security got so frustrating that when she inherited some money, she and her partner jumped at the chance to buy a condo in Liberty Village almost four years ago, excited to have a place to call her own.

“We feel really fortunate, obviously, to be out of the renting world because rents are just crazy,” Dillon, 36, says. “You’re just going, ‘I have no control.’”

Housing affordability is one of the major issues looming over the Oct. 21 federal election. The Star approached Dillon and her friend Allie Dunbar at Trinity Bellwoods, where Dunbar’s French bulldog, Chucky, was scampering around playing in the dog park, to talk about the struggles around renting and owning a home in Toronto.

The pair said they’re interested in discussions around the issue on the campaign trail, particularly in the light of numerous instances of contentious eviction attempts.

“I don’t think it’s being addressed enough and I know people are protesting,” Dillon says. “I hope it gets addressed more.”

Allie Dunbar, left, lives in a rental apartment on Queen St. W. with her French bulldog, Chucky, while Bre Dillon bought a home in Liberty Village.

She says part of the solution could be creating more buildings dedicated to rental housing.

Dunbar, 34, has been renting ever since she moved to Toronto seven years ago. She’s been in her current apartment, a one-bedroom with a big patio above a shop on Queen St. W., for years now.

“My rent is $1,425 which is not cheap but every time I tell someone that and they’re in my apartment, they’re like, ‘This is amazing,’” says Dunbar, an actor and small business owner. That’s why even when she and a partner, who initially shared the home with her, broke up, she refused to let go of the space.

“Every now and then I go on MLS or Realtor.ca and get all excited and think I can pull things together (to buy a home) and can’t. It’s just too expensive,” Dunbar says. “I’m not going to be able to travel at all, I’m not going to be able to go out for dinner if I own this place.

“I don’t know anyone who owns a place who wasn’t given an inheritance or a huge amount of money for a down payment, even my friend who has a really high-paying job,” Dunbar says.

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Sahar Fatima
Evelyn Kwong

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