This $1,000-per-month west-end apartment comes with a catch

This $1,000-per-month west-end apartment comes with a catch

The "micro loft" in question.

The ad on Craigslist is compelling. “$1000 Micro Loft Space,” reads the headline. “For a Creative/Handy Person.” That’s a suspiciously good price for an apartment on the main floor of a house near Dundas and Jane. And indeed there is a catch: the “micro loft” is actually an empty, 16-by-16-foot brick shell with no kitchen, no bathroom, no nothing. Whoever rents the place will have to build their own home.

The landlord is Bilal Quadri, a 29-year-old customer service supervisor at Bombardier. He has lived in the house for about 10 years, and currently shares its upper two floors with his wife. A more typical approach to renovating a space like this would be to take out a loan and get everything done professionally, then rent the place out for top dollar. Bilal prefers not to, for a few reasons.

“I get to forego any kind of loan,” he says. “The rent they pay me, I can allow that amount of money to be injected back into the space. It’s also a way to give back. These are people who may not be able to afford that $2,000-per-month place.”

Another view of the loft space, as it’s currently set up.

Quadri says he has already done about $6,000 of work on the space, insulating it and bringing it up to code, so that a tenant would only need to worry about interior finishes. He intends to pay for the majority of building materials (excepting anything “fancy or unnecessary”), and he’d hire professional electricians and plumbers to deal with the trickiest work. Everything else would be up to the tenant. Quadri says he’d offer anyone who agreed to these terms a minimum three-year lease.

But the question remains: would any renter actually take a deal like this? Quadri says yes. He offered the basement of his house under similar terms late last year, and he says he did eventually find a tenant—a divorced carpenter who pays $700 per month for a unit he still hasn’t quite finished working on. (Quadri says he also pays the tenant a small per diem for his work.)

According to Quadri, interest in the main-floor space has been strong. “I’ve been getting an average of five responses per week since the ad went up,” he says. “These are contractors, people with design backgrounds. They’re offering to send over their portfolios. They’re intrigued by a place that would be new construction, and would be their own style.”