In 2018 CMHC made an offer to a particular group of clients, which the Agency encouraged them to accept. For a limited time, S61 co-ops locked into a high interest rate could prepay their mortgages without the usual penalty. (Unfortunately, the opportunity is no longer available.) Chadwick Towers, a Toronto housing co‑operative, decided that this invitation should not be refused. The Agency got the story from Patrick Masterson, Senior Manager at Homestarts, who assisted the co-op throughout the process.
“The board took action to refinance because of the existing high-interest loan, pre-payment forgiveness, record low interest rates and the commitment from the federal government to honour RGI subsidies to 2028. Section 61 co-ops are aging. The capital backlog in almost all co-ops of this era means that refinancing is the ideal mechanism to tackle large health and safety projects that increase the integrity of the structures.” - Patrick Masterson, Senior Manager at Homestarts
With that in mind, the members of Chadwick Towers committed to prepaying their existing CMHC mortgage and refinanced with a private lender. Their purpose was not only to get rid of a high-cost mortgage, but to borrow money at a low interest rate for badly needed capital repairs. The co-op rolled its application for refinancing into its Asset Management Plan (AMP), which is based on a Building Condition Assessment (BCA) and Reserve Fund Study from two years earlier.
Recognized that various health and safety projects had to be tackled, the co-op prioritized the work in three phases. Restoring a concrete podium deck and retaining walls and making the outdoor parking area safer (phase-one priorities) have already been completed.
The co-op is happy to report that phase two is currently underway. It includes waterproofing and repairing the concrete slab and revitalizing the co-op’s courtyard. While the work in phase one was necessary and urgent, attention to the courtyard is of special interest to members. Unlike the vital core work on the building, the courtyard redesign comes as a reward because this beautifully refreshed community space will be enjoyed by everyone.
Members are excitedly looking forward to phase 3 during which kitchens, bathrooms and flooring will get a new look after many years of wear and tear. We can’t wait to see the photographs.
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