A Toronto man, whose neighbours vanished eight years ago and left their home completely abandoned, said he’s fed up living next door to a property that is in complete disarray.
Wilf Navarrete has lived in his North York home, in the Sheppard Avenue West and Yonge Street area, for 45 years, but he said the past eight years have brought him little joy because every time he looks at his neighbour’s property he sees a total mess.
“It has been abandoned for about eight years,” Navarrete told CTV News Toronto. “They disappeared, nobody knows what happened to them.”
Navarrete said he doesn’t know much about the couple who used to live in the house, and he only had a few casual conversations with them before they were gone.
Navarrete said since the house was abandoned, the roof has become rundown, the porch is crumbling, it’s infested with animals, and the property is overrun by grass and weeds in the summer.
He said the animals, mainly raccoons, have got so bad they’ve now started coming into his house. The senior has been forced to spend money patching holes and repairing damage from the raccoons digging into the foundation of his home.
Navarrete said the animals have also scratched their way through the shingles on his roof. He has also paid out of his own pocket to trim overhanging trees, and for damage in his basement caused by his neighbour’s tree roots.
Wilf Navarrete has been dealing with the costs to repair damage on his property for years. (CTV News Toronto)
“I feel really annoyed by it and need help from the city,” he said. “Why should I be paying all these expenses when there’s an empty house causing all the problems?”
When CTV News Toronto visited the property this week, there was a city of Toronto notice taped to the front door, informing the homeowners they are in violation of having weeds on their lawn longer than eight inches.
“That’s the extent of the city fixing it, and then they cut the grass once a year,” Navarrete said.
Ward 18 Councillor Lily Cheng told CTV News Toronto Thursday she is “sad to learn of this homeowner’s long-standing struggles.”
The home’s roof and front porch are crumbling after being left abandoned for years. (CTV News Toronto)
“My office has reviewed the complaint and has reached out to various city departments to try to understand how we can support this homeowner,” she said. “I want my constituents to feel supported and to be able to enjoy their own home and yard. Unfortunately, this specific case has legal implications and complexities as the complaint is related to a private property address and the city is bound by the law on what ways we can get involved.”
Cheng said someone from her office has gone to Navarrete’s house to speak with him and they are now “reviewing the options” to help.
A spokesperso for the city of Toronto said they have received “multiple complaints” about the home over the years.
“From 2015 till now, the city has issued 12 Notices of Violations and 5 Property Standards Orders against this property. In September 2022, the city also carried out remedial work to address waste issues on the property. The costs for the remedial work was placed on the property’s owners taxes,” the city said.
“The city continues to investigate complaints about this property and bylaw enforcement officers have attended the site today as well. Since these are active investigations, we are unable to provide additional information at this moment.”
In the meantime, Navarrete said he’s tired of solving his neighbours problems and hopes the city finds a way to address the issue.
With files from CTV News Toronto’s Rahim Ladhani