VOL.9 NO.3 • JUNE 2016
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OPMG TRANSPARENCY, TRUST
& FUTURE GROWTH
HOW SYNCING CAN MAKE ILS MORE EFFICIENT
RALLYING TO THE CAUSE GRAB SOME OF THOSE
UNTAPPED SAVINGS! Canada’s #1, most widely read publication for Apartment Owners, Managers and Association Executives
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From the Editor’s Desk
Co-founder, Director Juan Malvestitti email@example.com
e’ve all seen the pictures and video of the fires and devastation in Fort McMurray, Alberta. It has been – and still is – a terrible tragedy for the people who’ve lost their homes and lives. It will take them a long time to recover, and some might never return because the pain of the loss is just too terrible. Amid the stories of the devastation and loss is triumph. This tragic event has brought Canadians together. People have opened their hearts and wallets to help in every way that they can. Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to bring out people’s humanity, which is a bit sad, but it is heartening to see that we can come together as a nation and help those who need it. Make sure to read what some people and businesses in our industry are doing to help the evacuees. This month’s feature is on Ontario Property Management Group (OPMG), which focuses on managing co-operative and non-profit housing communities. It’s an interesting market, as both the properties and the residents require a diﬀerent level of care than the typical apartment building and tenants. It requires a certain approach, and OPMG has found a level of success in this realm. Make sure to check out the article on incentives. Too many building owners and property managers leave money on the table by not applying for all available incentives, or overlook some great ways to improve eﬃciency beyond the obvious. And if you list your available units on apartment Internet listing services (ILS), then you will want to learn about syncing, as it will make the process much more eﬃcient. RHB Magazine is the media partner for the CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2016, which will take place on June 7-9 at the Westin Prince Hotel (900 York Mills Road) in Toronto. Check out www.cfaa-fcapi.org for more information. We hope to see you there.
! e u s s i e h t y Enjo
David Gargaro Senior Editor
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Co-founder, Publisher Marc L. Côté firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial David Gargaro email@example.com
Contributing Editor John Dickie, President, CFAA firstname.lastname@example.org
Design Maria Arangio
Photography Mark Brezek Digiwerx Studio
Oﬃce Manager Kayla Clark
Subscriptions One year $37 Cdn Two years $59 Cdn Single copy sales $9 Cdn Opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the CFAA Board or management. CFAA and RHB Inc. accept no liability for information contained herein. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. P.O. Box 6967, Maple, ON L6A 1S7 416.236.7473 Produced in Canada All contents copyright © RHB Inc. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 42652516
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VOL.9 NO.3 JUNE 2016
syncing can 26 How make ILS more
A click of a button enables you to share your listing information across multiple ILS.
some of those 28 Grab untapped savings! Learn about some incentives that you might have overlooked.
On The Cover: Transparency, trust and future growth
Rallying to the cause The Fort McMurray wildfires have displaced thousands of people from their homes.
35 National Outlook
NHC is considering the following areas and possible programs to determine what to recommend to the Liberal government for the National Housing Strategy which is to be devised and adopted.
60 One Last Thing
A summary of industry topics and headlines
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President’s corner T
his is the second issue of RHB Magazine with the new Regional Association Voice (RAV). CFAA and RHB came together with the landlord associations in London, Waterloo, Hamilton and Ottawa to provide readers across Ontario and Canada news on what they are doing. See page 43 for this issue of RAV.
The work of those four regional associations is remarkably similar, but covers a wide range of issues and areas. The associations address ways landlords can protect themselves and save money, City programs which will cost landlords and tenants money, environmental issues, and ways landlords can protect themselves and improve their position. This issue encourages landlords to take part in an Ontario consultation about making the Residential Tenancies Act more landlord-friendly. See page 54 for how you can participate, and make life better for yourself, for other landlords and for responsible tenants! As time goes on, CFAA and RHB look forward to adding regional content from other provinces, to help bring landlords together across Canada. Speaking of that, registration for CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2016 closed on Thursday, June 2. If you did not register and attend, you have missed out on Canada’s best education and networking experience for rental housing providers! The Conference featured three keynotes speakers, and more than 30 education sessions, covering rental investment, rental executive, marketing, leasing, human resources, employee management, revenue management, property assessment and building science topics. Delegates could take in the Economic Update from renowned economist Benjamin Tal, Greg Millen on “Leadership in Diﬃcult Times” (using examples from the NHL), and marketing guru Alicia Whalen on using social media to rent apartments. There were also many networking opportunities, including the Building Innovations Bus Tour (showing oﬀ two magnificent new rental towers in Toronto), the CFAA Awards Dinner and the Wyse After-Party. CFAA thanks the many sponsors, who made the event possible, with a special thank you to Yardi, the Principal Conference Partner. See page 37 for descriptions of the exhibitors and major sponsors who support the rental housing industry at the national level. If you missed the CFAA Conference this year, email us at email@example.com to receive information about CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2017, so you won’t miss out next year!
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WATER MATRIX AD
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In this issue...
CFAA in the New National Housing Collaborative
CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2016
New NHC group to seek policy solutions for more rental housing supply, repairs to existing rental housing, and greater access to housing through financial assistance to tenants.
This year’s conference had many great education sessions and networking opportunities. Attendees heard from Benjamin Tal who spoke on economy, Alicia Whalen on marketing, and Greg Millen on leadership, withexamples from NHL. The winners of CFAA’s Awards Program were given their awards at the inaugural Awards Dinner.
CFAA Conference Exhibitor and Major Sponsor Guide Each year CFAA organizes its Rental Housing Conference in a major city in Canada, and each year it receives generous support from suppliers to the rental housing industry. CFAA would like to highlight and thanks our sponsors and exhibitors, without whom the conference could not take place.
NATIONAL OUTLOOK – DIGITAL EDITION available at www.cfaa-fcapi.org
CFAA Member Associations Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization (EOLO) www.eolo.ca P: 613-235-9792 Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) www.frpo.org P: 416-385-1100, 1-877-688-1960 Greater Toronto Apartment Association (GTAA) www.gtaaonline.com P: 416-385-3435 Hamilton & District Apartment Association (HDAA) www.hamiltonapartmentassociation.ca P: 905-632-4435
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Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia (IPOANS) www.ipoans.ns.ca P: 902-425-3572
Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of British Columbia (MHPOA) www.mhpo.com P: 1-877-222-4560
LandlordBC www.landlordbc.ca P: 1-604-733-9440 Vancouver Office P: 604.733.9440 Victoria Office P: 250-382-6324
Professional Property Managers’ Association (of Manitoba) (PPMA) www.ppmamanitoba.com P: 204-957-1224
London Property Management Association (LPMA) www.lpma.ca P: 519-672-6999
Saskatchewan Landlord Association Inc. (SKLA) www.skla.ca P: 306-653-7149 Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association (WRAMA) www.wrama.com P: 519-748-0703
The Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations represents the owners and managers of close to one million residential rental suites in Canada, through 11 apartment associations and direct landlord memberships across Canada. CFAA is the sole national organization representing the interests of Canada’s $480 billion rental housing industry. For more information about CFAA itself, see www.cfaa-fcapi.org or telephone 613-235-0101.
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There are many challenges in managing co-operative and non-profit housing communities. The buildings often need more care and maintenance than the typical rental property, and the residents bring their own unique challenges as tenants. Ontario Property Management Group (OPMG) has specialized, and found success, in this market for more than a decade, employing its unique combination of skills and approach to providing its services. As a third party property manager,it has proven that it can employ its expertise to improve a buildingâ€™s financial situation, vacancy rates and community. Applying what it has learned, OPMG is poised for growth as it looks to expand into ownership and management of properties in other markets.
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Background and growth Kim B. Overbye first got involved in the hospitality industry nearly 35 years ago. He figuratively started at the bottom, working part-time in a hotel laundry room in 1981. After graduating from high school, he worked full-time in various parts of the hotel business, which included serving as hotel services manager with Howard Johnson’s and director of housekeeping with Days Inn. In 1994, Overbye decided to leave the hospitality field (and join a new venture) to help a friend with building his business. He became vice president of a mid-sized property management company that specialized in the social housing and condominium markets. This proved to be a significant learning experience, as well as laid the groundwork for what would become his chosen market. After nearly 10 years in this role, Overbye decided to part ways with the property management company and start his own business. “Growing a business without a bank or other sources of funding is the single largest challenge that any entrepreneur can face when building a business,” said Kim B. Overbye, President and CEO. Overbye founded Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG) in August 2003. He signed his first property management contract in December 2003, and began operation on January 1, 2004. His experience and dedication to the co-operative and non-profit housing market showed in how quickly he was able to grow the business. A client with more than 300 units followed a month later. By 2006, OPMG was managing more than 1000 units. OPMG has built a strong client base through dedication to transparency and trust, as well as an ability to turn around struggling buildings. Its clients include privately held residential housing corporations and projects, condominium corporations, commercial real estate, non-profit and co-operative housing corporations, and corporations in receivership. Its portfolio of properties extends across the Greater Toronto Area, from Peterborough to St. Catharines and Toronto to Barrie. OPMG currently manages more than 5000 units for 40 different clients, which includes three million square feet of apartment units, 1.8 million square feet of townhouse units and 40,000 square feet of townhouse space. Its portfolio under management is worth more than $1.8 billion, and it manages a combined annual operating budget in excess of $70 million.
OPMG has grown its business using various branding and promotion strategies. These include developing relationships with key players in the co-operative and non-profit housing sector, participating in speaking engagements, meeting potential clients in person, networking, and attending housing conferences. It also advertises in magazines and other publications, and maintains a corporate website. In September 2008, OPMG implemented an advisory board to help the company deal with a number of issues, such as restructuring for growth, developing an employee manual, addressing the company’s future and so on. The company set a number of terms of reference for the advisory board, including the provision of advice, making Overbye accountable to a peer group and outlining an advisors’ agreement.
“The focus on top quality service, value, exceptional delivery of services and community leadership has allowed OPMG to grow into one of the largest providers of property management services to the co-operative and non-profit housing sector in Southern Ontario.”
“The focus on top quality service, value, exceptional delivery of services and community leadership has allowed OPMG to grow into one of the largest providers of property management services to the co-operative and non-profit housing sector in Southern Ontario,” said
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Vanessa Ly, Managing Director. “Our goal is continue to grow our business in a way that is within our ability to manage well.”
– Vanessa Ly, Managing Director
Third party property management As a third party property manager, OPMG endeavours to build trust with its clients as well as residents of the buildings under its management. This means focusing on providing fully transparent services in all aspects of its business. It accomplishes these goals through its hands-on senior management, in-house support staff and
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customized financial packages. OPMG provides building maintenance, financial and administrative services, legal services (see sidebar "Another legal services option"), project management, Board education and more. OPMG develops “planned preventative maintenance” programs that meet the needs of individual clients. This approach enables it to ensure that structural and mechanical maintenance are properly planned, which helps to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and improve tenants’ living standards. The company conducts monthly building and property inspections, and offers 24-hour emergency coverage. It also prepares workloads and schedules for building and service staff, and evaluates its clients’ staffing requirements. “We will customize maintenance and janitorial plans for our clients, as well as engage in capital project management where needed,” said Overbye. “Building maintenance includes implementing government regulations as they apply to the housing provider.”
“We will customize maintenance and janitorial plans for our clients, as well as engage in capital project management where needed... Building maintenance includes implementing government regulations as they apply to the housing provider.” – Kim B. Overbye, President and CEO
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Every third party property manager engages in rent collection (either in person or through software/web access) on behalf of its clients. OPMG provides a complement of financial services, including accounting; handling receivables, payables, processing and banking; preparing annual operating and capital budgets; and investing clients’ reserve funds. It goes a step further by applying its financial management expertise to help clients reduce costs and debt. OPMG’s specialized background in managing co-operative and nonprofit housing communities has given it a better understanding of capital management and process planning for this sector. The company works with clients’ board members to engage in by-law and policy reviews that affect these types of housing providers. It also helps with preparing business plans for service managers who deal with breaches of the Housing Services Act. OPMG also provides corporate training and consulting services to clients’ boards that want to educate their building staff on key topics. The company offers a board education program that consists of mini-lectures held during monthly board meetings. Topics include decision-making skills, non-profit corporate structure and related legislation, the board’s roles and responsibilities, financial statements, risk management and vacancy management.
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Another legal services option Lidia Cruz
Mayra Sawicki OPMG Paralegal
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Being a landlord or property manager often means having to deal with many different types of legal situations, such as disputes that are brought before the Landlord and Tenant Board. Consider the case of the tenant who “gamed the system” to avoid paying rent and ended up being more than $15,000 in rental arrears. Large corporate landlords and property managers often have access to in-house legal departments or have the resources to hire lawyers. However, smaller property management firms and private landlords often have to handle legal situations on their own. OPMG has come up with an alternative for co-operatives, non-profit organizations, private landlords and tenants who need legal help: third party paralegal services. Paralegals can provide legal services to clients who need representation before the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), as well as Small Claims Court. They can provide legal representation for a wide variety of issues, including rental arrears, persistent late payment of rent, nuisances, illegal acts, tenant applications, filing of eviction with the sheriff and enforcement of judgments. "OPMG’s clients deal with all kinds of tenants coming from different backgrounds, and sometimes difficult to house individuals, some of which become a nuisance to the organizations," said Mayra Sawicki, Paralegal, OPMG. "OPMG’s legal department has been extremely successful in obtaining eviction orders for the problematic tenant and or co-op members that the company manages." The LTB process can take as little at three to six months to complete and as long as a year. Tenants have become experts in playing the system and know the ins and outs when dealing with the LTB. They will use all avenues available to them to extend their stay rent free. This could be equally challenging and frustrating for landlords. Landlord and tenant disputes can quickly become cumbersome, expensive affairs. Hiring a paralegal can help ease the process and expedite the matter without having to take days off from work to obtain an eviction, as well as allow you to become knowledgeable about Ontario’s legal system regarding tenancy agreements.
"We use our knowledge of landlord and tenant law to help resolve your matter fairly and, if necessary, fight to ensure that you’re compensated for any losses," said Sawicki. Paralegals can also provide Small Claims Court services, whether you are suing someone or are being sued. The value of the claim cannot exceed $25,000. Services include negotiating and demand letters, preparation and serving of plaintiff’s claim, preparation and filing of defense, enforcement, examination hearings, collections and liens. A key benefit of the paralegal service is that it is much less expensive than lawyers’ legal services (typically about one third of the cost). OPMG’s paralegals also save landlords a lot of their own time, as they do not have to spend time in court. The paralegal service enables landlords to collect arrears owing in a timely manner, or have a tenant evicted for failure to pay rent within a reasonable period of time. “OPMG’s clients have been satisfied with the service, as they received professional services without putting a dent in their pockets as it would if a lawyer was used,” said Sawicki. “Our clients have been able to collect thousands of dollars owing to them through garnishments, and have been able to evict problem tenants without a hassle.”
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Hands-on approach OPMG’s senior management believes in taking a hands-on approach to servicing its clients’ buildings and meeting residents’ needs. They work to be transparent in everything that they do, and work toward improving the lives of its residents, boards and communities through customized provision of services. OPMG has spent considerable effort in training its staff to be compassionate, understanding and aware of the needs of its community. This is an essential component of providing an appropriate level of service in the co-operative and non-profit housing sector. The company employs a culturally diverse group of employees who work diligently to service tenants and their communities. They also support and create community events that help to get them more involved with residents. Several of OPMG’s senior staff members have been with the organization since the beginning, working their way up from entry-level positions. Motivating, recognizing and engaging employees are key aspects of keeping their key human resources. OPMG holds regular employee reviews and appraisals, and it employs a bonus points system to score and reward senior management and property managers. “We believe that our employees are our greatest asset,” said Ly. “OPMG senior management are attentive and action-oriented people to new ideas and technologies. Their constant, hands-on involvement with our clients results in customized services to meet their needs and allows them to benefit from our efficient and effective operating philosophy.”
Bala Natarajan Property Manager
months,” said Ly. “During this initial period, we identified the capital work required, prepared a five-year business plan, filled all vacancies, and identified and implemented savings of $62,752 annually. Moreover, we were able to bring the community together and foster a spirit of cooperation.” In another situation, a 70-unit co-operative approached the company to address its $355,000 deficit and decrease its $85,000 members’ receivables. They were also asked to address building issues, such as deteriorating boundary fences and foundation leaks. OPMG
Finding and keeping the right staff has always been an issue in the rental housing industry, and it is no different in the co-operative and non-profit housing sector. OPMG has had to address and overcome issues related to employee hiring and “OPMG senior management are attentive and action-oriented attrition. The company hired human resources people to new ideas and technologies. Their constant, hands-on consultants to develop courses of action that would address the underlying situations that cause involvement with our clients results in customized services to attrition. Since implementing employee meet their needs and allows them to benefit from our eﬃcient engagement programs, OPMG has been able to and eﬀective operating philosophy.” significantly reduce employee turnover rates, and therefore improve this component of its services.
Improving clients' situations OPMG has worked with a number of different clients who were in difficult financial positions. For example, the company worked with a housing provider (110 units) that had members’ receivables of $31,000. A number of units had been vacant for many months with an accumulated deficit in excess of $231,000. Within four months, members’ receivables were around $18,000 and the accumulated deficit was reduced to $215,000. In addition, OPMG was able to collect approximately $45,000 in outstanding GST payments that dated back two years. “This assignment was particularly difficult due to the short turnaround time, as OPMG’s initial engagement was for three
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– Vanessa Ly, Managing Director
implemented an action plan to collect outstanding receivables from current co-operative members and those who had moved out. They also created a five-year capital plan and worked with the security manager to secure emergency funding for life safety issues. One co-operative housing provider retained OPMG with the goal of eliminating $180,000 in arrears, reducing a 17 per cent vacancy rate, turning $25,000 in monthly negative cash flow to positive, and returning the co-operative to a surplus position after years of operating losses (an accumulated deficit of more than $400,000).
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“One year later, the arrears were at $30,000 with a 75 per cent collection rate,” said Ly. “The vacancies were eliminated in the first three months, we achieved a consistent positive monthly cash flow and the co-operative now has an operating surplus.” OPMG has also helped clients to reduce their vacancy rates. The company takes a planned and practical approach to addressing a wide range of issues, which begins with placing employees at underperforming properties. They ensure that vacant units are ready to be rented and available for showing, and implement marketing and promotion strategies to bring potential tenants to the building. OPMG also implements internal processes to minimize overall building vacancy, which can involve encouraging tenants moving out of one of their managed properties to consider another managed property.
Over the past few years, OPMG has successfully obtained funding for its clients in a number of key areas. This includes the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Rebates (MEER) program, energy retrofit funding, ecoENERGY for renewable power, PowerStream funding for energy efficiency upgrades, and GLOBE energy initiatives. In November 2015, OPMG negotiated a $1 million deal with the City of Toronto with regard to the sustainable energy plan, which was the first brokered energy deal of its kind in the city.
“We’ve initiated a members going green education program on energy conservation and recycling initiatives, which has resulted in significant savings for our clients,” said Ly. “In addition to the typical green projects, such as mechanical systems upgrades, water reduction devices and energy efficient lighting, OPMG has secured funding for and managed five solar panel projects in Peel Region and the City of Toronto.”
Implementing cost-saving measures for clients is one of OPMG’s mandates. This includes finding ways to improve their managed buildings’ energy efficiency, which helps with reducing long-term energy costs. For example, the company’s project management services include preparing and presenting energy audits to its clients’ board of directors.
OPMG is also looking into the implementation of H2MinusO technology, which is designed to help reduce water turbulence downstream of the water meter. Its purpose is to improve water meter readings and improve billable consumption. The goal is to reduce clients’ water costs by eight to ten per cent annually.
OPMG entered into a partnership with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF), which invests in urban solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This has enabled TAF to locate $10 million for energy efficient retrofits with guaranteed cost savings for OPMG’s clients. For example, OPMG was able to complete an HVAC plant retrofit through the TAF.
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Community initiatives OPMG believes in building and maintaining strong community bonds. Launching various community development initiatives helps with identifying residents’ needs and obtaining the resources to help address those needs. The company’s community development coordinator leads the way with identifying ways to use the housing
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provider’s available resources to design a workable community development plan. OPMG is directly involved in a number of programs that benefit its residents and managed communities. Since 2005, it has helped to support and raise funds for the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) Diversity Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for students who demonstrate a strong commitment to involvement in their schools, communities and local organizations. OPMG and Overbye have donated more than $200,000 to this cause. OPMG has donated food to the Spirit of the North Café Breakfast Club, which provides healthy breakfasts and bagged lunches to children in one of its managed co-operatives. The program accepts donations from community and local businesses, and feeds 20 to 30 children daily. The compamy has also helped to distribute more than 34,000 pounds (15,405 kilograms) of food to families in need throughout Durham Region. “At OPMG, we strongly believe that harmony in the community is the best grounds for the progress of the community,” said Bala Natarajan, Property Manager. “We achieve this goal by organizing various community events that act as a good platform for the community bonding. OPMG has also held building and community events to increase community bonding and enable neighbours to get to know each other. Events included spring cleaning activities with a barbecue, summer activities for kids, magic shows and Canada Day celebrations. The company also got involved with a saveONenergy road show to help residents reduce their hydro costs. This get-together, which was organized jointly with Toronto Police and Toronto Fire, helped with creating awareness on fire and personal safety.
Lessons learned Overbye: “Lessons learned both personally and professionally can boil down to four simple things that I live by: Be impeccable with your word; don’t take anything personally; don't make assumptions; and always do your best.” Ly: “Your client does not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Also, you should treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best clients.”
Future plans OPMG has always been involved in managing properties for the co-operative and non-profit housing industry, and will continue to grow its business in this market. The company has established itself as the go-to provider of property management services in its market, as it has demonstrated the ability to overcome challenges and turn around buildings. It is also looking toward becoming an “owner and manager” of real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Our plans include the acquisition of our own buildings as well as the management for third parties of prestigious class A rental units... We intend to grow our business from 5,500 units to more than 10,000 over the next three years.” – Kim B. Overbye, President and CEO
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How syncing can make ILS more efficient
partment Internet listing services (ILS) provide building owners with the opportunity to advertise their available rental units to a wider audience. These services offer more exposure to potential tenants than traditional print listings. However, if you own or manage a lot of properties, it can be tedious and time consuming to manually enter and update the information across every site. Synchronizing (or syncing) offers a solution to make the process more efficient and save a lot of wasted time, as well as improve ILS usefulness.
How ILS works Building owners often subscribe to one or more apartment ILS to advertise and promote their rental properties and available units. There are many different sites from which to choose, and they vary in subscription pricing and features. Each ILS enables you to describe your building’s amenities, post units’ floor plans and photos, list rental prices, and more. This can be done in parallel with your company’s website, which helps to put available units in front of more potential renters. You can choose to subscribe to as many ILS as you want to expand your reach. Some ILS do not offer syncing to your company’s website listings or to each other. You must set up an account (as well as login credentials) with each site separately. Then you have to enter the details for each unit that you want to promote on that particular ILS. Some sites will accept a direct feed, or enter the listing information for you if you provide the content in the appropriate format. If you want to subscribe to more than one ILS, then you have to repeat the process each time. You also have to request removal of listings from each ILS when the vacancies are filled. 26 | june 2016
“It used to take a lot of time to update unit listings on an ILS, as you had to call to make changes, email pricing and picture updates, and so on,” said Bruce Cadieux, Marketing Coordinator, Homestead Land Holdings Limited. “The time spent on updating ILS listings meant that I did not have the time to spend on advertising or other issues that needed my attention.” Some building owners avoid marketing their available units on ILS because it can become too costly and inefficient to continually update their listings. Some would rather focus on maintaining their own corporate and property-based websites. Some owners don’t even do that, and rely on getting business from tenant referrals or other sources. However, this “no online marketing” approach is risky, as an economic downturn could lead to high vacancy rates with no easy way to get tenants. Therefore, it makes no sense to ignore the benefits of using an ILS.
The syncing solution Syncing is an efficient way of promoting your available units across multiple ILS. Once you’ve subscribed to the site on which you want to promote your available units, you would then enter your login credentials and account number into the syncing software or application. With the click of a button, it would then syndicate the units’ information to each ILS. The service automatically lists units when they become available, and automatically delists them when the vacancies are filled. “Some clients manage their own sites and invest in search engine optimization, search engine marketing and so on,” said Peter Altobelli, Vice-President and General Manager, Yardi Canada Ltd.
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(and RENTCafé™). “But ILS are relevant when a client would like to spread their nets wide. There is a way that you can still leverage the reach of the ILS and also be able to manage them effectively.” Syncing enables you to cast a wider net with your listings or focus them as specifically as you want. You can sync listing data directly from your website or property management software to each ILS, or you can list on different sites for different buildings. You can also add analytics to the syncing process to evaluate what’s working and where you are getting the best traffic. When you combine syndication of listings with a feedback loop, you can make the syncing process even more efficient. “Instead of sending every listing to every ILS manually, you can list certain buildings and units on specific sites and in certain regions,” said Jason Leonard, President, Landlord Web Solutions (and RentSync). “For example, one ILS might get you better results in Hamilton but will not do as well in St. Catharines, so you can find better places to advertise those units. You can use the data to analyze results and get the best return on your investment.”
What works today might not work in the future. Syncing is an efficient way for building owners to list their properties across multiple ILS. Adopting syncing technology is also a win for each ILS since it means the ILS can serve their clients better. By David Gargaro, in collaboration with Peter Altobelli of Yardi Canada Ltd., Jason Leonard of Landlord Web Solutions, Bruce Cadieux of Homestead Land Holdings Limited and Paul Smith of DMS Property Management
Leading Canadian Manufactu t rer and Installer of Windows, Doors, Railings and Cur tainwall
There are different ways to sync your rental units’ information with an ILS. You can choose to sync through your rental property website provider, or contract with a third party syncing service. Both types of services have various feature sets and pricing plans, depending on what you want to achieve. Syncing benefits both the building owner and the ILS. It is an efficient way of promoting the landlord’s available units to multiple ILS. The ILS also benefits because syncing makes the process more accurate and efficient. Syncing removes human error for ILS, and results in reduced service calls and fewer complaints, which helps to improve service levels for ILS clients. “We manage more than 10,000 residential units in 110 buildings, and we used to have continual problems with keeping the information consistent on multiple ILS sites,” said Paul Smith, Owner, DMS Property Management. “Our provider’s syncing functions gives us one location to update all of our rental units’ details, pricing, specials and more. It’s a huge time saver.”
We ar e commi t ted to T HE BES T PRODUC T, T HE BES T SERVICE, T HE BES T VA LUE
Conclusion Many building owners believe in the power of ILS for marketing their rental properties and available units. However, technology has shown that it can change a market quickly.
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Grab some of those untapped savings! Everyone knows about lighting incentives because they are very visible (so to speak), and they are relatively easy projects to implement. However, rental property owners and property managers could be doing a lot more than installing new lighting fixtures, as there are many more opportunities to reduce energy usage. According to Toronto Hydro, lighting projects account for about 70 per cent of their incentive applications, but lighting only accounts for about 30 per cent of a building’s electricity end use. Incentives for non-lighting projects ($0.10 per kWh) are also greater than those available for lighting projects ($0.05 per kWh). Your local electricity distribution company has a lot of useful information on available incentives, and can also help you to fill out the paperwork to qualify for those incentives. Consider the following examples of how you can take the next step beyond lighting… as well as what’s coming in the very near future.
CO sensors Parking garages are often overlooked areas when building owners and landlords are looking to identify and implement energy savings. The obvious way to improve energy efficiency is to install LED lighting, as they offer quick payback while also improving lighting quality. When paired with motion and occupancy sensors, you can increase energy savings by 70 per cent. You can also add CO sensors to your garage exhaust fans so that they only run when fresh air is needed. Installing these sensors ensures that fans are not constantly running, which makes them quieter, safer and much more energy efficient. CO sensors are relatively easy to install with minimal disruption to garage use. They enable you to reduce electricity costs by up to 75 per cent, and can pay back in as little as seven months. “CO sensors on garage exhaust fans can reduce the operating hours of exhaust fans by up to 90 per cent, with a typical simple payback
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between two to three years,” said Mike Mulqueen, CDM Business Development Lead, Toronto Hydro. “For one of our customers, installing CO sensors in a group of buildings reduced their annual electricity usage from 6,500 kWh to 2,200 kWh, and their annual electricity costs from $116,000 to $30,000.”
Fan coil units For buildings with central heating and cooling systems and in-suite fan coil units, you can reduce your energy usage by upgrading thermostat controls and replacing the motors inside fan coil units. Newer thermostats can help to reduce fans’ operating hours, particularly during shoulder seasons when demands are lower. New direct current (DC) electronically commuted motors (ECMs) are 30 to 40 per cent more efficient than older alternating current (AC) motors typically found inside fan coils. When combined, these two retrofits offer significant energy savings. “Fan coil units have largely been ignored because the individual motors inside the units are very small, but collectively these motors consume a lot of electricity and there is huge potential to help customers unlock hidden savings,” said Mulqueen. “We recently presented a proposal to a building owner with about 200 suites. The business case demonstrated that with an incentive of $24,000 and annual operating savings of about $35,000, the project paid for itself in just over three years with a return on investment greater than 30%.”
Variable frequency drives Many domestic cold water booster systems waste electricity because they were designed to operate at full capacity at all times. The pumps often use pressure regulating valves (PRVs) to restrict water flow but they do not affect how hard the motor is actually working. A simple solution is to install variable frequency drives (VFDs) or replace the pumps with an integrated variable speed pumping system. This can improve efficiency by 75 to 90 per cent and offer simple payback in less than two years.
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Toronto Hydro has taken this concept one step further by designing the PUMPsaver program (launching this summer), which will provide clients with free installation of VFDs for heating and cooling hydronic pumps that are greater than 15 HP. The utility takes care of the entire process, which includes site visit and assessment of your building’s current setup, optimization of the hydronic system, installation of the VFDs, balancing of the system, and measurement and verification of the final results. The PUMPsaver incentive provides from $10,000 to $15,000 in value for the building owner, as well as long-term energy savings and reduced maintenance costs. For example, one property manager retrofitted a 42-storey building with two 50 HP pumps with VFDs. This resulted in annual electricity savings of $10,572 and annual energy savings of 70,956 kWh (based on $0.15 per kWh). The PUMPsaver program covered the entire cost of the project.
Conclusion Incentives are available to make your energy efficiency projects more affordable, and to help reduce the payback period. After you’ve done the obvious, make sure to look for other opportunities to upgrade your building’s energy efficiency with financial assistance from your utility provider. They can also help you with the paperwork to apply and qualify for incentives. — By David Gargaro, in collaboration with Mike Mulqueen of Toronto Hydro
CONSU C ONSUL LT TING TIN GE EN NGINEERS GINEERS
“We take care of everything for the client from start to finish, and all the work is completed by qualified professionals, with minimal disruption to the building,” said Mulqueen. “The program is only for multiresidential or commercial buildings, and the pump must be compatible with a VFD installation. You must also have a main chilled or hot water pump in the building that is at least 15 HP in size.”
Monitoring Measuring and tracking your building’s energy usage is one of the best ways to know where you need to improve your energy efficiency, and how your upgraded equipment is performing. Tying performance to monitoring is a good way to evaluate the results and understand the return on your investment. Toronto Hydro is in the early stages of developing a performance-based monitoring and targeting program that would offer incentives for various parts of the process. “The program would provide some upfront incentives for consulting services and the installation of metering equipment, and then performance-based incentives paid on the achievement of sustained kWh reductions,” said Mulqueen. “This would be done through benchmarking, monitoring and targeting, resident engagement, and building operator training. We’re working on the business case for this program with the hope to have it in market by the fall, if all goes according to plan.”
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RALLYING TO THE CAUSE
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The Fort McMurray wildfires have displaced thousands of people from their homes, and many of them have lost everything that they own. This crisis has united the country and brought Canadians together. People and agencies from across Canada and the world have donated money, clothing, supplies and more to help the evacuees. Western Canadian business owners, including landlords, have also contributed resources to the cause. Here are just a few of those stories...
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Yardi Canada Ltd.
Yardi Canada Ltd., in collaboration with Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC), the City of Edmonton and the Alberta Residential Landlord Association, set up a centralized housing registry for Alberta on the RENTCafé website. The registry enables landlords to list available rental accommodations for Fort McMurray tenant evacuees, and people can search for and quickly find a new place to live (often within the next day). To date, landlords have listed 186 properties and approximately 9,600 units on the housing registry.
“Putting the registry together was an international eﬀort completed in under 72 hours,” said Peter Altobelli, Vice-President and General Manager, Yardi Canada Ltd. "We were able to draw these people together, develop the concepts, present the concepts within 24 hours, have their software written in the next 24 hours, tested and then ready for deployment.” Yardi Canada is providing the listing service free of charge for the next six months. Some landlords who have listed units are offering additional incentives, such as free rent for a month and reduced deposits. Google offered to make the website one of its top picks during a web search of rental housing. CRHC is also working with the province to find financial assistance for those who need help with paying rent.
Mainstreet Equity Corp.
On May 4, Mainstreet Equity Corp. offered 100 apartments with at least three months of free rent for Fort McMurray evacuees. The suites were located in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon, where the company has apartment units available. Within the first 24 hours of making the offer, all 100 suites had been filled. Two days later, Mainstreet offered another 100 rental units in Edmonton, where the
32 | june 2016
need was found to be the greatest. The company provided free rent for May with immediate move-in, waived the security deposit and offered month-to-month lease terms (with no 12-month contract requirement). It also gave the new tenants a $500 IKEA gift card.
“Our Fort McMurray task force of over 300 team members has been working around the clock to house families and will continue to do so as part of our responsibility to help fellow Albertans,” said Bob Dhillon, President and CEO, Mainstreet Equity Corp. "There has been an unprecedented outpouring of support by Albertans for the victims of this natural disaster. We stand together with them in helping the citizens of Fort McMurray. We admire their strength in the face of adversity.”
Boardwalk Rental Communities
Boardwalk Rental Communities has made hundreds of rental units available at no cost to Fort McMurray evacuees on a short-term basis. To date, the company has been able to house more than 500 families in Edmonton and Calgary, and has encouraged residents to welcome evacuees into their rental communities. It has also committed emergency funds to the Red Cross.
“This has been an extremely busy time looking for ways to engage and be helpful, initially in the emergency phase, and now in the re-building phase,” said David McIlveen, Director of Community Development, Boardwalk Rental Communities. “In this phase, we are working quickly to ensure that our buildings are safe and
ready for occupancy in the shortest possible time.”
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How to help Western Canadian businesses and landlords (as well as people across Canada) have taken unprecedented measures to help the Fort McMurray evacuees during this difficult time. But there is still more than can be done. Contact the Alberta Residential Landlord Association in Edmonton (www.albertalandlord.org, 780-413-9773) or the Calgary Residential Rental Association (www.crra.ca, 403-265-6055) to learn how you can get involved and help the evacuees. You can also donate to the Canadian Red Cross (www.redcross.ca, 1-800-418-1111).
Kelson Group Property Management
Kelson Group offered vacant apartments in Edmonton free of charge to Fort McMurray evacuees who had friends or family living in their buildings. To date, 15 families have taken the property manager up on its offer while they wait to hear when they can return to their homes. To make this offer work for some families, the company waived some rules regarding pets and children. Since it is a short-term situation, tenants have been understanding and flexible during this time. Kelson Group is also planning to make a corporate donation to the Red Cross to help with the relief efforts.
â€œOur corporate oďŹƒces are in Kamloops, BC, which has a similar population to Fort McMurray, and it is unbelievable to think that a similar sized city as the one I live in has had to evacuate all their homes and businesses,â€? said Jason Fawcett, Vice President, Kelson Group Property Management. â€œKelson Group is proud to help in a small way by providing housing to the evacuees and we have been very thankful to our building staďŹ€ that have been very accommodating to them.â€?
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Helping Rental Housing Providers and Industry Suppliers Across Ontario
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Become an industry partner. Contact a FRPO representative today! phone 416-385-1100 email firstname.lastname@example.org web www.frpo.org
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National Housing Collaborative As reported in the last issue of National Outlook, CFAA has joined with the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) and numerous other housing and social housing advocacy groups to form the National Housing Collaborative (NHC). The NHC is considering the following areas and possible programs to determine what to recommend to the Liberal government for the National Housing Strategy which is to be devised and adopted. 1. Developing social housing for the age of complexity While social housing is not CFAA’s prime concern, it is a prime concern of many of the groups in the NHC. CFAA and CHBA and our members have knowledge and experience which can help encourage workable, win-win solutions for social housing. Most NHC members believe that increasingly complex social needs and economic realities, the re-engagement of the federal government and the end of established operating agreements present the opportunity to establish new and smarter ways of working together.. The NHC is Exploring: • Site development and redevelopment - Leveraging other public spaces: redeveloping unused hospital or school buildings for social housing use - The pros and cons of aggregating small providers and properties • Re-conceptualizing the relationship with government - Integration with other service providers, especially for extremely marginalized populations - Overcoming the legacy of intertwining housing supply goals with income support • New enterprise models - A range of tools for innovation, increasing the self-reliance of the sector - Financial mechanisms to leverage assets – with goal of upgrading/expanding number of units - Mechanisms to encourage entrepreneurship, partnership to better meet core housing need
2. Encouraging Privately Developed For-profit Rental Housing The NHC is exploring policy options with the aim to encourage investment in purpose built rental – both for construction of new units and for the preservation and upgrading of existing stock. Specifically, Specifically, the NHC is exploring: • Tax improvements, such as reduced GST, higher capital cost allowances, rollovers (tax deferral on reinvestment) • Encouraging development of family units, full variety of price points • Development incentives • Easier and consistent access to appropriate financing • Land use and assembly issues • Leveraging current infrastructure spending - joining infrastructure and housing As readers would expect, the tax improvements are of keen interest to CFAA and virtually all private sector landlords. The development incentives and financing possibilities are of interest to many private sector rental investors and developers. 3. Housing Assistance Through Financial Support For many who experience it, core housing need is a temporary issue. Recognizing that the majority of core housing need persists for 1-2 years, but that more than 1.5 million Canadians are in core housing need in each year, more can be done to support Canadians through periods of hardship that result in core housing need. Policy instruments to be considered include: • Portable housing benefits • Better integrated income maintenance programs • Measures to address the diverse housing markets across Canada • RGI/housing supplement Ensuring governments provide effective financial supports for housing costs is a huge issue for landlords since many renters move in and out of core housing need, and their ability to pay market rents for the housing they need is a major factor in sustaining the demand for rental housing in many areas. Landlords know that rent control is not the route to housing affordability, but many voters see it as an attractive options when housing becomes less affordable. Achieving good social policy is one of the best defenses against bad rent control.
To find out more about the NHC, please contact CFAA at email@example.com
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CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2016
Exhibitors & Major Sponsors 4 Rent 4Rent.ca magazine is your print and online media solution. Our national website offers apartment hunters a greater solution to find a new place to call home. 4Rent.ca magazine is available in newspaper boxes across Calgary, Edmonton, the GTA and Southwestern Ontario. Contact: Maryann Kalchos, Sales Manager, (905)761-3313, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accompass Accompass addresses the full range of strategic, financial, and regulatory issues surrounding our clients’ Compensation & Incentives, Benefits & Health, and Investment & Retirement programs. Accompass is now an industry leader for the rental housing industry, with our clients representing over 120,000 suites across Canada. Accompass is an official partner with the CFAA, presenting the 2016 Rental Housing Employee Compensation and Benefits Survey. Start a conversation with us at accompass.com. Contact: Steven Osiel: VP Compensation, email@example.com.
A.P. Reid / Zipsure.ca Visit the A.P. Reid Insurance booth for details on their Group and Home Program. Find out how to get substantial savings on your own personal home and auto insurance. Zipsure.ca is there to answer your questions and concerns about tenants insurance. Zipsure.ca, is a complete online, mobile, insurance solution for you and your tenants. Protect your buildings, knowing your tenants have insurance coverage. Fill out a ballot to win an Apple iWatch! A.P. Reid Insurance Stores, Service First for the Realty Industry. Contact: Stephanie Barrett, Business Development Manager, (902)396-8610, Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation CMHC is Canada’s national housing agency. Backed by more than 65 years of experience, we work with community organizations, the private sector, non-profit agencies and all levels of government to help create innovative solutions to today’s housing challenges, anticipate tomorrow’s needs, and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information visit www.cmhc.ca, or follow @CMHC_ca on Twitter.
Cannon Services Cannon Services is the leading provider of washroom hygiene, pest control and life safety services for facilities. By combining innovation and service excellence, we help building owners and managers deliver award winning environments to their tenants, employees and guests. Cannon understands that tenant retention is a top priority for building managers. This is why we take the time to get to know your building and tenants. Ask us about our custom tailored programs today! Contact: Jarrett Rose, (905)946-1711x32, email@example.com.
CARMA Industries CARMA Industries is a Canada-wide utilities submetering company, manufacturing and designing metering systems for over 20 years. With over 250,000 meters installed nationwide, the CARMA metering and billing solution for the retrofit and new construction rental markets has helped thousands of building owners take control of their utility costs. CARMA can meter for electricity, gas, and water in the commercial, multi-residential or education markets. For more information, visit www.carmaindustries.com.
CCI Group CCI Group offers consulting engineering services that cover all aspects of the building lifecycle. We have more than 40 years of experience working in the residential market, specializing in buildings built in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. In the past five years, we have been involved in the investigation and repair of more than 350 parking structures, 100 balcony projects, 1500 building envelope, interior renovation and fit-up projects, and several hundred roofing repair/replacement projects. We also offer asbestos and mould investigations, as well as parking lot and pavement assessments. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you with your next project. Contact: Greg Devine, Marketing Manager, (905)856-5200x410, email@example.com.
Cohen Highley LLP Cohen Highley LLP is a dynamic, full-service law firm providing legal services to clients throughout the Province of Ontario. Acting exclusively for landlords, Cohen Highley’s Administrative Law Department has a proven track record as innovative and effective advocates in the area of residential tenancies law. Our lawyers and paralegals have a wealth of experience before the Landlord and Tenant Board, Provincial Offences Court, Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and related appellate courts. Cohen Highley believes in: Experience, Service and Solutions. Visit us at www.cohenhighley.com
Coinamatic Coinamatic, Canada’s specialist in managed laundry systems, has been providing vended laundry equipment and service to the multi-residential housing industry for over 70 years. Coinamatic currently services over 20,000 customer locations across Canada with sustainable laundry solutions, top of the line Maytag and Alliance equipment and ultimate customer service with a 24/7 multilingual live voice call centre supported by a coast to coast national service team. Contact: Jeff Gilpin, Strategic Account Executive, (905)975-6937, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECNG Since 1987 ECNG has grown into Canada’s largest national full service energy management consulting firm, which manages over a billion dollars’ worth of natural gas and electricity annually. ECNG is the largest energy manager in Eastern Canada, other than the major gas/electricity utilities, with over 21,000 end-use locations under administration. With this scale of operation, ECNG receives very attractive pricing proposals from the supply and transportation communities. To assist FRPO members with managing energy budgets, we partnered with ECNG Energy L.P. over 20 years ago and have been providing stable and predictable natural gas pricing to members ever since. To enroll or renew, please contact: Shane Adams at (905)510-1800 or email@example.com
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Edison is a professional engineering and project management firm specializing in the repair, restoration, and upgrade of existing buildings. We specialize in restoration, mechanical, and structural work and leverage that knowledge and experience to help our clients develop capital plans and repair approaches aligned to their objectives and financial constraints. Our clients tell us that they appreciate that we actively drive projects to successful completion on time and within budget, that we demand quality from contractors, and that we consistently and clearly communicate with our clients and all project stakeholders. Contact: Stefan Nespoli, Project manager, (289)925-5029, firstname.lastname@example.org.
With over 4 million unique visitors a month, Kijiji is the most visited real estate website in Canada. We’ve got a range of feature options to get more eyes on your ads and get you better results. Our specially trained advisors are here to help every step of the way. You can work with them to create your campaign, or just ask for support when you need it. Your campaign doesn’t stop when you post - you’ll get real-time reporting and results on your ads so you can tailor them as often as necessary to get the results you want. Visit kijijiforbusiness.ca for more information. Contact: Lionel Romain, Account Operations Manager,(844)387-8445, email@example.com.
Landlord Web Solutions (LWS) has carved out a unique and niche space in online marketing and data syndication for the rental housing community. Cofounded in 2010 by Jason Leonard and David Koski, the company has doubled in size annually since its inception six short years ago. LWS builds top-quality websites and manages marketing data for many of the largest property management firms in Canada. Contact: Jason Leonard, Director of Business Development, www.landlordwebsolutions.com
Equifax powers the financial future of individuals and organizations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange as “EFX.” Equifax employs 9,200 employees worldwide. For more information, visit www.equifax.com. Contact: Nick Patel, Marketing Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Landlord Web Solutions
M & E Engineering Ltd
Globe LED Lighting Inc. is the Canadian developer and distributor of unique solutions for apartments. Globe’s ProxiLights are T8/T12 replacement tubes with three unique features, modular construction for easy repair, motion detecting radar/infrared sensors on each tube and the ability toggle between 0/3/6 or 9w on standby to 18w when motion is detected. Globe’s RetroLights retrofit round ceiling fixtures using a magnetically mounted LED aluminum disk so that the fixture base and lens are retained to reduce labour, material and damage. Contact: Kurt Guang Xiao, email@example.com.
M & E Engineering Ltd. (M & E) has been serving the industry since 1977, working with both large and small companies with varying requirements. The professional staff at M & E have been completing designs, problem investigation, and building upgrades on hundreds of high rise residential, condominiums and commercial buildings for our clients in Ontario and across Canada. M & E’s professional engineers and skilled staff ensure that every project solution meets our clients’ expectations. M & E is well recognized in delivering reliable and professional services to all our valuable clients “providing years of experience and tradition of excellence in engineering consulting services.” Contact: Ed Porasz, President,(416)-250-7222x222, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miller Waste Solutions Group
Honest Renter is a tenant screening company which will be offering two innovative services: (1) $3.99 credit reports. These full model credit reports are less than half the cost of credit reports anywhere else in Canada because the service is offered at cost, without intent to profit. (2) A personality test for tenants. The short online survey reveals how someone will behave as a tenant. The reports cover all the things that cost you money, time and headaches. Contact: Rhys Lewis Ph.D., CEO, (250)756-3292, email@example.com.
Contact Miller Waste Solution Group for service, repair & manufacturing of garbage chutes, compactors, containers and automated recycling systems. Garbage chute cleaning and odour control specialists. WSG offers services across Canada, with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and London, providing 24 hour service. Contact: Jason Tower, Vice-President, (416)744-9183, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Globe LED Lighting
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JUNE 2016 Molok Molok® containers are an innovative way of dealing with solid waste and recyclables, including organics. Making use of the simple laws of nature, gravity and the coolness of the earth, Molok® containers hold more and are virtually odour free. As a result of their deep cylindrical construction and crane lifted emptying method, they occupy a smaller space and can be more conveniently placed for users. Molok® containers look great, do not attract urban wildlife, and are easy to use by people of all ages and abilities. Did we O mention that they could also lower your operating costs? www.molokna.com. Contact: Brian Page, VP of Municipal Affairs, (519)4978473, email@example.com.
process! Benefits for landlords include a targeted student market, results tracking, a secure website and LIVE customer support by friendly professionals. Visit www.places4students.com or call 1-866-766-0767. Contact: Zach Pajtasz, Marketing & Social Media Specialist, (866)766-0767x104, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rainmaker Rainmaker is the premier provider of profit optimization and demand-cycle solutions to the hospitality and multi-family housing industries. Since its founding in 1998, the company has focused solely on delivering the highest revenue returns possible through the development and cultivation of a suite of products and consulting services designed to streamline operational efficiencies, enhance revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance and generate greater demand. Visit www.LetItRain.com, and follow Rainmaker on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Contact: Josh Heck, Multifamily Sales, (801)425-7437, email@example.com. Director,
MPAC is a not-for-profit corporation funded by all Ontario municipalities, responsible for administering a uniform, province-wide property assessment based on current values. MPAC five million system assesses nearly properties with a total value of $2.2 trillion. MPAC prepares the annual Christoffersen assessment rolls used by and to Read Jones municipalities the Province of Ontario Read Jones Christoffersen is a national consulting engineering firm calculate property taxes. Using the trademarked website specializing in Building Sciences and Restoration. Our specialization includes AboutMyProperty.ca property owners can learn how and why their property building envelopes (walls and windows), balconies, building roofs, parking was assessed the way it was and compare their assessment with other garages, podium decks/garage slabs housing and asphalt properties in their neighbourhood. Contact: Elizabeth Taylor, (289)315-3146, Since they addresslandscaped the issue of relatively high rentsroof directly, pavements. Our services include specialist evaluations, building condition firstname.lastname@example.org. assessments, capital planning, preparation of rehabilitation specifications and drawings, tendering services, contract document preparation, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada construction review, contract administration and project management. The mission of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is to of individuals. The OPC promotes Through cost-effective long term practical creative thinking we provide protect and promote the privacy rights solutions our clients.that Contact: Sarvinis, Managing Principal, We areforoptimistic directPhilip financial assistance to lowpublic awareness and compliance, and fosters understanding of privacy (416)639-1662, email@example.com. rights i and obligations through: proactive engagement with federal government institutions, industry associations, the legal community and RHB Magazine other stakeholders; preparation and dissemination of public education RHB Magazine, Canada’s #1 most widely read publication for owners, materials, positions on evolving legislation, regulations and policies, managers and association executives, is published 6 times a year. RHB also guidance documents and research findings. www.priv.gc.ca/ publishes The Annual (a key resource guide for rental housing providers across Canada), a digital Newsreel and a private Network Video Series with Places4Students key industry experts and insightful interviews. With a readership in excess PLACES4STUDENTS.COM is the proven off-campus housing solution for over cancampuses also bethroughout used forNorth housing assistance those two of 35,000, RHB Magazine and The Annual are proudProvided to be partnered with 140 college andThey university America. We have w i the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, as the sole national helped 88,600+ landlords advertise their rental vacancies to students organization representing the interests of Canada’s $480 billion private rental effectively. Our edge is partnering with academic institutions! Students can housing industry. Contact: Juan Malvestitti or Marc Côté, Co-Founders, search listings for free. Listings are up-to-date, never syndicated, and (416)236-7473, firstname.lastname@example.org. descriptive, with 24 photos, amenity icons and floor plans, including mapping of each property to campus. Our new mobile app further improves the search
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Rogers Communications As your communications provider, we’ll make sure you get great services and perks you’d expect from Rogers – things like fast and reliable Internet, amazing TV packages, and home phone service you can count on. Plus value extras like shomi™ and Rogers NHL® GameCentre LIVE™ which are included with select Rogers Ignite™ bundles. Plus you can keep your home safe and secure from anywhere with our Smart Home Monitoring service. Contact: Greg Stokes, Sales Manager, (416)446-7014, email@example.com.
Shaw Direct Your tenants will love Shaw Direct Satellite TV! We make it easy, affordable and convenient to switch and provide the best service television has to offer. With over 650 channels to choose from, as well as Pay Per View and HD programming, your residents will have access to great programming and the latest technology. Take advantage of what we call, bulk billing, and design a programming package to fit your buildings' needs. The building will also have access to our 24-hour call center and technical-support services. Contact: Melissa Fazzari, Major Accounts Coordinator, (905)403-2184, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sherwin Williams Count on Sherwin-Williams to deliver high-quality coating solutions to help you attract and retain residents, minimize costs, and achieve long-term value. Sherwin Williams is the #1 supplier of paint and floor coverings to the multiunit residential market in North America. Get expert on-site technical and colour advice for unit turns and exterior repaint projects, and professional paint specifications customized to your properties. Contact: Robert Taylor, Sales Manager Toronto GTA District, (905)507-4198, email@example.com.
Sparkle Solutions Sparkle Solutions specialize in laundry services in the rental apartment building sector. Ask us about Sparkle WebXpress which is designed to maximize the profit our customers will receive from their multi-residential apartment laundry facilities. Residents love being able to remotely check the availability of machines right through their phones. Contact: Maria Mascall, Director, Sale, (416)671-1916, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spinnaker Recycling Corp Spinnaker Recycling Corp. is a niche-consulting firm providing unbiased, independent strategic advice for waste minimization and zero waste to a wide range of property owners and property types. Spinnaker Recycling's
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waste reduction programs use a range of potential waste minimization strategies including an analysis of their economic, environmental and social costs, engaging stakeholders and leveraging key partnerships with quality firms. Our services can help at any phase of a building's life: from project design, through implementation, to measuring and monitoring operations to ensure continuous improvement. Contact: Gerald Grant, President, (647)882-7723, email@example.com.
Suite Collections Suite Collections is devoted entirely to the collections of residential debt. Our primary function and objective is to collect all delinquent debt resulting from a residential tenancy. Our "negotiation first" approach to debt recovery is costeffective, and allows us to resolve many of our cases out of court within one month. With extensive legal and collections expertise, our staff can also help you locate debtors, with legal proceeding and register liens, enforce eviction orders and debts. Contact: Surana Baptiste, Director, Legal & Collections, (416)642-0291x 443, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Synergy Partners Synergy Partners is an employee-owned consulting engineering firm focused on building engineering and capital planning. Our founding partners have worked together for many years managing and delivering property evaluation and design and renewal projects across the country. We have expertise in commercial, industrial, multi-unit residential (rental and condominium) and institutional buildings. Contact: Sean Allman, Managing Principal, (647)479-8692, email@example.com.
Toronto Hydro Toronto Hydro owns and operates an electricity distribution system, which delivers electricity to approximately 752,000 customers located in the city of Toronto, distributing approximately 19% of the electricity consumed in the province of Ontario. Toronto Hydro offers business and residential conservation programs aimed at saving money by reducing electricity usage. The programs vary in incentives and technologies and are funded by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Contact: Iain Robertson, CDM Key Account Consultant,(416)542-3391, firstname.lastname@example.org or Lee Masucci, CDM Key Account Consultant, (416)542-2821, email@example.com.
Walker West Longo LLP Walker West Longo is a property tax and assessment law firm offering the depth of knowledge and experience of top-tier professionals in a client-focused
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JUNE 2016 environment. We understand that there are creative solutions to property tax and assessment issues, and we work with our clients to identify their goals and tailor a strategy to achieve targeted results. Contact: Lynne Ashton, Director of Client Services, (416)238-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water Matrix Water Matrix Inc. has been in business since 1989, assisting multiresidential and institutional customers across Canada to conserve water and energy. Contact: Jordan Edl, Sales Executive, (416)918-4970, email@example.com.
WSP Canada WSP is one of Canada's leading engineering firms in the Buildings sector. Our clients rely on our expertise throughout the lifecycle of building projects, valuing our integrated design process and approach to sustainable development. A proven track record of delivering quality services, including building sciences, restoration, structural, environmental, mechanical, electrical and building condition assessments. Internationally recognized for our innovation and vision, quality of resources and strong client support. Contact: Greg Spangler, Senior Principal, Building Sciences, (416)644-2891, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WYSE Meter Solutions
Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. was founded with one simple mandate: to help residents, property managers, building owners, and developers get the most out of their utility submetering program. Wyse Meter is a single point of contact for end-to-end electrical, water, and natural gas submetering solutions, with no capital costs. Wyse Meter delivers flexible contracts, property and financial management reporting, complete account management, utility grade hardware, installations and billing services, as well as premium resident programs. With Wyse Meter, residents pay for only what they use and reap the financial rewards of their conservation efforts. Contact: Leah Werry, Director of Sales, email@example.com.
Yardi Canada Ltd.
Yardi® is dedicated to the design, development, and support of real estate investment and property management software. We offer full business solutions for every residential real estate market, including multifamily, condo, social, and senior housing. Take advantage of Yardi Voyager® or Yardi Genesis2™, our advanced Software as a Service (SaaS) mobile property management platforms. Achieve a business wide solution by adding products and increasing your functionality with marketing, leasing, revenue management and more. Attract leads. Turns leads into leases. Deliver outstanding service to retain residents. RENTCafé™ is a full marketing and
leasing solution, featuring dynamic websites, social media tools, plus full online leasing, rent payments, and maintenance requests. Increase rental income while you improve occupancy with complete, mobile visibility into your pricing using the balance between your real-time inventory, traffic, and market conditions with Yardi RENTmaximizer™.Contact: Heather Brady, National Sales Manager, (888)569-2734x7342, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Shirleen Vieira, Senior Account Executive, (888)569-2734x7236, email@example.com.
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Bill 132: Terminating lease on 28-days’ notice
The legislation opens landlords to potential liability even as it aims to help abused tenants. The Ontario government has amended the Residential Tenancies Act to permit tenants who are experiencing domestic or sexual abuse or sexual harassment to break their leases on short notice. However, landlords who fail to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the legislation could accidentally expose victims of abuse to further violence – and incur hefty fines for themselves. Bill 132, which takes effect in September, permits certain tenants to terminate monthly or fixed-term leases on only 28 days’ notice, allowing the tenancy to end at any time during the month. That’s a significant reduction from the current 60 days’ notice that must be given before the end of a fixed or monthly rental period. Joe Hoffer, a lawyer who specializes in residential tenancy law for landlords, says there may be no way of determining whether a tenant’s claim of abuse is genuine. Notices can be based on court orders; however, such orders are not required and tenants who give notice need only provide their landlord with a statement asserting a belief that the tenant or the tenant’s child may be at risk of harm as a result of “an act… omission… or threatened act or omission” that caused the tenant or the tenant’s child to fear for his or her safety. The statement does not need to describe the details of the abuse or identify the abuser. The landlord, the Landlord and Tenant Board, and the Ministry’s Enforcement Unit cannot challenge the statement until after the tenant has vacated the unit. Secrecy requirement: The legislation’s secrecy requirement poses the greatest difficulty for landlords, Hoffer notes. For example, if a tenant gives a 28-day notice but then decides not to vacate on day 28, the notice is void and the tenancy continues. In fact, there is no
limit on the number of times the 28-day notice may be given. Hoffer says that in cases of spousal abuse, it is common enough for a tenant to seek refuge temporarily, but then to return to the abusive environment within a matter of weeks. Clearly, this has the potential to lead to more than one 28-day notice being received from the same tenant; however, the extent that this will happen can only be accurately assessed after the legislation has been in effect for a period of time. Although the landlord and superintendent can advertise the potential availability of a unit, they can’t disclose any details about it or allow prospective tenants to see it. If the unit is part of a duplex, for example, the risk is high that the abuser will discover his or her partner is leaving and the landlord will be blamed. As a practical matter, the unit can’t even be listed until after the 28th day specified in the notice of termination, which would be a significant financial loss for a small landlord. If a breach of secrecy occurs, the maximum fines are $25,000 for individual landlords and $100,000 for corporations. And if the fleeing tenant is injured in retaliation for attempting to leave when the abuser discovers the plan, “the landlord is likely to be hit with the high end of the fine because it’s so serious,” says Hoffer. Even if the victim leaves on day 28, in a joint tenancy the superintendent will have difficulty verifying the tenant’s departure short of knocking on the abuser’s door. If the superintendent asks if the victim has moved out, and the victim is still there, the abuser could learn of the plan, endangering the victim and creating liability problems for the superintendent and the landlord. “The civil liability aspect is a concern,” says Hoffer. Joint tenancies: If two tenants are on a lease jointly and one gives a 28-day notice and vacates, the remaining tenant may leave on 60 days’ notice, starting on the day the notice is given, instead of 60 days before the end of a rental period.
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“When it’s mid-month, it makes it that much more difficult for the landlord to rent the unit,” says Hoffer. It’s also common for students to want to break their leases, which they can do now by citing fears for their safety to terminate their interest in the tenancy. If all the roommates left, it would be difficult for the landlord to re-rent the unit partway through the school year. Unauthorized occupant application: In another situation, suppose a tenant allows a partner to move in, but the relationship deteriorates to the point of abuse and the tenant gives the 28-day notice. Hoffer advises landlords to bring an unauthorized occupant application to clarify the status of the person who is left behind. However, that can’t be done until after 28 days have passed and the tenant on the lease has actually moved out.
“Events like the golf tournament make a huge difference,” says Gerry Dearing, Director of Philanthropy, Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre.“And it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to help people learn more about what we do.”
The London charity gives hope to families during times of crisis and transition.
“All of those things lead to very real financial consequences for landlords that the landlord is left to deal with,” says Hoffer. Training staff: Landlords should begin training their staff now, ensuring that every staff member attends the sessions and that the training becomes part of the orientation for new employees. According to Hoffer, the most severe consequences of inadequate training won’t be for large landlords. “They’ll be for small landlords who don’t have rigorous training in place and who can’t afford to absorb the financial consequences of the short notice period, the inability to list the unit, the uncertainty until day 28 as to whether the tenancy has even been terminated. Those are the ones who will experience the most serious financial losses from this Bill,” adds Hoffer.
LPMA golf tournament supports children’s Residential/Respite Program at Merrymount When members hit the links for the 13th annual LPMA golf tournament in September, they will be helping to provide a safe haven for children who can’t stay at home due to family turmoil. Funds raised from the tournament will benefit the Crisis Residential/Respite Program at Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre.
Founded as an orphanage in 1874, the centre offers a wide range of resources and programs that support families through challenging times. It is the only centre in Canada to offer emergency overnight shelter for children whose parents are in crisis. Brenda Trineer, LPMA golf tournament chair, was moved by what she saw when she toured the centre earlier this year. “When you think about someone who is homeless, you don’t think of a child, but there can be circumstances that make it impossible for a child to live at home,” says Trineer. “This year’s golf tournament is a great opportunity for us to support these young children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in these difficult situations.” Last year’s event raised $20,000 for St. Paul’s Social Services. In 2015, Merrymount’s Crisis Residential/Respite Program provided
London Property Management Association (LPMA) is a non-profit organization, located in London, Ontario, Canada, that provides information and education to landlords. LPMA represents the interests of both large and small property owners. The association has more than 400 landlord members representing approximately 35,000 rental units.
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Membership is open to landlords and property management professionals who own or manage one or more residential rental units. Sign up online www.LPMA.ca, or call Brenda Davidson at 519-672-6999 for more information.
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a temporary home away from home to 2,300 children from birth to age 13. Of the centre’s 18 residential beds, only four are supported through government funding. Each bed costs between $70,000 and $80,000 a year to keep open. Ailene Wittstein, Merrymount’s executive director, says children come to the program for many different reasons. Parents could be struggling with mental health challenges, addiction, a tumultuous separation or an unexpected illness. If they don’t have friends or family who can help care for their offspring during these difficult times, parents can turn to Merrymount. “We have children who are brought here in the middle of the night by an ambulance when their parent has been hospitalized,” Wittstein notes. The average overnight stay is three or four nights. During their stay, children receive around-the-clock professional care and participate in group programs designed to help them improve their coping strategies, build resiliency and social skills, and increase their sense of safety and well being. “We also taxi them to school and back, so they don’t miss a beat while they are with us,” says Wittstein. “Kids are smart. They understand that something has gone wrong at home.” Many are mature beyond their years and care for younger siblings when their parents struggle to cope. “It takes time for a lot of our little ones to become a child again when they come here and to realize that someone else is taking care of their parents and that their parents are okay,” says Wittstein.
President’s message... To be a landlord in Ontario is to stay educated. Bill 132, an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), takes effect in September. It permits tenants who are experiencing domestic or sexual abuse or sexual harassment to terminate monthly or fixed-term leases on only 28-days’ notice, allowing the tenancy to end at any time during the month. Currently, tenants must give 60 days’ notice before the end of a fixed or monthly rental period. Experts predict the legislation’s secrecy requirement will pose the greatest difficulty for landlords. To help landlords prepare for the amendments to the RTA and to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, LPMA is holding a seminar on June 17 in London. Lawyer Joe Hoffer will discuss the changes and their impact on landlords. Limited space is available. Please join us for our annual LPMA Charity Golf Tournament on September 12 at FireRock Golf Club in Komoka. Registration opens June 1 and costs $160 per golfer. Various sponsorship opportunities, ranging in price from $250 to $1500, are available. Be sure to register early because the tournament, which will benefit Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre, sells out quickly.
The golf tournament takes place September 12 at FireRock Golf Club in Komoka. Online registration opens June 1st at www.lpma.ca/calendar and Trineer encourages members to sign up early to avoid disappointment.
— Shirley Criger, Property Manager Gateway Property Managament Corporation
Register for both the seminar and golf tournament at www.lpma.ca/calendar
Hassle-Free Laundry Rooms For more information, contact us today! 1.877.755.5302 ■ firstname.lastname@example.org ■ www.coinamatic.com
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Donâ€™t lose your head over rising energy costs! Proud to have helped our customers save millions in energy savings! Industry incentives for multi-residential properties are at an all-time high and can cover up to 50% of the project costs. MultiLogic Energy Solutions Inc. is a leading Canadian energy management company delivering permanent energy savings and resident satisfaction.
We provide turnkey solutions Design a plan Secure maximum incentive available Full installation Disposal and recycling OPA application Post project paperwork ESA Inspections
MultiLogic provides property owners with energy savings through turnkey energy management solutions, lowering operating costs and maximizing savings. Shane Blanchard C: 647.822.4947 O: 1.866.291.1266 email@example.com
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Is “aﬀordable housing” aﬀordable?
he latest buzzword being tossed around to describe a solution to the current housing shortage we are facing in Hamilton is “affordable housing.” This phrase seems to give a solution in the very definition of the wording. We need housing, and we need it to be affordable. Simply saying that we are looking into affordable housing makes us feel good that we are making the right choice regardless of how we make housing affordable or what the longterm ramifications might be. To make a decision on how to create affordable housing, it is important to look at the ongoing cost of providing housing, the tenant’s income and the price of new construction. New, “purpose-built” construction that is either subsidized or built by the government makes a portion of the new building affordable to lower income tenants. Either the government directly pays the developer to have lower rents or the government builds and maintains the rentals as subsidized housing. The recent announcement by the provincial government regarding inclusionary zoning allows the city to require developers to set aside a percentage of their new units for lower income households. To make this feasible, the cost will be spread over to other residents’ rent. Some of the suggested cost reductions to the government for new construction have involved implementing a reduction of property tax, using government-owned land or creating interest-free bonds. While it has been calculated that the cost to the government (and tax payers) for straight grants would be $150,000, the better option would be the low-interest bond proposal, which could reduce the cost to $72,000 per unit or less. Either way, these types of subsidies would be for the units in the building or for the construction itself and not attached to the person who needs the subsidy. Any new construction will eventually become old and need repair. How will subsidies given out now cover the cost in 25 years? Many examples of long-term consequences of subsidized housing already exist in Hamilton. How many problems has city housing faced with its older buildings? Much of Canada's social housing was built with
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subsidies in place for the length of the mortgage, often 30 years. The theory at that time was that the projects would be able to sustain themselves once the mortgage was paid off. These subsidies are now expiring and the mortgages are paid off, but the ongoing costs and the capital needs are such that the projects are unsustainable and the government is being asked for more funds. A recognized social housing failure is Regent Park; it was built in the 1960s, but it was so poorly designed and maintained that it needed to be torn down. The government projects we subsidize now could have the same issues down the road. Hamilton needs to increase density and make housing affordable at the same time. It has been stated in the Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011, that municipalities are required to authorize second units in detached, semi-detached and row houses, as well as in ancillary structures. Hamilton needs to stop the roadblocks that inhibit the creation of secondary units and start using current stock better by bringing them into compliance, thereby opening up many affordable units.
Why not combine the use of our current stock of secondary units with new construction by the private sector, rent at market rents and create portable shelter subsidies for the tenant? This method would allow renters to choose to upgrade to a better apartment, causing the more affordable older units to become available. It costs less to subsidize a person in an older unit with a market rent of $800 than in a new unit with a market rent of $1,500 or more. With portable shelter subsidies, tenants can move wherever there are job opportunities and not be limited to where they can find a subsidized unit. It can take years for new housing to be built, but shelter subsidies could be implemented within weeks. If we let the private sector run the risks of building and maintaining a rental apartment, then the taxpayer is not the one left holding the bill if things go wrong. The simplest solution would be to increase the income of low wage tenants, which would allow them to afford rent and require fewer housing subsidies. Every decision about â€œaffordable rental housingâ€? needs to consider affordability now and in the future, not just for the tenant but also for the taxpayer.
Hamilton and District Landlords Since 1960, the Hamilton and District Apartment Association has grown significantly. Our member landlords and property managers manage in excess of 30,000 units throughout Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Guelph, Mississauga, Oakville, St. Catharines and into the Niagara Peninsula. The association is a highly respected organization, sought out regularly by government, industry, media and the public. To join, submit the application form available at www.hamiltonapartmentassociation.ca, or contact HDAA at 289-208-5445. 50 | june 2016
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President’s message... HDAA has been getting a lot of publicity lately. I was on Hamilton News Radio AM900 CHML talking about the impact of licencing. CBC News has written a few articles about HDAA’s involvement in the City of Hamilton’s rental housing sub-committee, and The Hamilton Spectator published our latest article on affordable housing. I feel that our association is gaining momentum as a voice for landlords in the industry. We have been asked to participate in many discussion groups and to send in feedback on various industry-related issues. Please follow our lead and get involved by contacting the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing with your feedback on their changes to the RTA consultation paper as shown below.
Help make changes to the RTA by Thursday, June 30 Ontario recently announced details of the update to its Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS). The updated strategy recognizes the critical role that the private sector, including private landlords, play in providing a wide range and mix of housing. In this respect, the strategy proposes a range of initiatives to encourage greater participation from the private sector in the development of affordable housing. As part of these initiatives, changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2016 (RTA) are being explored to encourage small landlords to participate in the rental housing market, while maintaining strong protections for tenants. — Arun Pathak
A consultation paper highlighting the changes they are exploring has been posted on the Government of Ontario website. http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14836.aspx. Please send in your written feedback and responses on the discussion questions included throughout the consultation paper by: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Residential and Commercial Tenancies Unit Housing Policy Branch Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 777 Bay Street, 14th Floor Toronto, ON M5G 2E5
UPCOMING EVENTS June 14, 2016 The golf tournament is going to be another fun event. We are expecting a large turnout and some amazing prizes, including the players’ favourite: a wine cellar prize!
September 14, 2016 We are holding a dinner meeting. Horizon Utilities will talk about the latest incentive programs for landlords to save money.
Look for more exciting events for 2016 Dinner at a winery and an information morning on AODA compliance so that your staff will be ready for the 2017 deadline.
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Ottawa city council protects tenants and landlords from undue tax increases
n May 11, Ottawa City Council again protected tenants and landlords from property tax increases due to the assessment shift between multi-residential properties and single family homes in the current assessment cycle. On average, rental properties will pay the same tax increase as single family homes, namely the 1.5 per cent City budget increase. If City Council had not made that change, landlords and tenants would have paid an extra $2.5 million in property taxes in 2016. The multi-residential tax ratio now stands at 1.425 (down from last year’s 1.47). Ottawa landlords should expect their 2016 property taxes to be similar to last year. If a building had a small tax increase last year, it will likely have a small increase this year. If a building had an automatic tax-driven rent reduction last year, it will likely have one this year. For decades, multi-residential properties (and residential tenants) across Ontario have been taxed at significantly higher property tax rates than single family homes (and homeowners). In Ottawa, tenants currently pay municipal property taxes at a rate 42.5 per cent higher than the rate that homeowners pay, because the multi-residential tax ratio is set at 1.425. This disparity is unfair on its face, and numerous studies across Canada have found such disparities to be unjustified. In most other Ontario cities, the tax disparity is worse. However, in most provinces across Canada, landlords and tenants pay the same property tax rate as homeowners. Ontario recognized that the fair rate for tenants is the same as the rate for homeowners when it set the education property rate at the same rate for both. Ontario also set the target for municipalities at a nearly equal tax rate when it set the band of fairness for the multi-residential tax ratio at between 1.0 and 1.1. (The Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario was instrumental in both of those reforms.) Next year will be the first year of a new four-year assessment cycle in Ontario, determining property taxes for 2017 through 2020. We do not yet know how this will affect multi-residential taxes in Ottawa. If the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) continues to show multi-residential values as increasing faster than residential
properties, we hope that the City will stay the course, providing consistent, manageable reductions in the tax ratio. But if MPAC shows multi-residential values not keeping up with residential increases, then EOLO will need to lobby hard to maintain the gains that we have achieved in the multi-residential tax ratio.
City of Ottawa water rate update In the last issue of RHB Magazine’s Regional Association Voice, EOLO reported in detail on the City of Ottawa’s moves to reform the way it charges for water, sewers and storm drainage. For many years, the City funded all three services entirely from charges based on the volume of water a property has consumed. Tenants and landlords of large buildings did reasonably well under that system because of many landlords’ water conservation measures. However, the City is moving to a system with a charge for storm drainage, and a fixed charge for water and sewer, as well as a volumetric rate, which could undo the benefit of those conservation measures. While EOLO wants to avoid cost increases on residential rental buildings, EOLO’s main arguments need to be about making sure that the new system is fair between homeowners and residential tenants. Water costs are costs of operating rental buildings, and as such, those costs are ultimately borne by the residential tenants through their rents (or sometimes directly). Tenants use water in the same way as homeowners. Therefore, the City should treat the multi-residential sector the same way it treats homeowners. It should not lump the multi-residential sector in with the Institutional-Commercial-Industrial (ICI) sector, as the City is sometimes inclined to do. In the water rate review, the most contentious issue has turned out to be charges for storm water drainage. Due to the objections from rural residents, Councillors sent the City staff away to bring forward more options. (In land mass, Ottawa is 90 per cent rural. In area, Ottawa is one of the largest municipalities in the world.)
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EOLO will be monitoring the situation to make sure nothing detrimental to landlords (and tenants) is advanced over the summer when few people are watching. We expect that the water charge reforms will be brought back in fall 2016, if they are not abandoned because of objections from rural residents.
Ontario considers landlord-friendly changes to the RTA The Government of Ontario is consulting on potential reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Possible reforms include: • Revising the guideline rent increase formula (Part II) • Allowing landlords to claim utility arrears at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) (Part I, section 1.1) • Allowing landlords to claim rent arrears and damage claims at the LTB for up to 12 months after a tenancy has ended (section 1.2)
Landlords and others can provide input to the government or to their MPPs. You can help make these reforms happen! See the end of the article for how to do that.
Revising the guideline formula
• Allowing easier enforcement of no-smoking provisions and no-pet rules (sections 3.1 and 3.2) • Changing the process for appealing decisions of the LTB to the Divisional Court (section 2.3) The section numbers indicate where each item is found in the discussion paper.
The motivation for the reforms The motivation for the possible reforms is “to encourage small landlords and private homeowners to participate in the rental housing market, while maintaining strong protections for tenants.” The purpose is “to help increase the supply of affordable rental housing options, and choices available to low-to-moderate income tenants.” The government has finally realized that Ontario’s supposedly tenantfriendly legislation is also off-putting to landlords. In many ways, the current RTA is overly friendly to tenants who behave improperly. As a result, it is not friendly to tenants who pay their rent on time and who do not disturb their neighbours. However, if these reforms are adopted, the balance will move in favour of landlords and responsible tenants.
Unlike in the other areas, the discussion paper lacks specifics about what the guideline review might produce. The Federation of Rentalhousing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) will address the guideline review. FRPO members should watch for information. Members of other associations should watch for information from them. Industry groups are almost always more successful at getting positive change if virtually all the input their members give the government is very similar. One key change is likely to be a request that the current 2.5 per cent cap on the guideline be removed. That cap could be devastating to landlords if inflation were to take off again for any reason.
Allowing landlords to make more claims at the LTB Allowing landlords to claim utility arrears at the LTB would be a very positive step. At the moment, such claims must be made in Small Claims Court, and enforcement cannot include termination of the tenancy. Landlords also have to go to Small Claims Court for any claims they want to make after the tenancy is terminated. That is more onerous than using the LTB, and sometimes results in a hearing of some issues at the LTB and a hearing about other issues at Small Claims Court. That wastes time and creates difficulties in enforcement. Another positive proposal is to allow the LTB to make orders for damages based on a mediated agreement that has not been complied with.
BECOME AN EOLO MEMBER NOW! EOLO invites Ottawa area landlords to join the organization. Have your interests and concerns heard, and benefit from EOLO’s support. As an EOLO member, you will: • Receive prompt email notification of relevant City rule changes • Be able to attend two networking receptions each year • Be able to attend two free education events each year 54 | june 2016
• Receive EOLO’s newsletter with more information about new issues and developments at the City and in provincial funding programs and landlord-tenant laws. To apply for membership, go to www.eolo.ca, download the membership application form and send it to us at the contact info on that website.
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Appeals to Divisional Court The consultation paper notes that landlord organizations claim that some tenants abuse their appeal rights, and the accompanying stay provisions, to remain in their units without paying rent for an extended period of time after the LTB has made an eviction order. In recent years and in multiple court decisions, numerous Superior Court judges have noted the unfairness caused by those abuses of the appeal process. Removing the automatic stay on appeal would be a very positive step for landlords. It would also help responsible tenants because eviction orders are often made against tenants for disturbing neighbouring tenants, and the irresponsible tenant continues to disturb the responsible tenants for months during an appeal.
Allowing the enforcement of no-smoking and no-pet rules The current RTA makes no-pet rules void. To stop a tenant from keeping a pet, the landlord needs to show that the pet is inherently dangerous, has seriously interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants or the landlords, or has caused a serious allergic reaction. The proposal is to allow the owners of small buildings who live in the building to enforce a no-pet rule. Arguably that does not go far enough because the health or enjoyment of other tenants can be threatened by animals in a building of any size. As well, some employees are allergic to various animals, and they should be entitled to a safe workplace. Similar issues apply to smoking, especially since it is more clear that second-hand smoke is a menace to peopleâ€™s health, as well as being unpleasant to many people.
Opposition by tenant advocates Many tenant advocates are up in arms about the proposed reforms, alleging that they will take away tenantsâ€™ rights. In many ways, the proposed reforms would help tenants who pay their rent on time and who do not disturb their neighbours. Common experience notes many
people who have ceased to be residential landlords in Ontario because the current legal rules are slanted against them and responsible tenants, in favour of the few tenants who do not pay their rent, damage rental units or disturb their neighbours. That has reduced the rental supply, and means all tenants pay more rent than they would need to pay if the rules were more evenly balanced.
Making your views known Ontario landlords and others can access the full consultation paper at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14837.aspx. For a PDF of the paper, go to http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=14811. The consultation paper includes 28 questions. However, Ontario landlords and others can make their views known by referring to the section number of the item they want to comment on. The government originally wanted comments by April 26, but they extended it to June 30. Even after June 30, it is well worthwhile for landlords and others to make their views known, both to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and to your MPP. These issues may be debated for some considerable time. â€” By David Lyman, EOLO Vice-President
Help make these changes happen! Send your comments by mail to: Residential and Commercial Tenancies Unit Housing Policy Branch Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 777 Bay Street, 14th Floor, Toronto, ON M5G 2E5 or email to: email@example.com.
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Impact of light rail transit in the Kitchener-Waterloo area
representing hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. Projects such as 1 Victoria, Midtown Lofts, Kings Crossing, redevelopment of the former Brick Brewery and Canada Post sites, and the Drewlo block are only a few examples of properties that were purchased/developed with LRT ridership in mind. Many of these residential developments have been bolstered by the big move by office tenants back downtown such as Manulife, Deloitte, Google, etc., that also want to be close to effective transit to attract the best employees. The suburbs are also experiencing many new developments that are directly focused on LRT proximity including the redevelopment of the former NCR lands and the Laurel Springs property at Northfield and Weber, the bold repositioning plans for the former BlackBerry real estate by the Waterloo Innovation Network at Phillip and Columbia, the entire University node and the Schneider’s site. These areas will continue to undergo major transformation well after the first train rolls through.
riving anywhere in Kitchener and Waterloo right now is a less than pleasant experience. The cities are wounded with numerous construction sites along the ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) route, causing major traffic disruption at all hours. Every day seems to present a new adventure trying to navigate detours and street closures. The unending construction paired with lost revenue from business affected by construction makes it hard to believe that the LRT will ever benefit the cities, let alone the Region as a whole. What is not in plain sight is the continuing strong demand from developers, users, residents and investors who have already taken a position, or are looking to take a position, within one of the 19 station areas along the 19 kilometre Phase I route. Long before the Region of Waterloo Council approved the project in 2011, these stakeholders started to eye this part of the market as they bought into a vision that the landscape around LRT would change as we know it. There are 3,864 rental units and 2,808 condominium units currently under construction or in the planning stages along the LRT line,
What many people don’t see today through all the construction and the big budget is the project isn’t as much about this generation; it’s more of an investment into our future. This forward thinking will help position Kitchener-Waterloo as a world-class city and pave the way for a new generation that is driving less and looking for smaller spaces in which to live. The resident of the future cares less about the dream of the white picket fence and more about living and working in a transitoriented environment full of culture, amenities, accessibility and high quality of life. But what does it all mean for residential landlords? We see the potential for landlords within a reasonable distance to stations to enjoy a premium for the rent once the system is in place. That premium is difficult to quantify at this point, but with increased
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Highlights from T
he industry presenters at WRAMA’s May 2016 meeting included Enercare Commercial Services and Molok North America. Enercare, represented by Scott Beneteau (General Manager) and Dylan Morrow (Energy Management Consultant), provided information and case studies on geoexchange, also known as geothermal energy. Molok’s Mark Hillis, Vice-President of Business Development, provided information on their garbage containment system.
demand should come better rent, lower vacancy and greater liquidity. All of that said, with the projects in the pipeline, prudent landlords in station areas need to keep their eye on the market. How will absorption of new product impact demand for nearby older product? How many condo units will compete with traditional rental stock? Where will rents stabilize? Today, we are observing a wide spread on rents between older rental stock to new purpose rental. This spread can be as much as $1,000/month for a two-bed unit! While it might be difficult to visualize through the clouds of construction dust and pylons, behind the scenes there are major projects in the works that will fundamentally change the KitchenerWaterloo real estate market as a direct result of LRT. Landlords in close proximity to stations should take time to understand how their real estate fits into the big picture and uncover what opportunities they have to drive value and stay competitive. — By James Craig, CBRE Limited (101 Frederick Street, Kitchener)
Scott provided a brief outline of his company’s HVAC services including water heating, boilers, air make-up units and roof top units. Although more common in Europe, the number of geoexchange systems has increased by over 11 times since 1996, and currently there are more than 100,000 systems in Canada. In an urban setting, the technology involves drilling vertically down into the ground and installing a grout-encased PVC tube. Going down in the order of 60 metres, the heat exchange fluid travels down and then back up through the tube. During the winter, the relatively warm ground transfers heat to the system, allowing extracted heat to warm a building. During the summer, the reverse occurs and heat from a building is removed by transferring it to the ground. In a rural setting, a cheaper horizontal system may be used. Scott noted that in combination with co-generation, the system can provide up to 80 per cent of a building’s heating and cooling needs. In a co-generation system (or combined heat and power), waste heat from a back-up or dedicated electrical generating system (often gas fired) can be used to provide additional heating. The geoexchange system
Discover the benefits of being a member of our association: The mission of the Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association is to actively and positively develop and sustain the integrity of its members’ business – the provision of private residential rental accommodation – in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas. To view the full range of valuable property management resources we oﬀer our members, or to apply online go to http://wrama.com/, or contact WRAMA at 519-748-0703.
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the May WRAMA seminar is considered a capital intensive system and is suitable for those who take a long-term view of their investments. This, he noted, reflects our business where asset considerations have a long-term horizon. Scott provided a local example of a Kitchener condominium complex that uses solar and geoexchange to provide a near energy-neutral complex. Where is geoexchange going? Scott noted that the system has benefits including a long-term hedge against the rising cost of energy, energy security and the ability to enhance the marketability of suites. He did note some of the challenges for such systems include a high level of expertise to operate the systems and payback periods that may be longer than some private investors are willing to accept. Overall, with continually rising energy costs, alternatives such as geoexchange will be one of the options considered by managers.
bag allows the waste to drop into the collection truck. Mark showed a video of how the system works and noted the entire lifting, emptying and replacing the bag can take less than two minutes. The plastic woven bags typically last 15 years for garbage and eight to ten years for organic materials due to the denser waste. Waste removal is provided by a separate waste removal provider. Mark noted three advantages for the system, including reduced odour, greater convenience and capacity. Since the units store much of the waste in the ground where temperatures are cooler, odour generation is reduced. He noted his personal garbage system where the waste is removed approximately every nine months and still does not generate odour. Also, since a boom truck is used, the containers can be placed in convenient places for people and do not need space for truck access to lift the units. Finally, since the system uses space below the grade, the surface area needed to store waste is reduced, allowing more amenities or potential living space at a site.
Mark Hillis from Molok described their garbage containment system I as a deep containment method that was developed in Finland in the 1980s by Veikko Salli. Mr. Salli owned a number of businesses in Following the presentations, Scott and Mark responded to questions Scandinavia and, with a mechanical engineering background, he from the audience. WRAMA would like to thank our guest speakers sought to find a method to improve his waste collection. In his for their presentations and for providing valuable information to those system, a large fraction of the cylindrical waste container is set who attended the meeting. below the ground. Users simply see a shoulder-high cylinder with a domed roof and pivot lid in which the waste is placed. Secure Mark notedmaximum incentive available that there are approximately 200,000 containers worldwide with We look forward to ourand September meeting at Golfâ€™s Steakhouse in O Disposal recycling 7,000 in Canada and 2,500 in the Waterloo Region. Kitchener where we will have our annual expertsâ€™ panel provide the E latest update on various aspects of our business including The waste is stored in a large bag that is lifted out using a specialized management, rental accommodation sales activity and the latest boom-equipped collection truck. A quick release at the bottom of the legal news.
Donâ€™t lose your head over rising energy costs! Consultation
MultiLogic provides property owners with energy savings through turnkey energy management solutions, lowering operating costs and maximizing savings. Shane Blanchard C: 647.822.4947 O: 1.866.291.1266 firstname.lastname@example.org
Secure maximum incentive available Disposal and recycling rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 59
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Energy Retrofit Program for Rental Housing Sector A new Energy Retrofit incentive program has been announced that will provide up to $400 million in rebates or grants for private residential apartment buildings for the purchase and installation of energy efficient technologies such as boiler replacements and lighting retrofits.
Introduction of Inclusionary Zoning Legislation The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Ted McMeekin, introduced Bill 204, the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016, in the Legislature. If passed, it will provide municipalities with the ability to pass inclusionary zoning by-laws that would require new housing proposals to include affordable housing units.
Toronto Landlords May Pay Price for Illegal Pot Shops Toronto landlords are about to find themselves on the wrong side of the law when it comes to medical marijuana. Possessing marijuana isn’t legal, smoking it in public isn’t legal and selling cannabis products in an open setting is not legal, but Toronto has been embracing and reinterpreting its nickname “The Big Smoke” in a whole new way.
Regional Differences in Canadian Housing Markets CMHC says significant regional differences in home construction will be apparent over the coming years, with slower activity in most areas dragging down overall construction in 2016 and 2017. The Ottawa-based agency estimates that between 181,300 and 192,300 housing units will be started this year. That’s expected to drop to 172,600 units and 183,000 units started in 2017.
What You Need to Know after the Fort McMurray Wildfire With thousands out of their homes because of the Fort McMurray wildfires, being a landlord or tenant can create complications. Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants must keep paying rent when due even though they aren’t living in the property. For situations like this, it’s important for landlords and tenants to keep lines of communication open, work with one another, be reasonable and remember that it’s not an easy situation for either party.
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