Buy at O.H.?

In a word, yes, I’d still buy the remaining years of a suite lease assignment at Orchard House tower, which offers location, views and amenities that are the envy of many Victorians. Most of the major expenses that arise after 45 years have been incurred by lessees and won’t come up again for decades. And most important is that leasehold suite prices are lower than condominium permanent ownership, so these suites could make a good choice even with the issues lessees here have faced in recent years. Be aware that financing to buy a leasehold suite assignment may not be possible.

Leasehold, though, is not ownership, even though the lessee’s right to occupy a suite for the remaining term years is registered at Land Titles. Orchard House is not maintained or operated to condominium standards and lessees have no say about anything.

Orchard House lessees (other than those who refused and are sued) have paid millions of dollars in the landlord’s litigation expenses, but litigation regarding whether the landlord or tenants pay for new windows has ended, so monthly fees have declined. Further, the courts will likely prohibit future such billings in a ruling that should come during 2022. We also still hope and expect that–eventually–the provincial government will legislate to regulate long-term residential tenancies and to provide a dispute-resolution mechanism other than the courts.

If you have no concern that each suite’s lease assignment expires at the end of 2073, and that resale values will decline as the clock runs down, a leased suite at Orchard House could be an affordable home in the best location imaginable.