Toronto condo defers residents' fees amid coronavirus outbreak

The pandemic continues to wreak social and economic havoc

Toronto condo defers residents' fees amid coronavirus outbreak

A condo in Liberty Village, Toronto has postponed its residents’ April fees, and an official has expressed hopes that other buildings will follow this example.

“I think it’s the responsible thing to do,” according to Craig Gagliano, board president at the Toy Factory Lofts.

“It occurred to me that along with a mortgage payment, usually you have a maintenance-fee payment if you live in a condo,” he told the Toronto Star, noting that the idea was inspired by major banks’ decisions to defer their clients’ bills.

Over the past few weeks, multiple quarters have urged financial institutions to freeze payments, amid the mobility restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the most prominent voices was Ken Neumann of United Steelworkers, who warned that “measures announced so far by governments are not enough.”

“Time away from work to stop the spread of the virus should not mean loss of income, regardless of job or workplace. Unpaid job-protected leave doesn’t pay the bills,” Neumann stated. “As federal and provincial governments in Canada take actions to limit the spread of the virus, we must ensure workers are supported and protected.”

Mark Keast, who has lived at the Lofts since 2008, was among those who welcomed Gagliano’s policy change. He and his wife are normally charged $507 in maintenance monthly.

“We jumped on it right away. It’s just going to be an enormous help to help us get through the next six, seven weeks,” Keast said. “What the board here has decided to do — it helps take the pressure off. We’re all in the same great unknown here. For them to be proactive like that, we just really appreciate it.”