Unofficial Rentals, Part III

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In my two previous posts on the topic of non-purpose-built or unofficial rentals I showed that in the ten largest cities in southern Ontario the number of non-purpose-built rentals can be quite large, often thousands of dwellings, and I discussed the different types of non-purpose-built rentals and why it’s important they are included in market surveys.

In my first post, I applied a calculation that showed in the city of Toronto approximately 261,003 households are renting unofficial rentals. But how does this break down by type? By careful use of data from the Census and CMHC it’s possible to calculate estimates of how many non-purpose-built rentals are houses, townhouses, duplexes, and in multi-storey buildings. The table below shows these estimates. What I have done is to subtract purpose-built rental units reported by CMHC from all rented dwellings reported in the Census, just as I did in the first post about this topic, except this time separated by type of structure. NOTE: This data is from the 2011 Census since it’s easily available and since I don’t at the moment have access to the same data from the 2016 Census, but the same calculation could be done using 2016 Census and CMHC data.

Click to enlarge

The calculations in the table above show that in the city of Toronto in 2011 there were approximately 25,055 detached and semi-detached houses and approximately 16,000 units in duplexes being rented. Among multi-unit residential properties, approximately 13,859 freehold and condominium townhouses and 159,865 condominiums were being rented. Those were large quantities and illustrate just how many households are renting outside the purpose-built rental supply in houses, townhouses, duplexes, and condos.

How reliable is this data? Although this data is from 2011 and the numbers will have changed over the last eight years, it’s more likely than not that the general proportions haven’t changed much. Both Statistics Canada and CMHC use estimates—that’s why we see numbers ending in “0” or “5” and thus “16,000”—but the basic finding, that there are thousands and thousands of houses, townhouses, duplexes, and condos being rented unofficially in Toronto, is sound.