Problems At The Printing Factory Lofts?

Condos | January 29, 2014

In this business, you truly learn something new every day.

And last week, I encountered a situation that I had never seen before, with a building that is now in major financial peril, and where the sale of existing units has massive hurdles.

I love this building, and I’ve been pumping up this area for quite some time, but if 201 Carlaw Ave is now on the “don’t insure” list by the three major Canadian mortgage insurers, it means buyers have no choice but to stay away…


I’ve only ever had two deals fall through on the solicitor’s review of a condominium’s Status Certificate, and unfortunately, that second one took place last week.

I would probably give the first one an asterisk, since the deal falling through had nothing to do with the building’s finances.

Stop me if you’ve heard this story, but two summers ago, I met a would-be condo-buyer who had just inherited a large sum of money from her mother.  The catch?  The mother left ALL of her money to this lady, and NONE of it to the lady’s brother.

She purchased a unit at 33 Mill Street, and all the while, the brother was discouraging her not to.  We got the Status Certificate, and her lawyer – who was her brother’s best pal told her there were “major, major issues” in the building, and not to proceed with the purchase.

I think, in fact – I’m almost certain, that the brother just didn’t want his sister to blow the dead mother’s money on a condo, and instead, he wanted her to keep it in cash so he could get at it.  The fact that he had his friend review the Status Certificate and claim there were issues in a building where units routinely sell every day, only confirms my theory.  The unit sold to somebody else a week later, and that buyer firmed up the deal in two days.

So that deal falling through on the review of a Status Certificate doesn’t really count.

My latest sale at 201 Carlaw Avenue does…

201 Carlaw Avenue, or “The Printing Factory Lofts,” is a three or four year old building, with a hard loft conversion on the first two levels, and 5-storey soft loft addition above.

It’s the southern-most condominium on Carlaw Avenue, and is literally steps to Queen Street, and it’s always been one of my favourites in Leslieville – even though I’ve never sold in there.

I’ve shown a dozen or so units in the building, but as luck would have it, nobody has ever pulled the trigger.

A couple weeks ago, a young buyer-client fell in love with a $300K, 1-bed, 1-bath unit in the building that was exactly what she was looking for.  The unit had 10-foot ceilings, polished concrete floors, a large balcony with a gas-BBQ line, and tons of storage for a 560 square foot unit!

Some buyers just “know” when they see it, and my client was ready to move on the unit.

We reached a deal the next day, and I gave her my speech about how the Status Certificate review is often a “rubber stamp,” and that it was nothing to worry about.

After all – I had never had a deal fall through (legitimately) on a review of a Status.

I told her that when a lawyer reviews a Status, he’s looking for major red flags, some of which pertain to the unit, and some of which pertain to the building.

In the unit, you want to know if there are any outstanding maintenance fees, if the taxes are paid up, if any rules or regulations have been broken, if any renovations have been done without consent, etc.

In the building, you want to know if there are any claims or judgements against the condominium corporation, if the condominium corporation is party to any lawsuit (whether they are suing, or being sued), if maintenance fees are scheduled to increase, if there are any special assessments, and if the reserve fund is healthy and adequate.

As I said – I’ve never had a deal fall through because of some glaring red flag, but despite that, we still ALWAYS do a review of the Status Certificate, just in case.

Before my client even obtained the Status Certificate, however, I received a phone call from my mortgage broker, Joe Sammut, to whom I refer all my buyer clients for their mortgage needs.

My client had done a pre-approval with Joe, and we were in the process of getting her a firm mortgage committment from a lender.

Joe called me, and simply said, “The deal on Carlaw is dead.”

Now I know Joe to be the best mortgage broker in the business, and by that I don’t mean that he can beat anybody’s rate by 0.01%.  Those of you that are solely motivated by rate are often missing the point.  Knowledge, experience, contacts – these things count, and Joe can get the higher-ups of any lending institution on the phone at the snap of a finger, which is often a tremendous asset.

Joe’s experience and knowledge is unsurpassed, and thus when he tells me, “The deal on Carlaw is dead,” instead of responding with a knee-jerk reaction like most people would, and saying, “What?  Why?  What can we do?  How do we handle this?  Where do we go from here?”  I immediately knew that the pig was pooched.

“That’s too bad, I hear ya,” I said.  “Now give me the story.”

For those of you that are familiar with the ins and outs of mortgage insurance, you can skip this section.  But for the rest of you, remember that any mortgage in Canada that is greater than 80% loan-to-value ratio has to be insured.  That means that people making down-payments of 5%, 10%, or 15% have to get mortgage insurance on the balance.

Most people only know CMHC as the mortgage insurer, but there are actually two other insurers: Genworth and Canada Guaranty.

Sure, CMHC probably has an 80% market share, or more, but Genworth and Canada Guaranty are other options as well; they just don’t happen to be crown corporations like CMHC…

My client was making a down-payment of less than 20% – call it 15% or 10% or 5% – it doesn’t matter.  This means that the rest of the mortgage had to be insured, and that’s where the problems started.

Joe was surprised to find through his lenders that CMHC would not approve the mortgage for the property at 201 Carlaw Avenue.  The lenders were eager to lend (Scotia, TD, and BMO were fighting over the business), but it was all a moot point.

Joe then called his contacts at Genworth and CG, and both of them turned down the deal as well.

Mortgage insurers have a proverbial “Sh!t List,” for lack of a better term (although if this is indeed what they call it, then why not tell it like it is!), that consists of condominiums that they simply will not provide mortgage insurance for.

201 Carlaw Avenue happens to be on these dirty lists for all three of CMHC, Genworth, and CG.

What that means, in case I’m not making it abundantly clear, is that no unit at 201 Carlaw Avenue can sell unless the buyer has a 20% down payment.

And that spells major, major trouble for this building.

By now, you’re probably all wondering WHY this is, and let me address that.

The mortgage insurers already knew what we were about to find out by reviewing the condominium’s Status Certificate, and that is the following…

The 2011 Reserve Fund Study showed significant budget shortfalls, and it was suggested that contributions to the reserve fund increase significantly, with a whopping 43% increase slated for 2013.

On November 28th, 2012, the condominium corporation at 201 Carlaw Avenue enacted a by-law that allowed them to borrow $2,000,000 in cash, without further approval of the unit owners.

On April 13th, 2013, a letter was sent to all unit owners that detailed the following:

“The Corporation took out a $2 Million loan from Laurentian Bank which was meant to top the Reserve Fund and help pay for various repairs, many of which the Corporation believes result from original construction deficiencies.  As a result, the Board of directors considers that the Reserve Fund is now adequate, and has decided not to follow the Reserve Fund Study circulated to all owners in 2011.”

They also noted:

“Legal fees have increased in order to fund the legal action the corporation has commenced against the developer, the architects, and the City of Toronto.”


It is not uncommon for condominium corporations to sue the developer of the building – this happens all the time.  It’s not the litigation that concerns me, or the lawyers.

It’s the fact that the condo corporation took out a $2,000,000 loan, with interest, I might add.

But it gets worse.

There’s $1.6M due in a balloon payment in 2018 when the loan expires.

What does the condominium corporation hope to get out of this?

Are they taking that $2M, at 4.97% interest, and putting it all on Black-22 at the roulette wheel?

They’re going to use this money for repairs – I get it.  But where do they get the $1.6M in 2018?

In the end, it doesn’t matter to me.  Or to any of you really.

It’s such a shame, because this is a gorgeous building, in an area that has truly taken off in the last few years, but if a mortgage insurer won’t provide insurance, then units really can’t be bought and sold with the ease we’re accustomed to in Toronto.

I mean, sure, you could buy a unit here if you had 20% down.

But would your lawyer approve this mess?

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  1. Scotty

    at 9:14 am

    Oh Wow.

    I bought pre-con here. And sold immediately after it registered because it all felt wrong and bad.

    I could go on and on about how awfult he developer was at communicating (20+ emails and phone calls with no reply?). We had then install polished concrete floors. And they hired a company that only did commercial work, not residential. It was so so awful that a group banded together to threaten the developer to fix it (this was during the pdi process).

    Speaking of the pdi, when I went in to do it, there were workers painting the walls, the island was incomplete in pieces, and one of the construction workers was peeing in our bathroom with the door open. No lie.

    I am so glad we got out!

  2. Mel

    at 9:56 am

    Ummmm… how do you have our Corporations private financial statements circulated to residents? And exactly why are you publishing this on the web? Also judging by the amount of real estate agents traipsing people in and out of our building all of the time, and the amount of time units in our building are on the market, I think you may have incorrect information. From what I can see in your “blog” there is a whole bunch of second hand whispering that has lead you to these conclusions. By writing these things you are hurting those of us that own in the building. You are not privileged to our private AGMs, and do not have all of the information.

    As a resident I will be contacting my litigator, as you are causing me financial harm with your “blog”.

    1. Geoff

      at 10:04 am

      Yeah good idea Mel. Way to add another $10K to your legal budget line.

      PS It seems to me your Board (are you a member, I wonder…) is causing you actual financial harm, not this “blog” (PS what’s the deal with the quotes – I’m sure you also ask, what is this “Book of Faces” ? often).

      1. Mel

        at 10:36 am

        I love when people react like you Geoff, when you don’t have a valid point take the low road.

        I’m not on the board. I’m referring to my personal lawyer, not the Corp’s lawyer. I firmly believe that people should be taught that there are consequences to your actions.

        I could say a few choice words about people in the Real Estate profession, however I don’t need to go that route to make myself feel like a big man.

        1. Lem

          at 10:51 am

          I’d be inclined to save my pennies in anticipation of a large levy in, say, 2018…..right around when that $1.6M balloon payment is due.

          1. Hawk

            at 10:41 pm

            The $2 million is just for now. What other secrets is the board hiding from the owners and any prospective buyers? It seems to me the consumers need protection from buyers like Mel who want to hide their condo’s problems.

        2. David Fleming

          at 11:14 am

          @ Mel

          My blog, or “blog” as you put it, is for informational purposes, and contains my opinions.

          This is no different than a movie critic saying, “I didn’t like this movie.”

          Have your lawyer sue every food critic, movie critic, etc.

          I’m sorry that your building is in throuble, I really am. I love this building, and it’s a shame to see it having problems. But if the Globe & Mail (I know, I know, I run a “blog” and I’m not a newspaper) published a story about the building, you likely wouldn’t have your lawyer contact the Globe.

          I suggest you save your money in legal fees, but something tells me you like a good fight.

          I usually don’t engage people in these discussions (and something tells me there will be another dozen angry comments from residents in the building once you spread the word), but the concept of “consequences to your actions” makes it sound as though my actions contain any fault or liability, when they do not. Let’s not get into a debate of “my lawyer is better than your lawyer,” but after seven years and 1,300 blog posts – this ain’t my first rodeo…

          1. Sam

            at 11:22 am

            I don’t know why you responded to this guy.
            He’s a fool and you should just let him run around in circles until he falls over.
            This isn’t the first building to have financial issues, and it won’t be the last. He’s just upset because it’s the building he calls home.

          2. Anon

            at 12:09 pm

            Anger trumps reason and logic. You cannot argue with residents in the building who will refuse to see that they monumentally screwed up by voting for this loan, and subsequently hung themselves via CMHC in the process. I’m sure this post will be emailed around by the property manager at PFL and you’ll have about 100 comments by Friday.

    2. Lem

      at 10:28 am

      Give your head a shake Mel. Do you really believe there is anything contained in this post that wouldn’t be caught by a Status Certificate Review by any potential buyer? You’re already screwed regardless of what’s in this blog post

      1. Mel

        at 10:42 am

        Potential buyers can see the complete picture and make up their mind. It is not for David or any real estate agent to be publishing financial documentation for the world to see.

        1. RPG

          at 11:17 am

          So you think the ONE real estate agent in the city of Toronto who routinely acts openly and honestly, and tells the truth about a business that even you suggest is flawed, is somehow acting inappropriately now that he’s talking about YOUR building?

          I bet you’re a regular reader, and you loved this blog, until today.

          David spelled out that:
          1) mortgage insurers won’t insure high ratio purchases here
          2) the condo corporation took out a $2M policy

          If neither of those facts are incorrect, then you have no claim for harm.

          The rest is just opinion, and the Internet is full of opinion.

        2. Geoff

          at 11:24 am

          First, clearly a joke comment. Relax.

          Second, it’s a free country; I don’t care what you say about the real estate profession (or my actual one for the matter).

          Third, I agree with Lem you should save up for the special assessment coming your way.

          Fourth, good luck with your lawsuit. Not being a lawyer but a reasonably educated person with a background in constitutional law, I think you’re going to have a hard time proving damages, unless you want to argue a libel charge, in which case the truth is always a defence (hence the idea of ‘investigative journalism’.) But knock yourself out, I don’t care. Seacrest out.

    3. ScottyP

      at 12:26 pm

      If David were to encourage one his buyer-clients to consider a unit in this building — with 1.6m to be paid off by residents in 2018 alone — he could be held liable for failing to disclose this information.

      Every reader of this blog is a potential buyer-client. Therefore, David is doing his readers a service by disclosing this (public, not “private”) information for their reference.

      Save your money instead of blowing it on lawyer’s fees, Mel. 2018 isn’t that far away….

    4. Ryan

      at 7:37 pm

      Mel, you are a total moron. Please go back to whatever hole you crawled out of.

    5. Schmidtz

      at 2:37 pm

      You’re a pissant like piker.

      Reality hurts eh Mel? Oh boohoo someone made a bad decision? have you EVER read your own financials you mutant?

  3. JeanGuy

    at 10:00 am

    I think the “bet” is that PFL wins the lawsuit and repays the loan from the monies collected from the builder. It all hinges on that. The Board was confident that there is a good case, otherwise they wouldn’t have gambled. My concern would be that the lawsuit isn’t settled by 2018. Then what? Keep accruing interest?

    1. Andrew F

      at 10:57 am

      Either that or 2018 will be special assessment time. How many units in the building? It seems there are 254. $1.8 million split 250 ways is $7,200. That’ll hurt but it’s not the worst SA I’ve heard of.

      1. David Fleming

        at 11:07 am

        @ Andrew F

        Agreed. They should levy a special assessment, and get on with the natural course of business.

        I’ve heard of special assessments that are $30K – often for 1-bedroom units.

        $7,200 isn’t the worst thing.

    2. Geoff

      at 11:52 am

      Plus, winning damages is about as far from picking up a cheque as issuing an invoice is. Learned that working summer’s for a construction company.

      1. E.

        at 2:28 pm

        Ain’t that the truth. I lived in a condo where the property manager stole the reserve fund. Once all the legal stuff shook out there was a judgment that the PM had to repay the money, but of course that never happened and boom, special assessment time!

  4. Mike

    at 12:26 pm

    It’s important to point out that a borrowing bylaw or any bylaw must be passed by a majority of unit owners. So 50 plus 1% voted to approve this bylaw

    As far as topping up the reserve fund so aggressively in a condo that is only 5 years old makes me wonder what’s going on there.

    Clearly there must be significant structural deficiencies (remember the reserve fund only deals with common element deficiencies not in suite ones) that the builder and developer will not undertake to repair under the Tarion warranty.

    What’s likely going to happen is they will continue to litigate and end up in arbitration
    and get a portion of the repairs done or receive a portion of the 2 million borrowed back

    The condo corp is required to audit the reserve fund every 3 years, I would suggest that condo owners in the building demand that the board of directors hire a different engineering firm to audit the reserve fund contribution schedule

    1. JeanGuy

      at 12:36 pm

      @Mike – No Tarion warranty at PFL. It’s a conversion. I think Tarion covers conversions now, but they didn’t when PFL was completed.

  5. Mike

    at 12:43 pm


    Thanks , now it makes complete sense what’s going on.

  6. DTbiker

    at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for hilighting the situation David. As a potential first-time buyer and lover of the east end, I had been eyeing this building for quite a while now.

  7. Julia

    at 1:44 pm

    Rented a unit on the first floor (in the hard loft section) about three years ago. Lasted four months before getting the hell out of there. What a waste.

    1. PFL'r

      at 2:47 pm

      I rent here now. Been here for a few years. Building looks nice, but units and finishes are terrible. I have gaps between the floor and wall in my unit, sound-proofing is non-existent, security was awful (getting better). Residents are very touchy on this place. I’ve posted the above before on another site and I was SLAMMED by other residents.

      Worst part is that this is all due to the developers fucking up the building.

  8. BillyO

    at 2:00 pm

    Kudos to David for bringing this to light. So much BS in this industry we need someone to keep it 100. And thanks for actually naming names instead of ‘an east end loft’.

  9. Kyle

    at 3:05 pm

    Damn shame, nice building with a great location. I agree with many on here, that the only ones who win in litigation are the Lawyers. Probably better to just suck it up, take the hit and move on. The best case scenario now, is IF the condo corp wins, and IF the amount is enough to cover the deficiencies/reserve/loan repayment and IF the condo corp can collect very quickly from the developer….Just so many IFs along the way, and each of those IFs come with more legal bills….And while this drags out, your resale is taking a beating because the potential buyer pool has been decimated. Just doesn’t seem to be any upside in pursuing this, unless theres certainty of a quick win and quick settlement.

  10. TRBFan

    at 3:17 pm

    I’m the client of David’s who wanted to purchase in this building. A huge thank you to David and Joe Sammut for bringing the financial issues with the condo corporation to my attention as soon as they became aware of them! While the unit was beautiful, the status certificate was a mess. CMHC issues aside, I would never purchase in a building with such an uncertain financial future.

    In my opinion, the listing agent for this unit did her client a disservice by not disclosing the financial issues with the building, specifically the CMHC issue, up front to a prospective buyer (if she was aware these issues). Hopefully she will do this in the future, or she’s going to waste a lot of time waiting for potential buyers to review the condo documents and inevitably termintate the deal.

    The moral of the story: ALWAYS make your condo purchase conditional on your review of the status certificate!

  11. Paully

    at 3:50 pm

    Rather than shooting the messenger, maybe the residents of the building should get together to replace the board and come up with a new financial plan that makes the place CMHC insurable again. You can yell and scream about disclosure of the financials, and generally throw a hissy-fit tantrum, but the facts remain the facts.

  12. Joe Q.

    at 3:59 pm

    Will be interesting to track listing and / or sale prices (maybe normalized by sq ft) in this building over time.

  13. Bruce

    at 4:28 pm

    This is a classic example of, “Get enough stupid people in the same room, and they’ll make a stupid decision.”

    As Andrew F pointed out above, they could have come up with $2,000,000 by levying a special assessment, and every owner coughing up $8K, or basing the assessment on square footage, etc.

    But they didn’t do that.

    Instead, they decided to not pay a penny out of their own pockets, and borrow $2M, with interest, to be paid back in a massive balloon payment in 2018.

    They probably all thought, “I won’t pay anything today, and I’ll just make sure I sell my condo in 2017 and stick some sucker with a giant special assessment that won’t have been levied by then.”

    The only problem is: now mortgage insurers won’t touch this place, and they’ve de-valued the buidling, stigmatized the condo, and made it impossible to sell units to buyers with less than 20% down.

    I think it’s quite fitting that these same stupid people are going to blame David for writing about this, when they are the ones who created this mess.

    Awful decision by the board and the residents, and now they’re paying the price.

    Before you blame others, first look within to see where that blame truly lays.

    1. Bruce knows everything

      at 4:42 pm

      Easy to throw stones hey Bruce? Everyone who owns in this building MUST be stupid.

      You have obviously done your research, been at all the meetings and met all the owners right? Didn’t think so.

      1. johnny chase

        at 9:06 pm

        Agreed. Bruce, I’m sure the Board made a well thought out decision after factoring in all various elements and looking at all the options. Who are you to judge? You sound like a complete moron.

      2. Schmidtz

        at 2:53 pm

        You’re long and wrong.

        This condo corp is fucked. Full stop.

  14. Mike

    at 6:55 pm

    Wouldnt it be nice if someone from the building explained the situation and why they voted to approve the 2 million dollar loan?

    1. johnny chase

      at 9:07 pm

      It would, but don’t hold your breath. Why would they and what business is it of yours or mine?

      1. ScottyP

        at 10:18 pm

        None of my business at all — unless I’m thinking of buying there. Then it absolutely becomes my business.

  15. A Grant

    at 7:40 pm

    David – if you were to advise an owner looking to sell their condo at the PFLs, what would your recommended approach be? How much of a hit on the resale do you think owners are going to experience as a result?

  16. John

    at 9:52 pm

    My heart goes out to the residents. If I were them, I would shame the developer in terms of coming to the table and owning up. Find out what current projects developer is working on and get the word out. Too much shoddy work, too many individuals taken advantage of. Not fair to point the finger at them especially when many may not have enough wiggle room to round up 7k…

  17. pn

    at 11:03 pm

    “I think, in fact – I’m almost certain, that the brother just didn’t want his sister to blow the dead mother’s money on a condo, and instead, he wanted her to keep it in cash so he could get at it. The fact that he had his friend review the Status Certificate and claim there were issues in a building where units routinely sell every day, only confirms my theory. The unit sold to somebody else a week later, and that buyer firmed up the deal in two days.” Hmm, I wonder what your ulterior motive is, David, in trying to convince people not to buy in a building where units routinely sell everyday!

    1. Geoff

      at 9:21 am

      Yes. That’s exactly his motive. He doesn’t get paid on commission or anything, so he makes money when people don’t buy.

      1. ScottyP

        at 12:55 pm

        I don’t think pn read the actual post.

        pn is more of a skimming type….

  18. Ara M.

    at 9:46 am

    Hey David – do you know when this loan was registered? My mortgage broker just got off the phone with a CMHC rep and they told him they still insure PFL and the last deal they insured there was in November. Wondering if that 2m was registered after November?

    1. PFL Resident

      at 10:08 am

      The loan was received and registered in late 2012 (November) so long before November 2013. And the building has had numerous sales since.

      We have the $2m in the bank still so could pay back the loan at any point. It was taken out to help repair issues left and ignored by the developer, who is currently under litigation, with the expected date of decision to be 2018 (hence the giant chunk of money due in 2018)

      I am not sure where David got his “facts” but having spoken with both mortgage brokers, CMHC and the board yesterday, none of what he has written is true or contains complete information. And as you will notice, he has since changed his original post to pull down the confidential financial information that he released without consent.

      While there are some post-construction deficiencies at the PFL (name me a condo in TO built in the last 6 years that doesn’t have them), they are no worse than any other and our board taking out the loan is a pro-active measure to fix the deficiencies ASAP instead of waiting for the lawsuit to be completed.

      1. Ara M.

        at 10:18 am

        Thanks for the info! Sounds like there’s more to this story.

      2. JeanGuy

        at 10:26 am

        Well, it looks like this was all predicated on “Joe The Broker” telling David that all the <20% mortgages are uninsurable. Somebody's getting incorrect info by the looks of it.

      3. Another PFL Resident

        at 10:55 am

        So David, to summarize, what you have written here is just plain wrong. It is factually wrong ethically wrong. It is hurting the value of our property by scaring away potential buyers who will not bother reading the comments below.

        1. Alex

          at 11:20 am

          Come on, after Ara M. and JeanGuy you really couldn’t think up a third name and had to go with Another PFL Resident? Or did a few of you get together in the building and write that script? It sucks that the developer screwed you guys over, but instead of coming on here and trying to cover up the truth why not go public and let everyone know how bad the developer is? It would really help anyone else looking for condos to know who the bad developers are. Before you bought at your current place you probably would have found it really useful if residents of other condos this developer built had come out and talked about how bad they were so you would know to avoid them.

          Right now you’re probably really upset about the situation you’re in, and probably really regretting that $2 Mil loan. But take this as a learning experience and try to get the positive out of this. What will ultimately be about an $8k loss (so long as you don’t need to sell before 2018) is not the worst thing ever, and from it you’ll have learned a lot about the legal process and how to run your condo well financially.

          1. JeanGuy

            at 11:49 am

            Yeah, I’m sure my wife would love it if I was actually 3 guys, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Anyway, all I care about is that we’re getting correct info. Are the <20% down mortgages insurable or not? David and his broker unequivocally say they are not. Seems like there are a few PFL residents who have checked with CHMC directly and have been told that there is no problem. So, someone's wrong. Alex, how about you make yourself useful and call CHMC yourself, settle the matter once and for all?

          2. ScottyP

            at 6:30 pm

            @JeanGuy: Apparently, simply calling up the CHMC and getting the goods is in fact not so simple. David addresses this in his most recent post, as does RPG a few comments below.

      4. Schmidtz

        at 2:56 pm

        This is all bullshit. Its not insurable. I 1000% guarantee you.

    2. David Fleming

      at 11:15 am

      @ Ara M.

      I don’t want to make this into an argument about whose CMHC rep is better than whose, but I trust my mortgage broker, who spoke to several people at ALL of CMHC, Genworth, and Canada Guaranty, and nobody will insure high ratio mortgages in the building.

      I have it IN WRITING from mortgage insurers that this building is on the “do not insure” list.

      Residents who are commenting “there are sales here” aren’t privy to the finances, and don’t know if the buyers had 20% down or not.

      I wouldn’t have written this without the facts, and the numbers to back it up.

      And BTW – “confidential financial information” does not apply to a condominium’s financial statements.

      It’s up to a buyer to decide whether he or she wants to purchase here. I just wrote a story about a condo, like I’ve done a thousand times before…

  19. PFL Resident

    at 11:22 am

    Having spoke with my mortgage broker, he checked with Genworth and CMHC.
    He confirmed that they have NO issues with insuring 201 Carlaw.
    Don’t believe everything you read.

    1. RPG

      at 1:20 pm

      This conversation is ridiculous.

      You can’t just call the switchboard at CMHC and expect them to give you anything over the phone other than “We have no information on file for that property.”

      And if your mortgage broker, or yours, or yours, calls to inquire, they aren’t going to confirm anything unequivocally over the phone.

      The only way to get certainty is to submit a qualified buyer, with an accepted offer, and THEN the mortgage insurers will tell you that they don’t provide insurance on this building.

      David, you should shut the comments section down now, as every owner in this building is going to start posting with comments that are based on emotion and incomplete information that they’re willing to accept.

    2. ScottyP

      at 6:32 pm

      It’s unfortunate that not a single PFL resident is capable of bringing an honest, intelligent angle to this debate.

      And by honest, I mean “not lying”.

  20. Questioning Motivations

    at 11:43 am

    I really am questioning the motivations David and others on this tread. You have to wonder if perhaps this an attempt on from of the developer (and/or lawyers representing the developer) to put pressure on the PFL board to settle the lawsuit through arbitration, and for less than they wanted. All it takes is a bit of misinformation (or perhaps money) to an ego driven real estate agent who writes a blog, and then follow up with some comments that can’t be tracked to an individual.

    Sadly, the people doing this for their own benefit don’t seem to care about the many residents who live in this building. They are real people, many with families, and they are just being thrown under the bus.

    1. David Fleming

      at 11:19 pm

      @ Questioning Motivations

      Okay, you got me.

      The developer paid me $1,000,000,000,000 to start a blog back in 2007, update it 4-5 times per week for seven years, all in order to post a blog in 2014 whereby I detail a situation I had… 2014, where my buyer and I unearthed a mountain of problems at a Toronto condominium. And yes – all 65 comments posted on today’s blog were from ME, from different computers around the city of Toronto.


      I’ll be honest – out of the 22,487 comments posted on this blog in the last seven years, this is without a doubt, the dumbest.

      I’m embarassed for you right now.

    2. Adrian

      at 12:58 pm

      @ David Fleming

      Hi David. I am the property manager for The Printing Factory Lofts and Townhomes. The real issue with this blog is that you have misinformed many people in multiple areas. You should have called me before you have posted this online, to confirm or infirm the information that you have received. Please note that this is not the point of view of the Board or any other resident, but my personal. I got the urge to clarify some things for all readers of this blog. Let me explain:
      1. A by-law cannot be passed without the approval of at least 50% of the owners. Since the by-law was registered by the corporation’s lawyer, it means it has been approved. In the by-law it is stipulated that the corporation will borrow $2 mil to fix the deficiencies left by the developer and to top up the reserve fund.
      2. The financials of the corporation (I noticed you’ve taken them down, however we have saved the original post) are not public information as I’ve seen a person with legal knowledge posting here, but they are intended for owners and potential purchasers, or their representatives, who are paying for this information (imagine you purchase a CD and start playing online the tracks from the CD, although they have copyrights).
      3. The loan amortization is 15 years, not 5 years as you have stated. There is a 5 year contract for 4.97% interest rate, that will be renegotiated in 2018. There will be no special assessment in 2018, neither a dramatic increase in the maintenance fees, as the loan has been already budgeted for and included in the actual maintenance fees.
      4. In the status certificate, although the $2 mil loan is reflected, the reserve fund amount does not show the loan yet, because the Reserve Fund Study has not been done yet (it is ongoing).
      5. Although it isn’t the best building in town, this building isn’t in such bad financial shape that you have described it.

      Before you post something aggressive like this blog, you better get information from all involved parties, and not only from one. Your interpretations of the financials were wrong. I do not want to dispute what was best in 2012, a loan or a special assessment (obviously none of these are desired), but in my opinion the Board took the right decision in getting the loan and fixing the deficiencies that the developer left. Note: this building is not insurable under ONHW, being a conversion.


  21. Condo Buyer

    at 12:12 pm

    I’m a renter looking to buy my first condo and I can honestly say that I would be lost without this blog! I haven’t met david and I’m working with another agent, but I can say that I read this blog every day and I always learn something new. The toronto real estate market is utterly confusing and difficult and I want to thank David for putting all of this information into the world for people like me to read. Every day I educate myself on the goings on in Toronto and whether or not this particular building can/can’t get insurance, it’s nice to understand the issue and be able to make an informed decision on it. Thanks David.

  22. PFL Resident 3

    at 12:13 pm

    The financial statements may be supplied upon sale, however you were only privileged to these statements because there was an active sale. Just in the same way MasterCard cannot publish your personal financial records on the web if you apply for a credit card. They are only privy to your credit check because they have business with you. You were only privy to that information because you had active business, that was/is not yours to share in such a public forum. If there was no problem with it why did you remove it?

    Also you quote a dated letter from the board to the residents, that would not be public record. This letter was part of a communication regarding active litigation, in a matter before the courts, also not yours to share.

    I like the others have confirmed with third party sources that there appears to be no issues with these insurers and our building. You have one instance of this occurring, it could have been an error no? You have failed to close a few deals as you mention in your above entry, does this mean you fail every time? Perhaps it does.

    1. TRBFan

      at 2:49 pm

      FYI – Anyone can order a status certificate for a condo corporation and receive a copy of the financial documents – there is no requirement that you must intend to purchase a unit in order to be “privileged” to these documents. All it takes is a written request to the property management company and a cheque for $100.00. The letter from the board to the residents that David quoted was contained in the status certificate package and was not confidential communication.

    2. Toronto Lawyer

      at 2:52 pm

      I have a law degree, although perhaps that doesn’t qualify me to live at PFL.

      I would however like to point out that if David wanted to drop financial statements from a hot air balloon over the city of Toronto, he would only be guilty of littering.

      It seems the residents of PFL are now posting emotional responses, with falsities disguised as fact.

      There is nothing to stop David or anybody else from disclosing the contents of these financial statements.

      Knowing what I know about the law, and seeing what PFL residents are posting on here, I would have to no doubt that the other information regarding mortgage insurance is also false, and based on nothing more than wishful thinking.

      1. johnny chase

        at 8:08 pm

        Exactly right…. unless of course he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. That’s what their for.

        Love this post by the way. Surely this must be the all time high for comments.

        1. PFL Resident 3

          at 12:13 am

          If it wasn’t wrong legally, morally or ethically then why did he repost with that information removed? He doesn’t seem to want to answer that question.

          1. ScottyP

            at 6:57 pm

            There was nothing wrong with disclosing that information, as it is publicly accessible information that any of his clients would insist on being privy to. Clearly the residents and the board of PFL tried to keep their dirty little secret to themselves, and are now trying to cry “confidential!” like a busted philanderer’s club.

            But to answer your question, methinks that David probably removed the offending information (and when I say “offending”, I mean it in a subjective sense — feel free to swap it for the words “accurate” or “true”, if desired) as a sort of goodwill gesture. That, and the fact that his office is probably being inundated with calls from people who are generally quite uninformed, perhaps slightly unbalanced, and almost certainly very emotional.

            But here’s the thing: Whether or not the actual financial statement remained attached to the post was irrelevant to the message of the post — hence why it was probably no skin off Dave’s back to take it down.

            The message is sound. The reasoning is sound. The information is sound. The counter-responses, unfortunately, are decidedly unsound, to the point of bordering on the absurd. Disappointing.

    1. RPG

      at 1:30 pm

      Ugh. Another stupid comment.

      Who is “they” and what are you referring to?

      David, it’s time moderate these comments. When morons post something moronic, it takes away from the entire credibility of your blog.

      1. Questioning Motivations

        at 1:55 pm

        Doesn’t take a lot of intuition to figure out. Who benefits from pressuring residents to settle out of court?

          1. ScottyP

            at 10:28 pm

            I am motivated to question the motivations of Questioning Motivations posting such a questionable post.

  23. Just you know

    at 1:37 pm

    David, you’ve just poked a hornet’s nest. This is a building filled with very educated, very connected individuals. Several of them have law degrees. It is unlikely that whatever traffic you will drive to this site with this post will justify the grief that they will cause you. The smart thing would be to take down this post spend your time more productively, perhaps by helping your clients.

    1. Alex

      at 1:55 pm

      Uh oh, a bunch of well-connected, well-educated residents with law degrees? I think this must be the secret headquarters of the Skull and Bones society.

    2. johnny chase

      at 8:11 pm

      ya… I’m sure there’s a lot of “very connected” individuals in $300K condos on Carlaw. If I was really connected, that’s where I would live. lol…

    3. ScottyP

      at 10:30 pm

      Just so you know, Just you know…

      David *is* helping his clients with posts like these.

      And… I have to yet to see one educated counter-response to David’s post in this entire thread. I doubt he’s exactly shaking in his boots.

    4. Schmidtz

      at 4:24 pm

      Well connected – “yeah so my buddy lives there and his girlfriends uncles was once a sergeant in the army in the 1980’s, and his brother once met Geddy Lee”

      Dear Just so You Know – You are 100% a chick. You are bitchy and annoying, unintelligent, and smarmy. ‘Several of them have law degrees’ ‘my daddy can beat up your daddy’. I would take that degree and wipe my ass with it, then smear it all over your bitchy face, because there is nothing illegal about anything that has been done.


      1. PFL Resident 3

        at 7:35 pm

        I don’t know I think your hate speech rant might qualify as illegal?

        At any rate stay classy.

        1. Schmidtz

          at 10:24 am

          Hate rant? Yes, I HATE stupid people.

          What I wrote was illegal, in your little mind? Come and fucking get me.

          1. PFL Resident 3

            at 7:22 pm

            Self hatred is a terrible & dangerous condition. You should seek help.
            Good luck with your treatment.

          2. Schmidtz

            at 10:49 am

            I love myself. I hate you. Is that illegal, you whiny little bitch?

  24. Kyle

    at 1:48 pm

    @Questioning Motivations
    LOL!…I don’t know if this was meant as a serious comment, but the sheer silliness of it made me just spit my coffee out.

  25. Paully

    at 5:15 pm

    Loving all the whining here!

    Me thinks they doth protest too much!

    Law Degree is a euphemism for “big pain in the backside.”

    I recall that Sam Waterston once had a great quote about lawyers on Law and Order: “The State of California has the most lawyers in the US and the State of New Jersey has the most toxic waste dumps. Do you know why? New Jersey got to pick first!”

  26. Bobbin

    at 11:25 pm

    The potential financial implications aside, what resonates more with me as a potential buyer are the responses from the PFL owners. Your comments range from emotional, to snarky, misguided to downright uneducated sounding.

    There is logic in what others have said about special assessments to top up the reserve fund as opposed to the loan w/ interest. It’s not great, but it works. None of you seem to be in dispute of the loan, and IMHO opinion, this stigmatizes the building as it would seem that you don’t have a realistic expectation of what the courts can/will be able to do for you, and if so, over what time period. In this sense and based off your comments, you’re not exactly advertising yourselves as good neighbours.

    It’s a bad situation to be in, but trying to downplay the issues doesn’t penalize the developer for leaving you in this boat – it only perpetuates a problem Toronto has with shitty builders.

    1. iwill

      at 6:32 am

      Who cares about this loan? Either they have a special assessment now that covers the repairs and legal fee to sue the developer. Ot the borrow the money and repay with legal winnings or a special assessment in 2018.

      1. Bobbin

        at 8:05 am

        Well, if what David is saying is true about the mortgage insurance, and I think he’s speaking honestly – everyone potential buyer with less than 20% down should care, and every owner in the building should care, especially if they ever want to sell their unit.

      2. ScottyP

        at 5:56 pm

        This loan brings with it questions, and with questions comes uncertainty, and with uncertainly comes “no thanks, I think I’ll check out the Garment Factory instead.”

        Perception and optics are a bitch.

  27. buk

    at 1:38 am

    this is reminiscent of the foundry lofts post.

    but really david, how much did THEY pay you?

    1. David Fleming

      at 2:05 am

      @ buk

      The Foundry Lofts, eh?

      You and I go waaaaaay back…

      P.S. “They” paid me in those old-fashioned sacks with dollar-signs on the outside, like in the Western cartoons…

  28. moonbeam!

    at 6:35 am

    The Foundry Lofts!! that post rattled a few! are they all at PFL now?

  29. Rob Fjord

    at 12:33 pm

    uh, Fleming is right, whats the prob!
    he couldnt get it insured, case closed. or prove otherwise.

  30. Journalist

    at 12:56 pm

    As a journalist who routinely investigates things and then posts them on the web, including so-called “confidential” financial information I can say with some certainty that a lawsuit by unit owners alleging that David’s blog somehow harmed their financial interest by airing their dirty laundry/”confidential” information would fail. Virtually every day journalists publish information that some would consider private or confidential information. It’s called freedom of the press.

    Truth and fair comment are defenses against libel. Assuming David is telling the truth that mortgage insurers refused to insure the building at 80% LTV, truth would be the first defence.

    To say that buyers should beware of this building because of insurance problems, lawsuits and a large loan by the condo board and the would be “fair comment.”

    Even if some of the facts he had laid out in his blog post turn out not to be 100 per cent true, the courts in recent years, have expanded the defence against libel in a few ways, including allowing for a defence of “responsible journalism.” (i.e. if the bulk of your facts are right but maybe a few things aren’t totally correct, but you’ve published in the public interest.)

    So, good luck with that lawsuit condo-dwellers. And keep posting David! Those of us renters who are cautiously examining the city’s growing condo market appreciate your candid thoughts.

    1. ScottyP

      at 6:00 pm

      Another reasoned and informative response. Still waiting for one from our new friends at PFL.

      (Crickets? What crickets?)

    1. Paully

      at 8:56 am

      Rob Ford voters live anywhere that people are tired of overtaxation and crappy municipal services.

    2. John

      at 10:56 am

      Seems gratuitous and unnecessarily personal… there are 200+ units in PFL and for all you know there are only a handful of posters from PFL.

      Personally, although I believe David stated the facts accurately, I do believe this is being blown out of proportion. It all comes down to FMV and if the price properly reflects the facts stated in David’s email, people will buy PFL units (those who can put a down of 20%+). If I were the condo board I would have made a special assessment from day 1 instead of getting a loan but maybe they were sensitive to the fact that some owners cannot obtain more credit on their own (or at least in the short term).

      To those PFL readers, good luck with your lawsuit. Hope the developer is held accountable.

      again, I would start a blog and FB page to shame the developer into making things right and warn others…

    3. JeanGuy

      at 4:28 pm

      That’s rich. As a long time reader of this blog, I seem to recall a certain Mr. David Fleming was once a Rob Ford supporter. Anyway, who the hell cares? A handful of PFLers make ill-advised comments and the pile on begins. Rather than mock the victims in this scenario, shouldn’t everyone be reserving their animosity and scorn for the developer, Beaverbrook (now Averton Homes, I think)? Particularly if, as David says, it is the lax laws and unscrupulous builders who create these unfortunate situations in the first place?

  31. Ben Ferguson

    at 11:21 am

    We have sold many suites here and some since the $2,000,000 loan was secured. I still believe its a fantastic building in a great location. Worst case scenario is an average of 10k exposure for each unit owner. Best case – Beaverbrook ponies up and everything is irie. Many buildings in this area have resulted in dev lawsuits – in fact its the majority not the minority. If you want to buy in a building that hasn’t had some legal problems in Leslieville you would be hard pressed. If i’m a buyer going in I want to make sure I get good value and if you do – you will be fine in the long run. Your worst case scenerio is you write a cheque in a few years time. I’m not sure if the dev has any more suites/parking/lockers in here but putting a lien on them is i’m sure an option they are exploring. The waters are a little choppy here now but this could be a long term opportunity for a buyer with a long term plan for the suite.

    Ben Ferguson

    1. ScottyP

      at 7:02 pm

      Thank you for your reasoned response, Ben Ferguson.

      I disagree that the property won’t be stigmatized by the decision of the board to take out a 4-year loan, but maybe this was indeed the best course of action given the circumstances.

      As John said above, I wish the residents all the luck in the world with their lawsuit. Just stop trying to kill the messenger, willya?

  32. Mike

    at 2:23 pm

    You can only lien a suite for non payment of maintenance fees or for non payment of chargebacks, you cant charge back the developer for building repair costs, legal fees related to common elements, which would be unrelated to the units they own if any.

    In my opinion the $40,000 budget for legals fees is incredibly optimistic, those might be the fees spent last year and the fee this year if it gets resolved in arbitration, but if the lawsuit goes past arbitration then you are looking at 3 times that amount in discovery alone.

    IMO of course

  33. Paul

    at 8:17 pm

    I’m not a super finance guy, but why would the condo board take out a $2M loan at 5%…that’s $100K in interest each year! I can’t imagine that the building needed $2M of repairs that were critical at that moment…so why not set up a line of credit for up to $2M – so you only pay interest on the amount that you actually need.

    The best solution is to special assess immediately, and hope to get some of the money back from the developer. You avoid the interest charge, and can still have a healthy set of financials for prospective buyers. And since you don’t need the $2M immediately, you can structure the special assessment as $700 per month for the next year for people with cash flow issues.

  34. Vince

    at 1:38 pm

    From my understanding the reason CMHC won’t insure is a result of the litigation which shows up on the record of the condo (and the deficiencies). That is what I heard regarding one of the buildings at CityPlace where the condo board is suing Concord Adex and CMHC no longer provides mortgage insurance. From what I know, that building did not take out a loan.

  35. Donnie

    at 4:19 pm

    I have had my lawyer call CMHC and I also called myself. They said there is no “blacklist” for properties, that every application is assessed by an underwriter taking into account the applicants financial details on a separate basis. Details from a certain building may be assessed, a mortgage can be denied, but saying no property will sell without 20% down appears to be false. If this is indeed false its a shame such a Hatchet job was printed at all, leaving 250+ condo owners feeling trapped.

    1. Accurate Info

      at 5:07 pm

      Hi Donnie,
      In the Carlaw building that David is speaking to this is 100% the case. If you do not have 20% down then you will not be able to obtain mortgage insurance for ANY unit in this building.

    2. David Fleming

      at 6:02 pm

      @ Donnie

      I’m tired of writing the same thing, over and over and over, and it’s clear that you didn’t read the whole article, plus the 100+ comments.

      If your lawyer, or your mortgage broker, or anybody else, calls CMHC, they will NOT be told the property is uninsurable.

      The information from the top is not being made available at the bottom, nor should it be.

      Only after presenting a qualified borrower with an agreement of purchase and sale will the mortgage insurers say, “We won’t insure this building.”

  36. Accurate Info

    at 4:56 pm

    Hi David,
    Great article. I’m a REALTOR® and just today encountered the exact same issue with another building in Toronto. Of even more interest is that the status certificate suggests the reserve fund is great, but the building is on the “red-flag” list for insurers because they want proof that historical repairs from 2011 were completed correctly. Building management claims they have this ‘proof’ but can only deal with the insurers direct. Needless to say that with a required quick-closing on the part of my client, there is no time to remedy this issue.
    My opinion is that the public should have open access to information pertaining to buildings that are “red-flagged” by insurers. In my case, it could have saved my client the necessary time required to find an immediate home.
    For all of those that are angry in the Carlaw building, would you be happier if someone bought your condo and the deal fell through without warning? Additionally, if this is something that you are aware of and aren’t disclosing then I think you should be sued for fraudulent misrepresentation and NOT David.
    Thank you David for a wonderful article!

  37. Donnie

    at 9:54 pm

    All intelligent people should probably vacate this site, as it appears many “informed posters” are repeatedly backing unconfirmed reports. @Scottywhatever, @inaccurateinfowhatever etc etc seem to have the same agenda. There are dozens of other buildings in the city with a far more checkered past and consistently move units. The fact that the current condo board is taking this all too common issue head on and dealing with it is refreshing.

    I would advise anyone interested in buying or selling a unit in this building to speak to their mortgage and real estate professionals instead of taking all of this banter as 100% truth.

    Not to disrespect David in any way, but EVERY real estate deal is unique, and it would be a shame for everyone to write off this building on the unsubstantiated reports of a few opinions.

    1. ScottyP

      at 11:28 pm

      I don’t have an agenda, Donnie. Just a keen dislike of vapid counter-arguments based purely on emotion and vitriol, which is (thankfully) for the most part a rarity on this blog.

      However. Judging by your comments above, you, on the other hand, clearly do have an agenda: To paint a picture that your building (and it obviously is your building) is indeed insurable for prospective buyers who are putting less than 20% down, and to make unsubstantiated claims against David in the process.

      Let’s repeat it again, for posterity’s sake: David and his broker confirmed without a shadow of a doubt that PFL wasn’t insurable for buyers putting less than 20% down, as of January 29, 2014.

      But your lawyer just called CMHC up and figured everything out, did s/he? O whom o whom do we believe?

      David also confirmed your board’s rather unorthodox method of dealing with the issue, which every reader great and small had an absolute right to question. Why? Because a large majority of TRB readers are past, prospective, and future buyers. And yes, they are for the most part “intelligent” readers who do tend to — shucks goshdarnit — ask some tough questions now and again.

      Maybe your board truly is comprised of trailblazers and outside-the-box thinkers, a collection of renaissance men more “refreshing” than an autumn breeze. But I’m thinking they simply misread the response from a market which, by its very nature, dislikes uncertainty.

      But who knows? Maybe it will all work out for them, and for you, in the end. Godspeed.

  38. PFLballer

    at 11:51 am

    I am a PFL resident and I deride the volacity of this post. Airing our dirty laundry only serves to inform buyers – buyers who could otherwise be helping us move to single-family homes, which is good for the economy at large – the virtuous circle of home ownership. For shame David Flemming – why don’t you pick on a building your own size? I may not have a law degree, but I did study law for 5 years at TWO universities – I believe that if David is being paid by underhanded forces to slander the building, he has a duty to inform us. I didn’t want to play this card but I am connected to the Deputy Mayor of TORONTO – he can see to it that your blog is annexed from the city limits. Good luck driving to Vaughn every day to update it. I don’t like threats but just be weary of your actions.

    1. ScottyP

      at 11:07 am

      This comment is fantastic satire; it characterizes a crazy PFL resident perfectly. Kudos.

    2. Eden

      at 2:41 pm

      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!! Thanks for my ab workout of the day.

  39. ABB

    at 6:58 pm

    Printing Factory Lofts is not as f’d up as 222 The Esplanade — $4.2 million special assessment. Leaky windows. Questionable financial condition. Screwed up board. There are lots of silent disasters out there.

  40. xPFL_owner

    at 3:53 pm

    Wow just stumbled on this article last week. We owned a unit there and sold after a year because the building was so terrible. having to pay the insane maintenance fees to live in unit with constant leaks and other issues was no fun. then we met with the board along with the other members and how they will go after the builder for damages and do this and that. after several of those meetings, my wife and i decided to cut our loses. so glad we did.

  41. Susan

    at 5:36 am

    Thank you for the article! I have been interested in the building, but have only about 15% down, so would likely need CMHC insurance. But the article has made me think twice about buying there at all! I stumbled across it on google, because it seemed like there was an unusual amount of listings in the building. I have been looking in the area and I wondered if there might be something going on there…

  42. Jon

    at 7:16 am

    David, can you please remove this blog finally? Now when you google the buildings name this is the first thing to come up. Any interested buyer is now skeptical, no matter their financial situation is, what gives you the right? I wonder if you have called all the selling agents in the building and asked them how much financial distress you have caused all of them, and how much lower the units are now listed for? We have had many buyers with OVER 20 % down back out with cold feet, mainly due to THIS blog. Or, just find me a buyer and write me cheque for difference of the money I stand to lose. Fair?

    I do not think you know how much this blog is affecting many peoples lives.

    1. xPFL_owner

      at 4:54 pm

      catch 22,
      As a consumer, I wish I had this information before I had initially bought (I am sure I can speak for most current owners that bought post construction). To this day I blame myself and Adamo Palermo (agent that represented the builder; he knew what was going on) for scamming us to buying this piece of garbage.
      As a seller, this is terrible news. even if he does remove the post, you know the second thing that comes up on the google search is the globe and mail article.

  43. JM

    at 10:51 am


    I hope you never take this posting down… It’s modern consumer protection at its finest. With usually no information on buildings other than its own glamorized website, buyers fall victim to buildings like this when it becomes too late — months after purchasing. I hope this posting continues to serve as a warning to scheming developers, shady board members, and naive realtors that buyers are more conscious of what is really happening within their city.

    1. Adrian

      at 11:19 am


      David was so wrong in many aspects with respect of this building. Besides the fact that he never sold a unit here, although he claims this being his one of favorite buildings(???), he presented the status of the building in an erroneous way. The information from the status certificate he presented, was interpreted wrong and incomplete. Should anybody be interested in the real status of this building, although the owners know it, please call me at the management office 647-340-4291. He can say whatever he wants here and he won’t lose his job, I cannot lie, as my job is in jeopardy.
      Adrian Sebu, RCM
      Property Manager

      1. xPFL_owner

        at 5:00 pm

        Hey Adrian,

        Would you buy a unit there? Would you recommend this property to any of your friends or family?

        1. Adrian

          at 9:36 am

          Absolutely xPFL_owner. I have the right information on hand and it is not even close to the situation that David Fleming presented in this article. Except the CMHC “issue”, if any, where I cannot speak for, because I do not know. And yes, the building has issues, tell me one without, but the issues will be fixed, that is why the loan was taken. Everything was set in financials for years to come, without major increases to the budget (inflationary only) and not considering any money that might come from the lawsuit (consider this a bonus for an early repayment of the loan). So why not buying here, especially now when hard times are heading to finish?


          1. xPFL_owner

            at 11:52 am

            Just saying I wish I had something like this at the time we bought. I agree with you completely that all condos have issues; we chose to sell because we were not satisfied with the quality and service received based on the fees we were paying every month.

            We have seen 2 property managers come and go, and I guess you’re the latest greatest; the only thing that this building does well is pass the crap along to the new property manager.

            Everyone is entitled to an opinion. You can choose to buy a unit based on Adrian’s “unbiased” optimistic recommendation that this is a solid building with money coming from a lawsuit or just… not.

            If someone I care for asked for my opinion, based on my experience and the current facts, I’d tell them to stay way and look elsewhere.

  44. Cliff

    at 12:06 pm

    The anger is again misplaced. Why get angry with an individual who is speaking the truth? Get mad at the builder for doing a crap job!

  45. Karen

    at 7:26 pm

    It’s unfortunate, it’s a very nice building, and yet everyone is trying to sell they’re unit. Now some banks don’t even want to lend even with 20% down… And sellers want to keep it all hush hush.. Buyers deserve to know of the shady situation !

  46. new pfler

    at 2:51 pm

    I bought in the building. I was happy to read this blog before looking at the unit because I went in knowing there were issues with the finances and factored that into my decision (and offer). My understanding is that fees are going to go up fairly steeply for the next 3 years (although my fees are under 50 cents a square foot now). I would rather have a special assessment, but we’ll see what happens with the litigation.

    I am surprised that people are saying the place is noisy. Which units are noisy?

    1. DocBenway

      at 11:02 pm

      How steeply? Where did you receive this information?

  47. Avoid the Noid

    at 1:06 pm

    I’ve been a resident of this building for the past year and there are definitely problems with the roof. There’s been a piece of drywall cut out of the ceiling on one of the floors for the past year, and their solution to the water leaking out of that hole is to place a recycling bucket beneath it whenever it rains. Leaving a big leak in the roof like that for an entire year can’t be good for the rest of the roof. You’d think they could use some of that $2 million dollar loan to fix the leak and seal up the unsightly hole in the drywall….

  48. PFL22

    at 5:05 pm

    I can assure potential buyers or concerned owners reading this blog with 100% certainly that mortgage insurance is in fact available for purchases in the Printing Factory Lofts. Perhaps this was not the case several months, or weeks ago, or even yesterday for all I know. That being said I have no question at this stage as I was informed today by my bank that my purchase in the PFL was approved (with a 10% down payment) and that I was ok to sign off on my finance and subject to status certificate review clause in the purchase/sale agreement. CMHC insured the mortgage, during the approval process they requested a copy of the status certificate, 3 years financials statements from the condo corporation and they also sent an appraiser to the unit I purchased as well to ensure the value was accurate Everything checked out fine. All said and done the process took about 2 weeks from start to finish. If anybody would like further clarification on this issue or has additional questions (including Mr. Fleming) please let me know as I am happy to share my experience. Cheers to good news!

    1. Karen

      at 6:40 pm

      Did you go through with the purchase after reviewing the status certificate with your lawyer?

    2. PFLbuyer

      at 7:59 pm

      @ PFL22, I’m currently looking to buy a unit at PFL but was told that CHMC will not insure my mortgage unless it’s 20% and I’ve already been declined by two major banks due to the status of the building. Can you tell me which lender approved your mortgage? Thanks.

  49. PFL Resident

    at 10:42 pm

    I live at 201 Carlaw. Things are getting better. Not all units had poor construction.
    Some may have, but not in my case. Mine was finished perfectly.
    Coming from a background in construction I stayed on top of my PDI and got everything rectified. If you are looking to buy a property in Toronto for 500,000 and up, and something like a 7000 dollar assessment will stop you, maybe you should still be renting.
    Many condos in Toronto have the exact same issues. This agent just seems bitter for loosing a sale. Good luck next time brah!

  50. Areader

    at 11:09 am

    I cracked up when an angry resident that he will use his special connection with the deputy mayor to take down this blog.

  51. Jane

    at 1:44 pm

    I tried to buy a condo in this building a couple of months ago. The unit was sitting from December to May- it got reduced from $340 to $300k, and eventually sold under that. Everyone who tried to buy it before us got rejected, and those who had 20% for a downpayment walked away because of the lawsuit. I feel like I really dodged a bullet there.

  52. Jim

    at 11:19 am

    Banks are now lending mortgages again and they are being insured. I know someone who just picked up a unit in this building. I guess the building got this all sorted out.

  53. Sara

    at 11:40 am

    I bought in the building a while ago now, in spite of this article, and have been very happy with my purchase. Love my unit- exposed brick, high ceilings and more square footage by far than anything else in my price range. I also love the variety of layouts I’ve seen in other units and the fact that the population of the building ranges from babies to retirees. Best of all, my unit is super quiet. My neighbors have a toddler who seems to be screaming and crying every time I step into the hallway, but I hear nothing through the walls.

    I am expecting the special assessment (I am not optimistic about winning litigation, especially against a developer with deep pockets), and took it into consideration when purchasing.

  54. Frank Ilulio

    at 6:58 pm

    Please note that David Fleming is now in front of the courts for fraudulent representation. This is a Toronto broker that has been making comments about several developments across the city to boost his own profits. David Fleming is a fraud and will face jail time over making false accusations on several properties throughout the city of Toronto.

    1. Baron Trump

      at 10:54 am

      Frank Ilulio if this is the case why is this article still up and we have not heard anything about the David Fleming criminal investigation?

  55. Theresa Martel

    at 6:21 pm

    I just (Feb 2017) tried to put an offer on a 2bed unit at PFL.
    CMHC still will NOT insure mortgages in this building.
    Just wanted everyone to know this is still an active and significant issue.
    I’m a bit surprised that seller’s don’t have to disclose more of this information.
    My realtor and I had to do our own digging to get to the bottom of it all.
    Good luck everyone.

  56. H. Marshall

    at 7:26 am

    Here is a list of Print Factory Lofts building deficiencies that is part of an ongoing lawsuit.
    CCI issued its performance audit report on or about April 8, 2011. CCI concluded that the condominium had serious construction and restoration defects and deficiencies resulting from incomplete and inadequate work, including problems and deficiencies associated with the roof systems, exterior wall systems, structure/parking garage, and water, moisture, and air penetration.

    These are serious defects and the lawsuit is still going through the legal system.

    You can read the court judgment here:

  57. Happy pFL Resident

    at 11:28 am

    Alas, this information in the article is out of date and it is my hope that readers will refer to the comments for additional information and do their due diligence to inform themselves on the current state of PFL affairs.
    Below is what I can share as a proud and happy, long-time PFL owner

    Our condo board is currently suing the development company for repair work they neglected to do in the building’s initial construction.

    98% of those needed repairs have since been repaired and paid for via a loan taken out by our condo corporation.

    This loan repayment has been a part of our condo fees for over 5 years now. The loan mortgage has recently been renegotiated for it’s new 3 year term, and our current condo fees reflect that. It is the belief that the lawsuit will be settled within that time frame.

    Worst case scenario, if we were to lose the lawsuit, (which is unlikely) is that nothing would change. The loan would simply continue to be repaid out of out our condo fees at it’s current pace (which are relatively low in comparison to other condos).

    Best case scenario, the loan money is recouped and the condo corporation will then be sitting with a very healthy surplus. With which the condo board could decide to place in a reserve fund, do any upgrades or renovations, or even lower condo fees.

    I understand the mention of lawsuit can make people uneasy. However, please be aware that this is a situation whereby there is nothing to lose via this lawsuit, there is only recouped money to be gain.

    Also, out management and condo board is a team of most intelligent, capable persons with whom I feel in excellent hands.

  58. Charlotte

    at 3:28 pm

    This is tragic for those looking at 201 Carlaw as a prospect of property. But what about renting units? Does this loan affect those leasing?

    1. Stice

      at 6:39 pm

      I was interested in a unit there but this lawsuit scares me. I appreciate the update from the Happy PFL poster. It is good that the items are fixed but I don’t like the ‘highly likely’ idea for winning a lawsuit from developers, shell companies etc.

      I really like this building and have been renting nearby. I want to buy but am concerned about this lingering issue. I actually am wondering why it has taken so long (I am no legal expert, so I really don’t know except for what people are posting here).

      1. Patricia Koury

        at 4:15 pm

        Hi. I just looked at a unit for sale. Can you tell me the URL or website you mentionned to see updated info on lawsuit. Is it Happy PFL ? Thanks!

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  62. Madetohome

    at 10:48 pm

    Some of the deficiencies should have been identified by construction review at the time of original construction; and

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