Residents of Hamilton’s Ward three (Victoria Avenue to Ottawa Street) are becoming increasingly vigilant about the proliferation of illegal duplexes and triplexes. City Bylaw staff say ward three is the worst in the city when it comes to illegal conversions. Tracking down the landlords is keeping the city’s by-law enforcement staff busy. Typically the guilty parties are out-of –towners attracted by the relatively low cost of Hamilton’s housing stock. A house that would fetch $500,000 or more , in Toronto can still be obtained for $200,000 or less in central Hamilton, depending on the exact location. Landlords scoop up the properties, subdivide them and rent them out—too often to persons involved in the drug trade. Even if the tenants are not involved with drugs putting extra families in a building creates parking and garbage problems on residential streets. Ward Three resident Paul Tetley routinely checks out the neighborhood for illegal house conversions. “I advise people on a regular basis not to personally confront property owners or tenants, but rather report the issue to Building, Bylaw, or Police based on the particular circumstance,” Tetley says. He recently compiled a list of dozens of suspected properties. Glyn Wide, the City’s manager of enforcement confirmed several illegal units.
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