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Bridletowne Circle Housing Co‑operative

Good Practices in Maintenance

“People just want to live here.”

Who We Are

Bridletowne Circle is a 36-unit townhouse project located in Toronto. The co‑op is in a desirable area of Scarborough, within walking distance of schools and shopping, and with good transportation links.

Our Story

Twenty years ago our co‑op was in financial difficulty. A significant financial loss, along with member reluctance to increase housing charges, meant that we did not have the money to replace windows and paving when we needed to. The co‑op needed a second mortgage to cover the cost of the repairs. Fortunately, interest rates were low and we were able to complete the necessary work.

Now our co‑op has a focus on maintenance that keeps members happy and makes it easy to fill vacant units. We use our building condition assessments and reserve fund studies (BCA/RFS) to make plans over a five-year period. We update the BCA/RFS every three years and complete the work suggested.

The co‑op also does annual unit inspections. We have a meeting to discuss the maintenance concerns we will focus on most and a follow-up meeting to review the findings and identify problems with the process. Members are encouraged to report all leaks and any other maintenance problems immediately. The members know their concerns will be addressed in a thorough and timely manner.

Routine maintenance and repairs are handled through a contract with a maintenance person who works at three other co‑ops as well. For a small co‑op like us, this work averages 15 hours per week.

Now our co‑op is in an excellent state of repair and looks beautiful. This means members want to stay in the co‑op and it helps attract new members when we do have a vacancy.

Maintenance Spending Year by Year

    2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
As a percentage of operating costs   12.0% 12.3% 11.2% 11.5% 14.15%
Per unit   $1,367 $1,613 $1,437 $1,485 $1,918

What Others Can Learn from the Bridletowne Circle Story

  • We conduct a technical audit every five years and update it after three years to help plan the maintenance schedule.
  • Keep on top of any arrears. If members are in arrears, you will not have money for repairs. Communication with members is very important. Often a potential arrears situation can be avoided by quick, effective intervention.
  • Letting the building get run down can lead to vacancy problems. A well-maintained building will keep members happy and the co‑op full. The co‑op has had 0% vacancy loss over the last three years, compared to 1.6% for similar rental housing in the area.
  • Our co‑op covers the cost of credit and tenant checks and does not charge a fee for membership applications. This encourages people to apply and we never have a problem with vacancies.
  • In addition to keeping the co‑op in excellent repair, Bridletowne Circle has been able to build replacement reserves of $14,100 per unit.

Where are we now? A 2017 update!

Our BCA/RFS still informs all of our planning and budgeting, and we believe in focusing on preventative maintenance and investing our money to improve units as they turn over. We know that keeping units, and our property, in good condition goes a long way to keeping members happy. When members are happy, they take pride in their co‑op and the co‑op sees fewer turnovers.

What has changed? Our co‑op used to cover the costs of credit checks. However, over the last few years, Toronto’s rental market has really heated up and the co‑op has been inundated with applications. It was no longer affordable for us to cover this cost, but we are happy to say that putting the cost back on the applicant has not deterred anyone from applying.


Co‑op name:   Bridletowne Circle
Location:   Toronto, ON
Program:   Section 95
Number of Units:   36
Unit Type:   Townhouses
Date of Occupancy:   1982
Management Model:   Onsite staff