Red Flag Condo Locations


7 minute read

August 15, 2014

No, not the location of the building, but rather your specific unit as it’s located within the building.

There are a handful of locations in a given condo that can affect your quiet enjoyment, and whether you’re a seasoned real estate veteran, or a complete novice, you should make note of these.

On their own, these locations might not be enough for a buyer to cast aside a given unit, but they certainly can affect the way you value the property….


As I’ve made it known on this blog before, I live on the 9th floor at “Vu Condos,” which happens to be where the party room and rooftop terrace are located.

Our complex is made up of 112 George and 116 George, and each tower is connected by a platform on the east side, the roof of which is a sprawling outdoor terrace where party-goers head in the winter.

Each building has their own party room, and “conference room,” which is really just a smaller party room that has no rental fee, but the largest party room of them all happens to be on the 9th floor – about 50 feet from my front door. Each and every weekend, on Saturday night, my wife and I can hear the sound of drunk, loud, obnoxious non-residents who don’t possess the self-awareness to know that they’re on a residential floor.

The property manager in my building, who has put notices on just about every surface of the premises, for every imaginable reason, affixed a plaque that reads: “PLEASE KEEP THE NOISE LEVEL DOWN.  THIS IS A RESIDENTIAL FLOOR.”

That sign worked about as well as the one that says, “PLEASE DON’T TOSS CIGARETTES OFF THE BALCONY.”

I’ve lived in the building for almost three years now, and there was only one “incident,” which I think I wrote about three years ago when a 15-year-old somehow conned the concierge and rented the party room so she could have two dozen drunk rejects puke in the halls.  But since that incident three years ago (when I first moved in), I have never felt the need to poke my head in the hall and “investigate” noises on a Friday/Saturday night.

All that changed last weekend, when I finally blew my lid.

I wouldn’t say that the noise was any more or less than previous weeks, but I guess after three years, I finally wanted to say something.

At about 1:00am, with my wife passed out next to our dog, and me watching a PVR’d copy of the PGA Championship golf tournament, I was in a pretty relaxed state, given that golf is a calm sport, and the announcers basically whisper as the players slowly line up their putts.  Maybe this juxtaposition – with the loud assholes outside the door, was what made it unbearable.  I’m not sure.

I could hear somebody shouting “Bro!  Bro!  No Way Bro!  No Way!”

And it just set me off.  These bros were getting under my skin.

Judging a book by its cover, I decided that these bros weren’t likely to respond to kindness, so I opened the door, and flung into the hall in a fake rage.

There were six people there, looking like cast of Jersey Shore.  These girls were disgusting – wearing what barely qualifies as clothing, and the hallway smelled like a perfume truck crashed at the corner of Jarvis & Adelaide, and a tidal wave of Brut submerged the entire building.

Each bro had the collar of his polo shirt popped up, spiked hair, visible arm tattoo, and jeans with some sort of sequins or sparkles on them.  Each girl had boobs that looked like they were about to fall onto the ground, and perhaps even roll away.

I walked out into the hallway and made my way to the plaque on the wall, and slammed my hand against it, asking, “CAN YOU READ?” They were stunned at my presence, but not threatened, and certainly not sympathetic.

“Yo guy, lighten up,” one of the bros said.

“It’s the fucking weekend, dude,” another one said.  “Get yo-self a drink man!”

“I LIVE on this floor,” I told them.  “I live here!  This is my building, I pay maintenance fees here, and this is a RESIDENCE for a dozen people on this floor!   You’re an invited guest.  Do you have any self-control over your voice, or did you do so many shots of Patron that you’ve lost all control?”

They laughed at me, to be honest.  They didn’t give a shit.

“Yo dude – the next time you buy a condo,” said the lead bro, “Don’t buy one on the floor where the party room is at.  You wanna read books quietly on a Friday night, you chose the wrong floor, guy.” And they laughed some more.

If I was 21-years-old, I would have Jackie Chan’d the crap out of them.  And yes, when I was 21, I could more than likely take three really drunk guys, or at least make it competitive.  I used to be able to kick an apple off the top of my brother’s head with a spinning heel-kick.  Now I can barely swing around in my kitchen to grab an apple without pulling something…

I went back inside, and my dog licked my face, which made me feel slightly better.

And it got me thinking: were these guys right? Is it my fault for buying a condo on the floor where the party room is located?

Should I have any reasonable expectation that people aren’t going to be loud, drunk, and inconsiderate every Friday and Saturday night?  Should I just assume the worst? Maybe it’s my mistake from the beginning.

I try to see the best in people, but take one look at what’s going on around the world right now – whether it’s overseas, down south, or even in our own city, and maybe my expectations of fellow man are just too high.

Maybe I should have simply expected to be bothered every single Friday and Saturday night, for as long as I live here, and the whole damn thing is my fault. In any event, this story really got away from me, and the point was actually to list off a few “red flag locations” in condominium buildings…

Condo Party Room

I think the above story covered this one, but it’s not just living on the same floor as the party room.

If you live above the party room, you’re going to get your share of noise!  Noise travels up, especially if there’s an open window or outdoor space.  And if the building is poorly insulated, the noise can travel through the floors, or through the vents.

Then there’s the “conference rooms” in some buildings, which some people use for parties of a smaller scale, but there’s equally as much noise.  For every meeting of a book club, or annual meeting of some entrepreneurial venture that you might think takes place in a “conference room,” there’s probably ten parties that get out of hand.


A few years ago, I visited a unit in my building that was getting an A+ as I walked through the foyer, down the hall, through the living room, past the dining table, and toward the window.  But then suddenly, this unit’s grade fell to an “F.”

The unit was on the 10th floor, with a balcony that actually hung overtop the party terrace on the 9th floor below! It’s one thing to live on the same floor as the party room, and hear drunk people in the halls.  But it’s another thing entirely to have them outside your window!

Garbage Chute

I had a tenant once that complained to me about living next to the garbage chute.  It wasn’t so much the chute itself, as it was the girl who was always loudly talking on her phone as she walked to the chute.  Imagine – being so bored, and so alone, than you can’t take our your garbage without being on the phone yakking away.

The opening and closing of the chute isn’t necessarily the issue, but rather in my experience, it’s the sound of bottles and cans rattling around in the chute as they make their way down.

As I type this, sitting in my dining room, I can hear the chute across the hall from me.  It’s not as loud as it would be for the person next door, but I can still hear it. In some buildings with older chutes, and with less sound insulation, you can hear it from your bedroom…


I had a client tell me that living directly across from the elevator drove him insane, since he heard “ding” all night long, and then he started to hear it during the day when he was out walking!  He thought he was going nuts!

The “ding” noises eventually blend in with your surroundings, I would think.  I used to hear the helicopters above us flying to deliver organs at the hospitals, and now I don’t hear them anymore; but it’s not like they stopped. As for the sound of the elevators themselves, they can get really bad in some particular units.

There are certain L-shaped units, where the portion of the L that’s hollowed out is due to the fact that the unit wraps directly around the elevator shaft.  I remember being in the bedroom of one of these units in a nearby building, and you could hear the grinding of the cables as the elevator moved its way up and down.  This isn’t the case for every unit next to the elevator, but some buildings are designed in a way that the shaft is literally on the other side of your unit wall.

Overlooking Parking Ramp

This might not give you as much noise as some of the others, but it’s a constant eyesore if you’re on the 3rd or 4th floor, and cars coming and going are always in your peripheral vision.

In my building, we have a massive roundabout where delivery trucks come and go, and block residents and other vehicles, and sometimes it’s gridlock!  Then people honk, and then other people honk back, and then you take your book and leave your balcony – assured you’ll never sit out there in peace.

Overlooking Dumpsters

It’s not the smell that’s the issue here. It’s the noise! How is garbage loud, you ask?  Well when garbage trucks come and pick up those two-ton bins, and lift them like up in the air with their electronic elephant-tusks, and then the 500-pound steel lid of the bin bangs back, and forth, and back, and forth – it’s enough to wake up the dead.

If you think that all garbage trucks come during the day, you’re sadly mistaken.  I had a client who lived in a west-facing unit at 205 Frederick Street once, and he said the trucks came to George Brown every morning at 2am, and he fought tooth and nail to get them to stop.  They did, eventually…

Overlooking Adjacent Parking Lot

Last but not least, this one is a red flag for what should be an obvious reason: every parking lot in the downtown core will eventually be a condo.

If you have a great view, and it overlooks a parking lot, then sell your condo now, or be prepared to lose that view. And when the trucks start rolling up at 6am, and you have construction for two years, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. A Grant

    at 7:16 am

    If I were to add my own to the list: Second floor unit above the front entrance. You get the drunks stumbling home on the weekends, as well as the smokers whose partners refuse to let them smoke on the balcony outside their unit.

    I guess this applies to all second floor units on a busy street with lots of foot traffic

  2. VC

    at 8:36 am

    The garbage area is the worst. I saw a townhome in my building for sale and noticed the master bedroom faced the garbage pick up area. Imagine on the second floor facing the garbage area. I knew that unit would be a hard sell.

  3. Amelia Haynes

    at 9:18 am

    Do guys still pop their collars?

  4. Amelia Haynes

    at 9:19 am

    PS … I was hoping you would elaborate more on how these things affect pricing a unit for sale.

  5. Vlad

    at 9:23 am

    David, your description of the bros was hilarious. But, alas, they were right, if not eloquent.

  6. Darren

    at 9:41 am

    I’ve lived in many different condos. I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. If I were to buy again if would have to be a unit at the end of a hall on a corner. This is for a cross breeze with the windows open. But probably the biggest thing would be no other building with line of sight into my unit. The place I live now is directly across from the next building so my curtains are almost always closed for privacy. Never again.

  7. grasshopper

    at 10:02 am

    I don’t normally agree with DudeBros™, but they are right that living beside the party room means that you will hear parties.

    If there is a 24 hour onsite staff person, maybe it is part of their job to enforce noise bylaws after 11pm.

  8. Dan

    at 10:12 am

    I’ll ask the question on everyone’s minds: Were the bro’s wearing Puka Shells?

  9. CondoMadness

    at 11:52 am

    You forgot being above the basketball court or the fitness room with weights. Being at an end units on a lower floor beside the stairs can get loud with people banging the doors.

    1. A Grant

      at 1:00 pm

      Agreed. Lived in a fourth fllor apartment unit overlooking a basketball and tennis court – both of which were lit until midnight. At least I knew what not to look for when condo shopping

    2. Former Condo Dweller

      at 10:04 pm


      We used to live *under* the gym (top floor gym), and you always heard thuds from people dropping free weights on the floor. Worst was the late night workout dudes, who also happened to be the ones most likely to throw the weights down.

    3. moveebuff

      at 12:21 pm

      We owned many homes over the last 40 years and have just moved into our brand new condo in a huge complex in the Humber Bay area of West Toronto. Looked for the perfect location for 4 years before we bought this pre-build. I researched as much as I could about avoiding location of condo in a building & even though we’ve only been here for a month I’m pretty sure we made the right decision.
      Then it happened….party at the outdoor pool with pimps and ho looking clientele. I wanted to catch the action on my phone but I didn’t dare take the chance…Quick action was taken and the next thing I knew I found myself in the elevator with 5 drunk guys carrying a 24 & reeking of au de alcohol…they actually looked more pathetic than scary. Security obviously nipped that party in the butt. Speaking of butts, the security staff had a good laugh watching the security footage the next morning of this “girl” with a huge ass flossing it to the music.
      Forget the boring home ownership…this is amazing entertainment and all for free! I of course fired off an e-mail to management to let them know how much I enjoyed seeing the free shit show and to my surprise they responded that extra security will be hired immediately. This building isn’t even half full yet so I’m sure there were be more drama to come soon…..stay tuned.

  10. Cliff

    at 11:53 am

    I will never again buy a condo where the neighbor below me has a large patio that I look over. So many problems with it. Never again!

  11. JP

    at 12:58 pm

    You forgot about units that have a large patio, with units overlooking said patio.

    It seems like a great deal until the barrage of cigarette butts and other debris rain down on your newly purchased patio furniture – and on you.

  12. Alex

    at 3:28 pm

    Please add overlooking a delivery entrance as well, since those are really loud too. I currently rent an apartment on the 4th floor that is right above the garbage area for my building and the building next door, and it doubles as the delivery entrance for the building next door as well. When trucks come to deliver there they have to back up, so you hear the ‘beep beep beep’, and then there is loading/unloading which is really loud too since it’s usually them wheeling large metal carts down a rickety metal ramp. If they leave the truck running (which they usually do) then I also get the loud rumbling noise of the engine. Since the deliveries generally happen around 6am or earlier I have to leave my bedroom window closed at night, otherwise it will wake me up in the morning. Luckily my windows have very good noise-proofing and block it out when closed.

  13. Real Estate Attorney

    at 8:39 pm

    We have a FULL-TIME ATTORNEY on our team who is an expert in real estate. You will get not only a FREE consultation but also the attorney will negotiate the short sale with your bank on your behalf – all at NO COST to you.We have created a system where the banks and the buyers pay all the fees and costs – so you don’t have to!

  14. ScottyP

    at 10:54 pm

    Waqas? Is that you?

  15. Brian

    at 8:34 am

    “and my dog licked my face, which made me feel slightly better..” 🙂

  16. Free Country

    at 11:08 pm

    Every day I thank myself that I did not buy a condo.

    1. George

      at 9:44 pm

      They are not for everyone, but my five minute walk to work more than offsets any of the condo ownership disadvantages that I have come across.

  17. ABB

    at 11:16 am

    And none of these internal disciplinary issues or management challenges is obligated to be disclosed in the status report to the prospective purchaser.

  18. ABB

    at 11:18 am

    PS — I think I’ve seen a perfume vending truck parked somewhere in the Entertainment District on weekends.

  19. Frustrated owner

    at 9:54 am

    I know this is an old post, but I came across it when I googled ‘noise in condo party room’. I’m going through the exact same issue now. The party room is on the main floor and my main issue is that people leave the door open when they’re holding parties. Day. Night..doesn’t matter. I constantly have to call the concierge to have them tell the guests to keep it closed. That normally keeps the noise at bay. Last night there was an extremely loud party in there with likely the same ‘bros’ loud in the hallway leaving the room every two seconds to go for a smoke, etc. Then someone tracked dog shit from outside into the hallway..and into the party room (and now we’ll have to pay for the cleaning of the carpet of the party room – fantastic), but now I had 5 drunk people yelling in the hall trying to clean the dog shit. My place smelled like shit as the smell seeped in. So now my main issue is the security in the building. They don’t control the noise in there. I went to speak to security at midnight and he said there were already 3 calls about the noise. So now I’m the fourth person complaining and still nothing is being done about it. What’s the point of telling them to be quiet if nothing is done?! One of my neighbours mentioned they called the cops since security didn’t have any impact. The fact that it even has to get to that point is ridiculous. What the hell are we paying a concierge/security for? I’m now going to bring this to the board. Don’t buy on bruyeres mews. Beyond poorly run building mgmt.

  20. Pingback: Toronto Neighbourhoods: Location, Location..........Not Location, Anymore?

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