Bad rentals! Greenwin, Sterling Karamar, Capreit, Starlight

Posted on October 26th, 2015 14 great comments. Room for one more!

Over a year and a half ago I brought up some of the issues that we were experiencing with our apartment. In case you don’t remember, the 2 elevators had slowly been deteriorating and eventually stopped working altogether. No matter how many times we approached management about the issues, no matter how many times the TSSA issued “stop operations” orders, nothing but sloppy band-aid solutions were applied. It was only until the tenants got utterly fed up and collectively took the company to court that something got done. But the elevators were just one of the problems, the rest of which persist.

The management of the Startlight Investments property at the time was Greenwin Inc. which was subsequently switched to Sterling Karamar. At least that was the placation; the fact that almost none of the contact information had changed suggested that, indeed, little had changed. In fact, comparing the customer portals of Greenwin and Sterling Karamar shows a remarkable similarity.

This might be easy to dismiss until one looks at the corporate leadership of Sterling Karamar and Property Vista, the mutual customer portal shared with Greenwin. Property Vista’s CEO is Leonard Drimmer, formerly CEO of property management firm Transglobe, a company founded by Daniel Drimmer (no relation, I’m sure), CEO of Starlight. Okay, so Sterling Karamar and Property Vista are connected but where does Greenwin come into it? Well, our building manager has been kind enough to put the pieces together on his LinkedIn profile:

vorajee

How about that? Looks like Mr. Vorajee worked for Greenwin (the company “managing” 200 Wellesley during their massive fire), right before suddenly switching over to Sterling Karamar – right around the same time as Starlight made the switch from Greenwin to Sterling Karamar at our place. Mere coincidence, I’m sure.

I’m sure it’s equally coincidental that Capreit, where Asad was a “leasing specialist”, was acquired by Starlight. Yeah, sure. I’m equally dubious of Timbercreek’s proximity to Starlight but maybe I’m wrong there. Regardless, when the tenants described Starlight’s lack of action as a “shell game” during our court action, they were right. When Asad explained that he had no knowledge of our property’s problems before he took over, I was right to be skeptical. Besides, how does one become a property manager without knowing anything about the problems with the property that they’re managing?

Just to give you a taste of the services that these people expect us to put up with, we’re now into the 10th day without hot water; we’d probably still be waiting for them to just have a look if I didn’t let loose on them over the phone two Saturdays ago. Of course, Asad claimed that no one had complained and he had no idea! Sure.

Then there’s the problems with the stairwells — see how many you can spot:

nice :|

Although the graffiti’s a nice touch, the real problems are the banisters, slippery-paint stairs on all but 2 floors, and a complete lack of emergency lighting. When the elevators went out this was our only way up 18 flights of stairs. With a wheelchair it sucked. During the rain and snow it sucked more. When the power went out it sucked even more.

The superintended shrugs and walks away whenever these issues are brought up, and despite the continuous torrent of complaints he receives (according to him), he seems quite satisfied to keep his mouth shut and continue in his role. Perhaps it has something to do with the newly acquired BMW he’s been proudly buffing in the parking lot; quite a prize for a lowly super!

Then when we bring up these problems to management, their lackadaisical “fixes” (when they actually bother), leave a lot to be desired:

just don't fall!

Every level of the company claims ignorance of any of these issues. Instead of addressing them they insist that we use their portal to report them, after which they’re promptly ignored. For example, I currently have 16 open maintenance issues which have been sitting idle without any follow up for a week now (they kindly ask for up to 2 business days to set up an inspection). Some of the open issues include a busted bathtub faucet:

no water for you!

…water-damaged ceilings:

the least of our concerns

…no doubt as a result of the newly renovated roof which appears to be about as watertight as the newly renovated windows:

as long as it doesn't rain or snow...

…or the walls on which, contrary to the superintendent’s advice, sticking a piece of tape doesn’t fix the drafts:

not a great solution

Equally ineffective was their “solution” to a lack of hot water in our kitchen sink. For this they broke through the wall into the adjoining unit and connected our hot water to theirs. When the building actually has hot water the water pressure understandably sucks, but on the bright side our cats can squeeze through the hole and make unexpected visits to our neighbour, as can odours and drafts:

howdy, neighbour!

Based on this I think it’s doubtful that the rotting caulking, peeling paint, or crumbling balcony would be a high priority for them:

whatever

I haven’t even touched on the grossness in the basement laundry room, complete lack of security, and other problems throughout the building, but I’m sure you can imagine them at this point.

However, it would be unfair for me to claim that management aren’t at least aware of our presence in this building. Yeah, problems don’t get fixed, but they’re quick to let us know how concerned they are:

but it's worth it!

Third increasing in three years. Heart-warming.

But wait, there’s more:

well, if it's for THEM...

Funny, I recall choosing this place specifically because they didn’t require insurance, but the year-long lease that they refer to has long since expired anyways. Still, their honesty about how this is to help lower their insurance costs is refreshing and understandable; they don’t want us suing them for the inevitable destruction of our property as a result of their shoddy service and workmanship.

I’d be willing to be fair and say that we receive other communication from them but, aside from the occasional pamphlet asking us to log into Sterling Karamar’s portal, or flyer asking us to sucker someone else into renting in one of their buildings (for a $300 reward), the only news we currently have is in the landing to let us know that the hot water might be back on by the end of this week. Maybe. Oh, and the roof above the parking area may be “renovated”. Maybe. Next year.

We’re not exactly what you’d call loud or obnoxious neighbours (we’ve had one “party” since we’ve moved in, and that involved a few quiet drinks with a friend), and as you can tell we hold back on our complaints. All of the damages I’ve shown here were either present since we moved in about three years ago, or have developed as a result of daily wear and tear. I like to think that I’m reasonable both in terms of how long I expect things to last as well as how long it should take to fix them (or at least follow up). However, I’ve now had just about enough.

If you’re looking to rent in Toronto and you see properties either owned or managed by any of the companies I’ve rolled off, I would highly recommend that you avoid them.

“High-end rentals” indeed!

not terribly accurate

14 Comments on “ Bad rentals! Greenwin, Sterling Karamar, Capreit, Starlight ”

  • Jr
    November 5th, 2015 1:22 am

    I live in a Sterling Karamar building that they own (Bloor/Dufferin) and dont experience your frustrations..
    Sure, we get yearly rent increases, but they’ve been the legal amount. The staff are competent and most importently, approachable.
    Sounds to me like the owner of your building is the issue.


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  • D
    February 28th, 2016 11:22 pm

    I know how you feel; property owners and the property management companies working for them are allowed to play fast and loose with the rules for too long.

    I live in a Starlight/Greenwin property, everything is low priority for them (except the sky high rent)


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  • Worried
    April 20th, 2016 4:52 pm

    Tenants in Aurora are very worried as Starlight Investments bought our buildings 2 years ago and they started playing games right away. We are fortunate that the buildings are in overall decent shape but they use DMS Property Management in the buildings which had have been bad enough trying to deal with them.

    Right after they bought our buildings (May 2014) everyone’s Notice of Rent Increase stopped including any mention of LMR deposit Interest and we all get the same answer from the office – “It is on Account”??? Put into the Ledger but never paid back to the Tenants!!

    Last year (2015) they tried to make long-term Tenants pay for extra vehicle parking spots, which had never cost anything before. They managed to intimidate a lot of Tenants into paying for the extra spot – even though we were warned it was illegal to charge extra for something you had been receiving.

    Now they have signs up all over the place saying they have gone paperless and just this week put up a notice saying they would not accept cheques any more. They are trying to force everyone into automatic debit…or they suggest the available “Vista Portal” online payment systems which will charge you a fee to be able to pay your rent electronically!!! And it is owned by DMS Property Management LTD!!!

    They are really trying to intimidate the long-term Tenants into leaving or at least squeeze every extra illegal fee they can think of!!!


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  • Patrick
    April 27th, 2016 4:30 pm

    Yikes…sounds like Starlight is screwing people all over. If it’s any consolation, they are having “rent right now!” open houses trying to fill in as many (understandable) vacancies as possible. I honestly believe that the best path to justice with this company begins by getting the word out there!


  • Starlight sucks
    April 30th, 2016 3:31 pm

    I also live in a starlight/dms property, there is no end to their attempts at illegal changes/charges someone needs to look into this “investment” company as I am sure they are totally on the up and up in every other aspect of business! Just like in every other shady business deal, the fatcat investors live it up at the top at the expense of people’s lives and stress at the bottom. Don’t live in a starlight inv building, let them sink under their own crap!!!


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  • Henry VIII
    July 15th, 2016 12:52 am

    Yes, Greeenwin stinks, Cap Reit more, and Akelius is hell beyond one’s wildest dreams.


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  • Henry VIII
    July 15th, 2016 12:54 am

    Someone is letting all these companies get away with all this. Who? THE LANDLORD AND TENANT BOARD OF ONTARIO, THAT’S WHO!!!!!!!!!!!

    And who is letting the LTB get away with all this? You KNOW who.


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  • Patrick
    August 1st, 2016 11:38 am

    The LTB has somehow managed to pre-approve above-rate rent increases for our building for the next 3 years. So now new tenants moving in will be legally saddled with above-rate rent increases (bet there’s no law that says that they must be informed when they move in), despite the fact that the law clearly states that the landlord must re-apply every 12 months. Once again a perfect example of the government seizing our money to violate its own rules; and if you don’t like it, you complain to government…


  • Dawn
    December 7th, 2016 2:37 pm

    starlight IS HORRIBLE!!! They are heartless. They increase your rent with NO warning then when you do not pay the full amount as you did not have a clue it went up, they take you to court to start the eviction process and then tack on an additional $170 for the court filing fee. I have a broken fridge that I have filled out 2 reports on and I have yet to get another. I am about to go buy my own and deduct it from the rent…. mind you they will just take my ass to court. Our building has a TON of seniors and we have NO handicap access. We just got new windows and toilets, they got a rebate back from the government for it, yet we just got over a 5% rent increase to pay for the windows that should have been done like over 20 years ago!!!! The windows SUCK as they aren’t much better then the original ones in the building. I have cracks like what you saw further up on this thread that cold air comes through. Nothing EVER gets fixed. I pay $40 to park my car in a beat up parking lot that tears your car apart. I use to want them to fix it, until I found outlast night that it would mean YET ANOTHER BIG rent increase!!! The guy that owns Starlight lives in a big multimillion dollar mansion yet, charges outranges prices for rent, doesn’t fix anything. I know all the tenants in our building are looking at contact media and that to try and get bills passed as there really isn’t any laws protecting tenants against the greed these corporations are inflicting on tenants. I pay A LOT of money on my apt, plus $40 for horrible parking conditions, plus I pay hydro and it’s electric HEAT!! In a VERY drafty building.

    SAVE YOURSELF THE HEADACHE AND DO NTO RENT FROM THESE CROOKS!! THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE….CROOKS!!!! Never in ALL my life have a ever had this many issues. They also change company names like we change underwear to avoid certain taxes and any legal issues tenants bring on them. We use to be COGIR and now it is NORTHVIEW REIT. All employees are THE SAME except the verbiage has changed as they rebranded due to being assholes and about to be sued.

    In our building we use to be able to pay rent via online banking. SO easy. Now we do not have that option. Only debt and the office isn’t open weekends, or after 4:30 Mon to Fri, so makes it very difficult to pay when no one is there to do debt, you can get money order, however our superintendent looses them and you get nailed with being late for rent, plus the hassle of cancelling the first one (which cost money) plus having to pay ANOTHER $8 get another one.

    EVERY LAST EMPLOYEE FOR THESE COMPANIES ARE NOTHING BUT HEARTLESS, SOULESS CREATURES. Who wont even return a call. After requesting MANY, MANY times for documentation of my rent increase that apparently happened in April, I still have NOT received. Yes, they are VERY quick to take your ass to court for being late on the rent.

    Emergency Line for our building is a toll free line that no one ever answers…. go figure right.
    I can’t wait to MOVE!!!!


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  • Rouela
    December 27th, 2016 10:11 am

    I live in 4222 bathurst st., owned & managed by sterling company & yes you’re all right about the company. This apartment is the dirtiest i’ve ever reside in Toronto. The hallways, lobby, elevators & laundry are always dirty that stops me to invite friends & family on special ocassions because it is really embarassing. The unit has cacroaches because we have open holes under the sink. Most of my neighbors & old tenants of this building moved out because of the poor cleanliness issues but the rent is expensive & they increase it every year. I will never recommend this apartment! 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻


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  • ??????
    February 2nd, 2017 5:47 pm

    Horrible company they just don’t care they don’t even pay there bills.


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  • Victoria BC
    February 3rd, 2017 10:23 pm

    A year ago, Starlight came to BC, and it’s been nothing but awful.
    http://www.cheknews.ca/james-bay-tenants-forced-apartments-noon-sunday-263749/


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  • Carol
    September 11th, 2017 3:57 pm

    Thinking about renting an apartment managed by Greenwin but am finding a lot of negative reviews so I’m apprehensive now. The unit has been renovated.
    Any advice please would be appreciated

    Thanks so much!


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  • Patrick
    September 18th, 2017 9:40 am

    I would avoid them, Carol. They all appear to be part of a conglomerate of companies which include MetCap, known for stuff like this: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/08/12/parkdale-rent-strike-over-repairs-above-guideline-increases-ends-with-tenants-declaring-victory.html


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