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article imageThe truth behind co-op housing

By KJ Mullins     Sep 26, 2010 in World
Toronto - In Toronto there are plenty of co-ops but non-residents are not always sure what they are. Many think of co-op as city housing for low income residents. They would be wrong.
While some of those who reside in co-ops have subsidized rent many more pay market value for their units each month. Economic backgrounds are blended into a core community with everyone helping each other in the community.
Toronto housing is expensive. For those in the mid to low middle class there are few economical choices. For those who are not in the position to join the home owner status co-op housing is an alternative to apartment dwelling.
A press release from Toronto Real Estate Board reported that rentals are becoming more popular in Toronto. TREB Members reported 6,712 leased condominium apartments and townhomes, up 18 percent from 5,673 transactions recorded during the same time-period last year. Rents on those rentals have increased as well.
"Average rents climbed in all apartment categories, with the benchmark two-bedroom apartment rent averaging $1,937 across all TREB districts - up three percent from the average of $1,873 recorded in 2009. "
In Toronto there are 17,000 co-op units. To be honest, there are few subsidized units available in Toronto. Once a family moves into a co-op they tend to stay. This holds true for those who pay market price for their units. One of the reasons is that market value units tend to be less expensive than other rental units in Toronto. For instance a 3 bedroom unit at Harbourside Co-op at the base of Bathurst and Queen's Quay rents for just under $1,300.
Co-ops are member controlled housing. The members are responsible for the running of the co-op making the decisions on will take place. Those decisions can range from the amount of money for a social committee to spend annually to re-roofing the units. Each member of the co-op has a vote. Every year members elect a Board of Directors from within the community who oversee the major details of the co-op.
Co-ops do not have a landlord. The office is generally staffed by an office manager who answers to the board. Unlike yearly rent increases that landlords charge co-ops base their rents on the finances of the co-op. Each year a budget is voted on and if there needs to be a housing charge increase it reflects the true costs and not a profit margin.
Once a person becomes a member of a co-op they don't have to worry about being evicted unless they break the co-op's by-laws.
To become a member of a co-op one has to begin with an application. Once the application has been turned in the members of the co-op will do a background check and then set up an interview before you are approved. Once a unit becomes available and you have completed the application process you will be offered a unit.
Those who need a subsidy can also apply to Housing Connections in Toronto. The list though is very long and limited and for some can take years before a unit becomes available.
More about Co-op, Toronto, Rental units, Housing
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