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Some former tenants back at Kelvingrove

The red-brick apartments on the east side of Bayview between McRae and Sutherland were in the news six years ago when the owners originally had thoughts of evicting tenants and doing a complete re-build.

After all the dust settled the apartments continue as rental units. The current owner, Realstar,  refers to all of them in the complex as the Kelvingrove Apartments, although during an Ontario Municipal Board hearings, the Leaside Property Owners’ Association, who fought the owner on behalf of the tenants, called them the Talbot Apartments.

One of those tenants, Eileen Ryan, had lived there 13 years when she had to move out for complete building renovations in August of 2013. She was fortunate to find accommodation nearby for the anticipated year to 18-month period while her building was gutted to provide new plumbing, replace knob and tube wiring, put insulation between the floors, install air conditioning, stainless steel kitchen appliances and new bathroom furnishings. The finished apartment also had Venetian blinds installed on the living room and bedroom windows.

She moved back in at the end of February. She and her 11-year-old cat Boots were both happy to return. Boots gave the place a solid inspection, inside and out, and then settled right in.

Four in her block of apartments have returning tenants. The other 24 are newcomers.

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act returning tenants were offered the right of first refusal for their unit when it was completed, with the prescribed, allowable percentage rent increases. There is a similar mix of old and new tenants in the other two renovated sets of apartments.

Someone new coming into the building, however, is paying a different rental amount per month, which means that, while very nice, the apartments in these buildings have now gone from being quite affordable to being, as they are described on the advertising signs, luxury rentals, with a two-bedroom unit renting for $1,700 a month with parking extra.

Many of the tenants who needed to move decided for a variety of reasons that they weren’t up to coming back again. Cosy, convenient for shopping and transportation, a good place to rest your head, a community of neighbours, were just some of their positive comments about the place many of them had lived in for years.

And you can see that the way the buildings are set up does make it easier to become friendly neighbours. Instead of interior corridors, each apartment exits onto the grounds, so when you’re going to your garage, or the back garden, or out to catch a bus, you will run into people and get to know them. At the back of the buildings, there is a runway of black-covered BBQs, certainly making an opportunity to chat.

The big plus for this two-block stretch of apartments is that they are still low-rise, have had essential components upgraded, and for returning tenants the price is reasonable. The corresponding minus is that they are no longer as affordable. Part and parcel of what is happening elsewhere in Leaside too.