Toronto tycoon Brad J. Lamb blasted for giving evicted tenants 24 hours to move out
Imagine receiving a message from your wealthy landlord telling you that — oopsie! — the apartment you live in was actually built without a permit, and that the City of Toronto just discovered this, so... you need to move out. Within 24 hours.
No alternative places to stay, no offer of financial compensation, just a cold, formal notice that "your tenancy has been terminated and you must vacate the property."
Again, within 24 hours, in the middle of a pandemic, and only because city officials came to inspect the property after lethal levels of carbon monoxide were detected on-site.
Worse still, it was a tenant's own personal CO detector that alerted everyone to the threat: The landlord's detectors were found to have been installed improperly.
Had it not been for the self-purchased unit in Michael Seater's west-end Toronto apartment, he and his neighbours could have been killed by the deadly, odorless gas — and the building's owner, Toronto mega-developer Brad J. Lamb, would have been to blame.
Brad J Lamb evicted neighbours tonight bc the fire marshall deemed the building unsafe. Instead of taking care of his tenants, he evicted them with less than 24 hrs notice. @anabailaoTO is this who we want doing business in our neighbourhood??? pic.twitter.com/Nz5fdNuGri— christine lim (@chrissylim) March 13, 2021
Seater and his partner are two of nine people who were evacuated from their homes above an auto garage at 1407-1409 Bloor Street West in the middle of the night last Wednesday after the carbon monoxide detector went off.
The building's residents waited on a bus in the middle of the night while firefighters inspected. According to Seater, they found a reading of 66 parts per million in his unit and a potentially deadly 100 parts per million in the shop below.
By Thursday, after several visits from city inspectors, notices had been posted around the building declaring it unsafe. Much to the surprise of occupants, their units had never permitted for residential use in the first place.
Residents say they received an email from their landlord's property manager that night telling them that they had just over 24 hours to vacate.
The email stated that they would need to be out "no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 12, 2021" and that reentry to the building would not be permitted after midnight on Friday.
Wow- this is no average slum lord or small time building owner- it’s #BradLamb, high end #Toronto condo King. He could easily have rehoused his tenants but instead abandons them during a #pandemic. I signed this petition, please join me: https://t.co/4ZEI8n3BP8 via @leadnowca— LDH (@Dawn_One) March 15, 2021
With little time to find boxes, pack and secure moving arrangements — let alone to find new apartments — all residents are now said to be staying with friends and family.
They say they received their last month's rent deposit back, but got nothing else from Lamb Sterling Corp. by way of compensation.
"When @BradJLamb's rep sent us the notice Thursday evening that we had to vacate within 24 hours we asked what kind of support they would provide. They told us they would not be providing any support," tweeted Seater on Sunday as part of a damning and now-viral thread.
"We sent a list of reasonable expected costs to the representative and she said she would share this with @BradJLamb. She called back to say he refused our ask."
Neither Lamb nor any members of his team had responded to requests for comment (not from us or any other outlet, it appears) as of Monday morning.
To get a sense of who Brad J Lamb is here's his most recent tweet calling Covid an "opportunity." So many Toronto landlords are like this and yet we just accept it as a real estate mentality. #topoli https://t.co/A9X1m5Oq3k pic.twitter.com/IZdHqGplXV— Mitchell Gauvin (@MitchellGauvin_) March 14, 2021
People all over the city are enraged and confused as news of the surprise eviction at spreads, and many are wondering how Lamb is getting away with the abrupt eviction.
"What I really want to know is why one of Toronto's most prominent real estate brokers and condo developers (Brad Lamb's billboards are everywhere in this city) was managing illegal and dangerous rental apartments," wrote one. "And why Brad Lamb is doing nothing to help."
"Apparently they did not have the correct building permits when they built those apartments above the garage," wrote another. "When landlords cheat procedures why should the tenants be the ones to suffer?"
Regardless of what Lamb is legally obliged to do, many are saying that his actions are wrong — including MPP Marit Stiles and Toronto City Councillor Josh Matlow, who said Sunday night that "the City of Toronto should have these residents' backs. And throw the book at Brad J. Lamb."
And it's not only the speedy, supportless eviction that has people up in arms.
You’d think Brad Lamb running illegal apartments and nearly killing a bunch of people would be a bigger story https://t.co/gyPmSTcmi8— the addams curtis family (@ZaaackKoootzer) March 14, 2021
First off, there's the fact that one of Toronto's biggest condo developers allowed people to live in illegally-constructed apartment units without sufficient carbon monoxide protection.
"The landlord, Brad Lamb, is reported to have installed ineffective monoxide detectors that would, according to firefighters, have failed to protect the residents," reads a petition calling upon the Lamb Corp. to provide all impacted tenants with at least three months of housing.
"Lamb runs Toronto's top condo and loft brokerage. A search of his website reveals hundreds of available properties. He has the means to offer shelter to the people whose lives he almost destroyed and who he has evicted overnight."
While known mostly for unique billboards that show his own face atop the body of a sheep, the real estate tycoon has also developed a reputation in recent years for being unlucky — you know, in the sense that historic buildings he wants to build over keep catching on fire.
and then again in June 2020, another 100-year-old property he had recently purchased mysteriously caught fire in Corktown. It was hardly covered and then completely demolished. I'm seeing a pattern! https://t.co/lJi5LbTT1a— Edward Row (@edwardrow) March 14, 2021
Lamb's website, where he has recently been posting strange anti-lockdown blog entries comparing COVID-19 to the seasonal flu and suggesting that the government is lying to us, describes him as "Toronto's top condominium broker" and "also one of the city's most prominent developers."
"To date, Brad J. Lamb has been involved in the sale of over 28,000 properties for more than 8 billion dollars of sales. Since 2002, Lamb Development Corp has completed nineteen developments, some 3,400 suites for over $1.3 billion," reads the website.
"Currently, Lamb Development Corp has four projects under construction, almost 1,000 suites for a value of $500 million."
Meanwhile, recently-evicted tenants of the property on Bloor between Dundas and Lansdowne are looking for new apartments to rent.
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