08/06/2013 08:09 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Toronto city councillor attacks unapproved condo ads

A Toronto city councillor started removing ads for condominiums that have yet to be approved in his neighbourhood, saying the advertisements are "illegal" and mislead buyers.

"I have residents come up to me and say, 'but I thought that was approved,'" said Josh Matlow, councillor of ward 22. "Well, of course you thought it was approved because the developers [have] a big sign saying: coming soon."

But there is no law preventing developers from selling units without a building permit. If customers purchase units in a building that does not secure approval, their deposit is returned with interest.

Matlow wants developers to use ¼ of their ad space to indicate the condo is still waiting for city approval.

He moved a motion asking the province to mandate this, but Queen's Park has not yet responded to his request.

Matlow documented his anger at the signage Monday evening on Twitter.

After passing by two such signs, Matlow tweeted that he will get rid of any a-frame ad selling unappproved condos that he sees.

Matlow then hid a sign for Red Path Condos behind a mailbox at the Yonge Street and Manor Road intersection.

Not everyone agrees with Matlow that current signs are misleading.

Anyone can ask about a condo's status and the approval information is also included in buyer contracts, said Brad Lamb, a Toronto condo developer.

"If he's concerned about people not being aware of what's going on in his ward, he needs to do a better job of making people aware of it," said Lamb. "It's not difficult."