VOL.10 NO.2 • MAY/JUNE 2017
Skyline GROUP OF COMPAnieS:
CHANGING THE INDUSTRY’S CARBON FOOTPRINT FORT McMURRAy:
ONE YEAR LATER
#reflections CFAA RHC 2017–
WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? Canada’s #1, most widely read publication for Apartment Owners, Managers and Association Executives
PRESIDENT’S CORNER THE BIGGEST NEWS in rental housing right now is the Ontario government’s Fair Housing Plan, including the changes to rent control being implemented through the so-called Rental Fairness Act (“RFA”). In this issue of RHB Magazine, three of CFAA’s Ontario affiliates report on those changes. See p. 49 for a comprehensive description on the plan and the changes being made under the RFA. See p. 46 for a discussion of the impact of the changes on small landlords in the context of the delays at the LTB. See p. 45 for the open letter which CFAA’s Hamilton aﬃliate sent to the Ontario Legislature during the run up to the new legislation, and p. 46 for comments HDAA made on the eﬀect of the new legislation on new rental development. CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2017 will also deal with those changes since they are top of mind for virtually all landlords in Ontario and for the national landlords, most of whom have many rental units in Ontario.
In dealing with governments, it is highly advantageous for landlords to speak with one voice. When an industry sends conflicting messages, governments are much more able to pick and choose what they want to do, or indeed not to respond to an industry at all. In dangerous times it is all the more important for rental housing providers to come together, rather than to split apart. e issues on which the rental industry disagrees among ourselves are much less important than the issues on which we all agree. CFAA RHC 2017 is addressing many other issues facing the rental housing industry, including investment issues, marketing, competition for employees, new technology, rental development, leasing and building science innovations. See p. 24 for more details of what the CFAA Rental Housing Conference oﬀers. Plan to attend CFAA RHC 2018 in Vancouver, in mid-May or early June 2018, to learn about the most important issues for residential landlords of all sizes.
Political changes are also top of mind in BC. As this goes to print, the Green Party is negotiating with the BC Liberals and NDP to determine who will form the next government. ose negotiations, or an NDP government, may well result in reforms to the residential tenancy laws. Voters in Nova Scotia are going to the polls on May 30. In a poll by Forum Research on May 15 and 16, the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives were in a statistical tie with 37 and 35% support respectively, while the NDP had the support of 25% of voters. If the election sees that popular vote, it will likely result in a minority government of either the Liberals or the Progressive Conservatives, with the NDP holding the balance of power.
John Dickie CFAA President
The 30-day challenge I RECENTLY READ A BLOG post about taking on a 30-day challenge, which can help you to form new habits, improve skills or complete outstanding tasks. For example, if you want to improve your writing skills, or work toward writing a book, then your 30-day challenge would involve writing 500 – 1000 words per day (this is what I plan to do). If you want to become a better person (mentally or physically), then you could hug one person a day for 30 days, or do 10 pushups a day for 30 days. I think it’s a worthwhile exercise. It does not have to be anything big – just do whatever it is that you want to do for 30 days so that it becomes a habit, or an experiment. is issue of RHB Magazine examines Skyline Group of Companies’ Illumination Project, which involved replacing 330,000 bulbs and fixtures with LED equivalents across its portfolio. It was an expansive undertaking with positive returns. It’s also part of a much larger corporate strategy to invest in green initiatives, so make sure that you give it a read to find out more. Other articles in this issue include a look back at Fort McMurray (one year after the devastating wildfire) and how diﬀerent members of the rental housing industry helped the victims, and some tips on attending the CFAA Rental Housing Conference in Toronto (which takes place June 7 and 8 at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto, Ontario). As always, have a read through CFAA’s newsletter, National Outlook, as well as the Regional Association Voice. Don't forget to check out “Spin Cycle” at the end of RHB Magazine. As usual, we enjoy hearing from our readers and support two-way communication. If you have any comments or questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Opininons 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 the written permission from the publisher. P.O. Box 6967, Maple, ON L6A 1S7 416-236-7473 Produced in Canada
Enjoy the issue! David Gargaro Senior Editor 4 | may/june 2017
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VOL.10 NO.2 2017
12 Skyline -
CFAA RHC 2017 – What’s in it for me?
Make the most of the CFAA Rental Housing Conference by finding the right sessions for you.
Changing the industry’s carbon footprint.
32 #reflections An inside look into the lives and professional milestones of Canada's leading real estate executives.
35 National Outlook CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2017 is a chance to hear the experts, and share your views on the issues and practices that aﬀect us all.
Regional Association Voice
News and views from LPMA, HDAA, EOLO and WRAMA.
A summary of industry topics and headlines.
6 | may/june 2017
IN THIS ISSUE...
35. CFAA celebrates Recognizing the excellence in the rental CFAA development housing industry finalists CFAA will recognize the winners of its second annual Rental Housing Awards Program at the CFAA Awards Dinner.
Winners will include leading landlords, rental housing suppliers and apartment associations from across Canada.
38. Rental Housing Conference Sponsors ank you to all of the 2017 CFAA Rental Housing Conference Partners, Sponsors and Exhibitors
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
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.
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
How many Skylines does
industryâ€™s car 12 | may/june 2017
it take to change the
bon footprint? rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 13
iven that energy costs are on the rise, homeowners, landlords and submetered renters are all looking for ways to reduce their energy usage. Replacing older incandescent and CFL light bulbs and fixtures with LED equivalents is one of the easiest ways to lower your energy bills. Thanks to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), landlords can take advantage of incentives and rebates to reduce the costs of making energy-efficient upgrades to their buildings. All rental property owners and managers can reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy bills by following the lead of the Skyline Group of Companies on a much smaller scale. The 18-year-old real estate management company has turned an easy solution—like replacing light bulbs—into a significant investment in energy efficiency by installing more than 330,000 LED light bulbs in its multi-family buildings, which wasn’t that easy. In addition to reducing its carbon footprint and energy bill, Skyline is investing in renewables on a much larger scale (see sidebar on Anvil Crawler), which is turning heads in the rental housing industry and beyond.
Background The Skyline Group of Companies, based in Guelph, Ontario, owns and manages nearly 200 multi-family rental properties across Canada. It focuses on acquiring its buildings in the country’s secondary and tertiary communities. Skyline’s approach to property management has always involved looking for efficient and environmentally sustainable ways to add value to its properties and improve the tenant experience. For example, in previous years, the company had retrofitted its buildings with more than 100,000 CFL light bulbs. At the time, these bulbs were much more energy efficient than the older incandescent bulbs that were in the buildings, and the retrofit ultimately helped to reduce Skyline’s energy usage and costs.
“It may go without saying, but innovation never stops,” said Roy Jason Ashdown, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Skyline Group of Companies. “Sustainability is a journey, rather than a destination. We know that we’ll never get to a place where we have done enough and we can stop investing in new technology.”
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The Illumination Project Orchestration for the Illumination Project began in late 2016. At that time, the cost of LED bulbs had dropped enough to make the retrofit’s projected ROI attractive enough to move forward. Skyline prepared to move ahead and launch the project in early 2017, with the goal of replacing more than 330,000 light bulbs within six months. The Illumination Project was expected to cost approximately $2 million, and save more than 10 million kWh per year (which is the equivalent of powering 913 single-family homes).
“In the case of the approximately 3,000 Skyline apartment suites that are sub-metered, the LED retrofit is solely benefiting the tenants, since their units will be outfitted with the new bulbs as well at no cost to them,” said Ashdown. “Put simply, these 3,000 families will see their hydro bills reduced each month for free. This is a $150,000 act of goodwill and green stewardship that we’re pleased to implement.”
The Illumination Project required a lot of upfront planning, as it involved installing LEDs in more than 180 buildings and 16,764 suites. Skyline had to involve employees throughout its entire organization—more than 500 staff—to make sure everything went according to plan. The company sought shipping and storage solutions for the new LED bulbs, and facilitated safe recycling for the old bulbs. It also provided training for its hundreds of building staff, which helped to ensure that the project ran as smoothly as possible.
“Across all the corners of our company, our ‘Skyliners’ have worked diligently to make the project a success,” said Ashdown. “We depended on their hard work and enthusiasm to get the job done.”
Anvil Crawler Development Corp. Skyline’s Illumination Project is a large-scale initiative that will produce significant monetary savings and greatly reduce the company’s environmental impact. However, this project is just one aspect of its sustainable practices, which go beyond surfacing value in its rental properties. In late 2015, Skyline launched Anvil Crawler Development Corp., a green energy company, for the purpose of investing in renewables on an even larger scale. Anvil Crawler has developed and installed several energy production and conservation products, including 19 250-kW solar barns across Ontario, a fleet of micro-Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, and the Anvil Power House, a portable and scalable solar energy facility. The Power House has a solar roof, internal battery storage system and Wi-Fi capabilities, and its interior space can be customoutfitted to serve as many different types of shelters – from a fully-heated office space in a remote mining area in northern Canada to a fully-powered family home on the African plains. Applications for Anvil Crawler include the rental housing industry. The company is currently developing hybrid solutions that can assist landlords with peak shaving. The solutions might include a combination of solar power, micro CHP, wind power and battery storage, so landlords can actively combat over-peak demand charges. Skyline has completed 16 micro-CHP installs in several regions across Ontario. It has also completed applications for 200 additional properties. CHP (or co-generation) supplies hydro to buildings through efficient natural gas generators, and uses the by-product of hot water to provide heat for buildings, which virtually eliminates wasted energy from the process. One CHP system can supply up to 90 per cent of a property’s hydro needs. “Skyline has taken the industry lead when it comes to energy management in its portfolio of buildings through implementing measures that lead to long-term sustainable benefits,” says Peter Ormond, Energy Manager, Alectra Utilities. “This clear leadership provides a benchmark that will motivate other landlords and facilities to follow Skyline’s example.” Although micro-CHP technology has been popular in Europe for decades, it is relatively new to Canada. Getting buy-in from hydro companies has been a challenge. Horizon
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Utilities (now Alectra Utilities) saw major potential in the energy-saving capabilities of CHP, and assisted Skyline with its first prototype sites in St. Catharines. In addition to its first installs, Skyline has CHP systems at several properties in Niagara Falls, Chatham and Guelph. Alectra recently presented Skyline with an Innovation Award to recognize the numerous ways in which it has improved its energy savings and sustainability in its St. CatharinesNiagara properties. “This award is usually reserved for larger industries; however, it puts Skyline on the map to lead the charge when it comes to energy management in the rental housing business,” says Ormond. “Skyline has followed a successful formula to first reduce their load through deep energy conservation measures, and then to go beyond by producing their own energy through combined heat and power systems.”
Partnership with London Hydro The Illumination Project also had a vast geographic scope. Skyline owns properties within the regions of 27 different local utility distribution companies (LDCs). Trying to manage so many different relationships on such a large project could have resulted in some major stalls. With this in mind, Skyline took the opportunity to partner with London Hydro for the Illumination Project. The partnership ensured that the project moved forward and avoided as much red tape as possible.
London Hydro took the lead in coordinating procedures with the other Ontario LDCs. It also removed many barriers to participation, and handled the applications for programs on Skylineâ€™s behalf. The utility did a lot of the legwork behind the scenes, which ensured that the LED installation work ran as smoothly as possible. As a result, London Hydro is helping more than two dozen LDCs across Ontario to meet their annual CDM targets, while also helping more than 35,000 people across Canada to become greener with no more effort than allowing their bulbs to be switched.
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“We’re proud to be Skyline’s primary partner in this endeavour,” said Hans Schreff, Manager of Conservation and Demand Management, London Hydro. “We’ve had a multi-year business relationship with Skyline and our partnership is paying off for everyone.”
Incentives and rebates Over its many years of following environmentally friendly practices, Skyline has learned that it can apply for energy rebates and incentives to help make its retrofits more affordable. It should be noted that these rebates are not only available to landlords, but to homeowners and tenants as well. In fact, LED programs are primarily designed to help small landlords and homeowners. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) provides incentives on many different types of LED retrofits – whether that involves changing one light bulb or 330,000 of them.
“There are multiple benefits when organizations such as Skyline take advantage of the IESO’s Save on Energy incentive programs for projects like this,” says Terry Young, Vice-President, Conservation and Corporate Relations for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). “It helps tenants manage electricity use and reduce costs, and it helps the electricity system overall to reduce demand. We commend Skyline for taking on the project.”
Conclusion Skyline’s Illumination Project is a large undertaking with significant financial and environmental benefits. It’s also part of an award-winning, multi-faceted investment in renewables, which will have a long-term impact on the company’s carbon footprint and the rental housing industry. Its strategies can be replicated on a much smaller scale – even installing LED light bulbs can have tangible results. The first step for landlords is to look at their bills, and determine what is currently available in the marketplace. By implementing green technologies in their buildings, landlords will not only reduce their carbon footprint and attract more environmentally conscious tenants, they will take a crucial step toward elevating the rental housing industry. “From 6-plexes to 600-plexes, all rental buildings are valued on income – regardless of the project’s scale, the value of the property will improve,” said Ashdown. “It’s important to embrace technology, to invest in innovation, and to take advantage of what’s available now.”∎ 22 | may/june 2017
CFAA RHC 2017
What’s in it
The CFAA Rental Housing Conference (RHC) has always been at the forefront of what is happening – as well as what the future holds – in Canada’s rental housing industry. This annual event brings together rental executives, regional managers, property managers, key rental employees, hands-on landlords, apartment association leaders and others involved in rental housing. The conference enables attendees to network with their colleagues, listen to great speakers, discuss important issues, and learn about new and useful techniques and technologies.
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CFAA RHC 2017 takes place on June 7 and 8 at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto. With so many great sessions and speakers, plus the Suppliers Council Showcase, networking reception and awards dinner, there’s a lot to see, hear and do. So what should YOU attend to get the most out of your conference experience?
EDUCATION DAY 1 For large landlords You’re the owner or president of a large company that owns or manages many buildings. You want to know how to make your buildings and your business more efficient, as well as how to keep your tenants happy – and your units filled. Dr. Paul Kershaw, the opening keynote speaker and founder of Generation Squeeze, talks about rethinking housing policy to work for all generations, which is vital to the rental industry going forward. At the “Operations Roundtable,” the panelists address the impact of Ontario’s recent rent control changes, landlord licensing and registration, marijuana legalization, energy and water conservation, and more. Alternatively, “Total rewards: Getting your house in order” covers how best to communicate compensation issues to employees. Depending on your interests, you can choose between “Major building (and portfolio) sales across Canada” or “What benefit and retirement plans do your employees actually need?” If you’re into technology, or being pushed to adopt technology, then learn about the challenges of adopting useful apps and systems in rental housing. “Interest rates and lending conditions” covers refinancing and related topics. FRPO and CFAA leaders discuss the Ontario government’s decision to remove the rent control exemption for post-91 buildings, what is at risk now and how we can best protect ourselves as rental providers. If you’re tired of policy and politics, “Experiential marketing: 3D, virtual reality + augmented reality” provides a futuristic look at apartment marketing.
For property managers, regional managers and marketing people Property and regional managers, and many others, would benefit from understanding the challenges of implementing new technology in rental housing. These include head office organization issues, employee skills and training, and the amount of time you have in your day. While implementing technology can take time and money, it can also save time and money, as well as improve customer service and profitability. “Steps to success: Critical learning experiences from industry veterans” describes how three of today’s up and coming rental executives made their way up the ladder of success.
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Marketing professionals would be most interested in the “Marketing Roundtable,” where panel members discuss brand building and reputation management, marketing automation, tenant demographics and expectations, and retaining tenants. “Automating the marketing process” and “Top new marketing ideas” continue the marketing discussion. At the “Experiential marketing” session, you can try on a VR headset and listen to how VR can cut the time needed to show apartments and speed up the leasing process.
For small or medium-sized landlords If you’re a small or medium-sized landlord (with fewer than 1,500 units), you wear all the hats in your business. Find out what CFAA is saying and doing about the capital gains tax, or attend the “Marketing Roundtable” to hear about the current issues in marketing and what tenants expect. Then learn about property and management apps that can save you time, improve your recordkeeping and keep you safe from liability. Later, hear about the impact of the recent changes to Ontario’s residential tenancy laws and how they will impact condo investors and owners of small buildings. The “Employment law update” explains how to stay on the right side of the law with one full or part-time employee, or many more.
EDUCATION DAY 2 For large landlords The morning keynote speech from Benjamin Tal, the Deputy Chief Economist of CIBC World Markets, is filled with insight and humour. He provides an economic update – with some eye-opening information – six months into Trump’s presidency. CMHC also reports on new mortgage products for rental providers. The “Executive Roundtable” features some big names – Alf Hendry, CEO of Homestead; Todd Cook, CEO of Northview REIT; Jason Castellan, CEO of Skyline; and David Horwood, CEO of Effort Trust – who talk about Ontario’s rent control changes, the Western rental markets, compressed yields, rental investment opportunities and more. The panel at the “Development Roundtable” talk about the challenges in building rental housing in today’s market. The day ends with a discussion on the future of the rental housing industry.
For property managers, regional managers and leasing reps The “Development Roundtable” panel discusses the challenges of rental development, quite apart from Ontario’s latest moves. Alternatively, get the inside take on today’s leasing problems and solutions, or attend “Building commissioning and recommissioning” to learn how to reduce energy costs and improve tenant satisfaction. If you’re concerned about marijuana legalization, then take in this session to get the legal lowdown, how to use third party inspections, and what CFAA is doing to try to give rental owners and operators the upper hand. The “Human rights” session discusses what Human Rights Tribunals demand from landlords when some tenants are harassing other tenants.
For small or medium-sized landlords At the session on “Medium/small landlord issues,” panelists discuss some of the concerns that you face every week. Alternatively, “Emerging building technologies” explains what’s available in technology for low-rise buildings.
“Human rights in tenant relations” is a very important session, since human rights have become an area of increasing concern, which can cost a small landlord a great deal of time and money.
Conclusion Whoever you are, and whatever you do, in the rental housing industry, CFAA RHC has a great deal to offer. Unless you attend with colleagues or family members, you can’t take it all in, but you can maximize your learning experience by choosing the sessions that apply most to your role and interests. The networking opportunities and Suppliers Council Showcase are also of great value because of the people you can meet and the opportunities to grow your network. Whether or not you attend this year’s RHC, plan to attend CFAA RHC 2018 in beautiful Vancouver, BC, which takes place next year in mid-May or early June. CFAA will present new topics of importance and interest for rental executives, regional managers, property managers, key rental employees and hands-on landlords. Plan to learn a lot, attend the CFAA Awards dinner and have a great time! —by David Gargaro
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One year later It’s been one year since the Fort McMurray wildfire, which is considered one of Canada’s costliest insurance disasters (approximately $3.6 billion).The fires destroyed more than 2,500 homes, apartments and businesses, and displaced thousands of people.The province’s worst forest fire also brought Albertans and Canadians together, as they donated money, clothing, accommodations, supplies and more to help those most affected.
Last year, we heard from landlords, business owners and others involved in the rental housing industry who contributed to helping the wildfire victims – there were just too many to mention in these pages. It demonstrates how members of the rental housing community are dedicated to helping people (and not just filling units). This article revisits the people and businesses we covered last time to see what has happened over the last year.
Boardwalk Rental Communities Following the fire in Ft. McMurray, Boardwalk offered a special rental package to any displaced residents of Fort McMurray, which included flexible lease terms, no security deposit and discounts to rental terms. Boardwalk opened its doors and welcomed home more than 600 families who were evacuated from Fort McMurray. More than 500 families have joined its Edmonton communities, and it welcomed another 100 families to its Red Deer and Calgary communities.
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“Our Fort McMurray properties, which have 352 units, sustained no major damages in the fire, and were all professionally cleaned to remove smoke residue,” said David McIlveen, Director, Community Development, Boardwalk Rental Communities. “By midJune 2016, we were welcoming previous residents back, and renting to new residents in July.”
Mainstreet Equity Corp. Within 24 hours of the Fort McMurray evacuation, Mainstreet offered free rent and many other incentives for apartments in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon. Its employees set up a task force and worked overtime to ready the units to receive the evacuees quickly. The company offered 200 units to the hundreds of families fleeing the fires, and in some circumstances offered a $500 Ikea gift card.
“We have developed a close relationship with Red Cross and other corporate partners after offering assistance to the victims of the Slave Lake fires, the forest fires in Fort McMurray, and the Syrian refugees coming to Canada,” said Bob Dhillon, Founder and CEO, Mainstreet Equity Corp. “We stood together with other Albertans and tried to soften the blow for the citizens of Fort McMurray who had to leave everything behind as they fled the massive raging forest fires. Our task force was swift and evacuees were welcomed to Mainstreet apartment units quickly. We will continue to help those in need when we can.”
When it was launched, Yardi shared the initiative through email campaigns and social media sites, and requested clients to list available units. Renters began inquiring about apartments on May 16. By that afternoon, more than 2,500 units were listed for rent and prospective renters submitted hundreds of inquiries. That same day, a call centre powered by RENTCafé Connect opened, where potential renters were able to get assistance on applying for housing. Yardi provided the services free of charge for the next nine months.
Kelson Group Property Management Kelson Group accommodated approximately 20 families within the properties it manages in the Edmonton area. It was able to assist families in need of accommodation, who had few options for a place to live during this time. The company also helped by providing and moving temporary furniture where required. After the fire was extinguished, most families returned to Fort McMurray.
“The team put in long hours to make ready apartments for occupancy that would have otherwise not been ready,” said Roxanne Johnson, Property Manager, Kelson Property Management Group. “We stayed up to date and informed so that we could point our short-term residents in the right direction for help that they may have needed. Staff also communicated with the current residents when they saw that we were relaxing some of our pet policies to accommodate the victims who had pets.” Yardi On May 9, 2016, Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) approached Yardi Systems Inc. to create an online housing registry where Fort McMurray residents could search for and rent apartments. On May 12, the Province of Alberta approved moving the project forward. Three days later, thanks to the global efforts of a team of executives, managers, programmers, designers and marketers, Yardi used its RENTCafé platform to develop the registry.
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“It was great to see that our RENTCafé product could be put to immediate use to help those displaced find housing.” said Peter Altobelli, Vice-President and General Manager, Yardi Canada Ltd. “At a time of crisis, our global teams worked around the clock using our technology to help those in need. The project had an immediate and positive effect on people’s lives.”
How to help Although a year has passed, many people have not recovered from losing their homes to the wildfire. Fortunately, many landlords and businesses (beyond those listed in this article) involved in the rental housing industry continue to support those most affected by this tragedy. We at RHB Magazine are proud of how our industry has come together to help those most affected in Fort McMurray. To learn how you can contribute to the continued relief efforts, 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). You can also donate to the Canadian Red Cross (www.redcross.ca, 1-800-418-1111).
#reflections, with its biopic format, provides us with an inside look into the lives and professional milestones of Canadaâ€™s leading real estate executives. Our current episode features Kris Boyce of Greenwin Inc.
To watch the episode now visit www.perpetualmediagroup.ca/reflections
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CFAA celebrates excellence in the rental housing industry On Wednesday, June 7, CFAA will recognize the winners of its second annual Rental Housing Awards Program at the CFAA Awards Dinner. The winners will include leading landlords, rental housing suppliers and apartment associations from across Canada.
Please join CFAA in congratulating this year’s CFAA Rental Housing Awards finalists: Maintenance Person of the Year • Cedric Abreu of Sterling Karamar Property Management Inc., • Jason MacLean of Vertica Resident Services, and • John Paul Lavellee of Globe Property Management New Product or Service of the Year • Gryd.com Platform by Gryd, • RentSync 2.0 with LIFT Insights by Landlord Web Solutions, and • SuiteHeat by SensorSuite Inc. Off-Site Employee of the Year • Beatrice Clivet of Skyline Living, • Lin Purvis of Hollyburn Properties Limited, and • Rhodora Dorado of CAPREIT Property Manager of the Year • Cathie Wilson of M&R Holdings, • Dragana Lazic of CAPREIT, and • Michele Carr of Vertica Resident Services Renovation of the Year • Parklea Apartments - 151 Keith Road East, North Vancouver by Starlight Investments; • Seaview Towers - 450 Dallas Road, Victoria by Starlight Investments; and • The Skyline - 1305 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver by Hollyburn Properties Limited Rental Development of the Year • Alto - 1544 Dundas Street West, Toronto by Sun Life Financial; • Bridgewater - 175 West 14th Street, North Vancouver by Hollyburn Properties Limited; and • St. Joseph's Square - 5450 Kaye Street, Halifax by Paramount Management & Dexel Resident Manager of the Year • Anthony Kushniruk of Towers Realty Group, • Betty & Robert Giaschi of Realstar Management, and • Mavis Waruk of Skyline Living CFAA thanks the many applicants, and judges, who make the CFAA Rental Housing Awards Program possible. For more information about CFAA or its Awards Program, please contact: Jeremy Newman at 613-235-0101
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Development Finalist Bridgewater in North Vancouver by Hollyburn Properties Limited
Development Finalist St. Josephâ€™s Square in Halifax by Paramount Management and Dexel
Development Finalist Alto in Toronto by Sun Life Financial rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 37
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A busy few months It has been a busy few months, both with HDAA events and in the political arena. We would like to update you on what HDAA has done over the past few months to helping landlords in our area with education, lobbying, charity and social events. In March, the federal government announced that it was going to increase spending on housing in the budget. HDAA sent an “open letter to the Ontario Legislature” to all the MPPs, including the Minister of Finance, Minister of Housing and the Premier. The letter was based on the report that there were to be changes to the RTA, including actions in the budget to tackle the affordability of housing. We also had our annual Trade Show and VIP Reception. In April, the Ontario Government announced the Fair Housing Plan, which HDAA responded to with a media blast called “The Fair Housing Plan – Are you surprised?” It focused on the post-1991 rent control exemption. We also had the Spring Hope Food Drive and the Night at the Races social event. In May, we presented our objections to the changes in the RTA to the Standing Committee on General Government at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. We also had our first “Team HDAA” charity event to raise money for the Kids Help Line. In addition, May was busy with another dinner meeting and morning education seminar. We are looking forward now to the June golf tournament and the next morning education seminar on the Human Rights Code. I hope you all have a wonderful summer; we have many more events planned starting back up in September. — Arun Pathak
Open letter to the Ontario Legislature The Hamilton and District Apartment Association would like to express some concerns on a few items recently in the news. We, as a landlord association, feel we have a unique perspective to share that is relevant to the rental housing industry. We have outlined a few key points on ways to ensure the industry will thrive and fulfil tomorrow’s rental housing needs. The recent announcement that the federal government is looking to increase its spending on housing is fantastic news and we hope they appreciate how portable housing subsidies are cost effective and produce speedy results. If there are going to be changes in the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), we feel they should not be included in the Budget. We feel the only thing relevant to rental housing that could be in the Budget is a reduction in the multi-residential tax rate. Anything else related to rentals should be in separate legislation after consultations with groups like ours. We understand that the post-1991 exemption is under scrutiny. It is not a loophole as so many headlines claim. It is a policy that works and is creating new rental housing. Consultation with the industry should be held if this policy truly is on the table for change. Without proper industry consultation, the government runs the risk of creating long-term damage to the industry and serious contemplation should be considered before removing this policy.
The rent control guideline (which is currently set by the government at 1.5%) is insufficient to keep up with the rising costs of operating apartment buildings. The goal would be to have the market set the rent to ensure the industry can afford to make the necessary repairs and maintenance on older buildings. If the guideline is high enough, the market will set the rental level and encourage new building construction. The largest problem landlords face is the inequality in the RTA and at the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB). If the system was fair to landlords, more homeowners would be encouraged to rent out their basements or accessory apartments and more new construction would take place. This would undoubtedly increase the availability of affordable housing. Action is needed to reduce LTB waiting times and to prevent tenants from abusing the system that is geared to help tenants and not landlords. As you may know, licencing is a real threat to affordable housing. The combination of the added costs and loss of units that will occur if this comes into effect in Hamilton will be overwhelming. The building requirements in Hamilton are above and beyond the Ontario Building Code, making it difficult to create more units. The City of Hamilton is not taking to heart the spirit of allowing secondary suites as outlined in the Strong Communities Through Affordable Housing Act 2011.
— Hamilton and District Apartment Association
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March HDAA Trade Show & VIP reception on March 30 – This annual event brought in the crowds once again. The HDAA suppliers showcased their products and enjoyed some one on one time with local landlords and owners.
short-term impact of unexpected rent increases, then the knee jerk reaction would be to bring in rent control. If you instead take a long-term view of the industry (the way many companies view their investments), then you will see that rents in new buildings today are not enough to cover costs and the risks involved in development projects. The expenditures outweigh the income for many years during and after construction. The implementation of the exemption was an important driver for the development of new, badly needed, purpose-built rental housing. Hamilton was expecting to see several new buildings over the next few years, but that is now at risk. We feel the recent announcement will stop the construction of thousands of units over the next few decades. Today's new housing may be expensive but it will be the affordable housing 30 to 50 years down the road. We will be voicing our concerns on many more items in the Fair Housing Plan that affects landlords. Items like the proposed changes to the above-guideline increases and the development of a standard lease agreement will be addressed.
Spring Hope Food Drive on April 19 – We had an extremely successful food drive this year – double the number of buildings participated and collection of over 13,000 lb of food in the Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville areas!
The Fair Housing Plan – Are you surprised? The Ontario Government has announced their Fair Housing Plan. Parts of this announcement leave landlords surprised and unable to comprehend how it will change the rental housing industry for the better. There are many issues in the Fair Housing Plan for landlords to be concerned about. We plan on covering them all at a later date; for now, the most important is the 1991 rent control exemption. The government has expanded rent control to ALL private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991 effective April 20, 2017. This ensures increases in rents will only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. Under these changes, landlords would still be able to apply vacancy decontrol and seek above-guideline increases where permitted. The post-1991 rent control exemption that the government has removed was working. Removing rent control on all new buildings spurred more rental developments; new construction in Ontario is the result. Economists agree that rent control is not beneficial to tenants in the long run. If you are looking only at the
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Night at the Races on April 27 – It was another wonderful, relaxed Night at the Races. This annual event is fun and an excellent way for suppliers to have a casual night with local landlords. We all got a photo with the winning horse and most of us left with money still in our pockets.
May Walk so Kids can Talk on May 7 – Team HDAA attended their first Charity Event, and raised $550 to go to the Kids Help Line. We plan on making this an ongoing event as a way to help give back to the local community. Bill 124 on May 9 – Our president, Arun Pathak, presented to the standing committee on general government. He focused on how the RTA changes will negatively impact the housing supply. Dinner Meeting on May 10 – The speakers from DJB Chartered Professional Accountants spoke about landlord corporate structuring, succession, estate and tax planning. Their presentation was both informative and entertaining. Arun Pathak also presented about Association in Action, promoting the importance of having an association and how much they do for landlords. Morning Education Seminar: Landlords & Bedbugs on May 16 – The City of Hamilton did a fantastic job in providing practical information and useful tools to help landlords with their bedbug problem.
June June 13 – Golf Tournament – We are almost sold out again this year. It should be another excellent event, with a new “Best Hole Sponsor” Prize awarded on top of the annual “wine cellar” prize. June 28 – Morning Education Seminar: Human Rights Code – Book your spot today; this is a must for all landlords to attend. If you don’t know the code, how will you be able to know you are breaking it?
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Ontario’s Rental Fairness Act: The good, the bad and the ugly Early in 2017, the Wynne government was very unpopular. In a poll by Forum Research in late March, the Liberals had 19% support, compared with 43% for the PCs, 28% for the NDP and 8% for the Green Party. An election returning those popular vote totals would likely have resulted in 86 seats for the PCs, 29 for the NDP and 7 for the Liberals. The issues dragging down the Liberals were discontent over hydro rates, out-of-reach Toronto housing prices, and being seen as out of touch with people’s everyday concerns. At the same time, a young Toronto CBC reporter received a 30 or 40% rent increase notice in her rental condo built after 1991. With her colleagues she played up such large, but isolated, rent increases in an unrelenting, weekslong media campaign for the repeal of the post-91 exemption. From a public relations perspective, the last straw was when a receiver for a bankrupt condo developer issued notices of rent increase at 100% to drive out tenants to be able to sell the units they occupied at the best price by being able to give immediate vacant possession. To seek to restore their popularity, the Liberals addressed hydro rates and housing, and brought in a pharmacare plan in the Budget. In their Ontario Fair Housing Plan, they answered popular demands, but dealt a blow to rental housing development. In the Fair Housing Plan, the main measures are a tax on non-resident foreign buyers, empowering Toronto to impose a tax on vacant homes (and rental units in buildings of six units or less), and the following measures affecting rental units, which have been enacted in the Rental Fairness Act (RFA): • Extending rent control to buildings built after 1991 • Removing landlords’ ability to pass through utility cost increases by above guideline rent increases (AGIs) • Changing the AGI rules, including special rules about work orders relating to elevators
• Limiting the situations in which a landlord can obtain possession for personal use, and requiring compensation for a tenant • Imposing the use of a standard lease Rent control Rent control has been extended to buildings built after 1991. However, rent control is still based on the tenant, rather than the unit. (In other words, vacancy de-control/ re-control has not been changed.) That is the major good news in the RFA. The removal of vacancy de-control would have been a move back to the bad old days of disinvestment in rental housing, along with departing institutional owners, and the deterioration of rental housing. The NDP moved an amendment that would have removed vacancy decontrol, but the Liberals voted with the PCs to reject that proposed extension of the rules limiting rent increases. In its statements, the government has dismissed concerns about the impact of the removal of the post1991 exemption on new rental supply, but at the same time the Fair Housing Plan has brought in two new measures to encourage new supply. Across Ontario, the property tax rate on all new multi-residential buildings is to be similar to the rate on single-family homes (a tax ratio of between 1.0 and 1.1). That will be a major help to new development in Mississauga, Oakville, Halton, London and other cities where the tax ratio is now much higher, but not in Toronto, Ottawa or Waterloo, where the tax ratio for new rental buildings was already 1.0. The province is also going to provide rebates of a portion of the development cost charges on new rental construction. However, that will be limited so as not to include “luxury developments,” whereas most development takes place at the high end because only high rents will pay the cost of development. (Development charges vary by municipality with Mississauga being the highest at $54,000 per twobedroom apartment.)
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The move-up effect Even though new unsubsidized development typically produces units with high rents, those new units make rents more affordable throughout the rental market. Tenants move from mid-rent units into the high-rent units, making those mid-rent units available. Then tenants from low-rent units move into the mid-rent units, making low-rent units available for other tenants who want them. On the other hand, if little new development takes place, the move-up effect does not operate, and rents tend to rise throughout the rental spectrum due to increased demand at any rent level.
AGIs changes The RFA removes landlords’ ability to pass through utility cost increases by above guideline rent increases (AGIs). This change was likely triggered by the government’s desire to make landlords absorb any heating cost increases due to its planned carbon taxes. Just as in the sub-metering fiasco of a few years ago, the politics of catering to the Toronto tenant vote has trumped sensible energy conservation policy, under which the ultimate users need to pay cost increases to motivate reduced consumption. The RFA allows the government to make regulations providing that what would normally be an eligible capital expenditure is not eligible. This is apparently aimed at complaints of tenant advocates that cosmetic upgrades are being included within capex work, which is otherwise eligible because it is necessary work.
As part of an application for an AGI, the RFA requires landlords to include a summary of any item in a work order, or in an inspection order made by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), or any specified repairs or replacements or other work ordered by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), if the order relates to one or more elevators in the residential complex. This requirement applies regardless of whether the compliance period of the order has expired. The LTB is required to dismiss or delay an AGI application if the landlord has not completed a work order relating to an elevator within the compliance period. Terminations for personal use Currently, a landlord is allowed to give a termination notice if the landlord requires possession of the rental unit for the purpose of residential occupation by the landlord, a member of the landlord’s family or other specified persons. The RFA provides that the landlord
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 50 | may/june 2017
• 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.
must require possession for the purpose of such residential occupation for at least one year, not for a shorter, temporary period of time, such as a school term or a season.
tenancy agreement will still be valid and enforceable (except to the extent that its terms are otherwise inconsistent with the Residential Tenancies Act, as is the case now.)
As well, to obtain possession for personal use, the landlord will have to compensate the tenant in an amount equal to one monthâ€™s rent, or offer the tenant another rental unit acceptable to the tenant. The RFA enables the LTB to order a refund of the compensation paid if the LTB does not order termination under the personal use section or under the repair, demolition or conversion section.
Second N5 notices An N5 is the notice of termination used for substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants or the landlord. A tenant has the right to remedy their behaviour and void the first notice, but not to remedy a second breach after the first notice has been voided. Currently, some landlords find that when they give a second N5 the tenant claims it was invalid because the first N5 was not voided. The RFA corrects that technical problem.
Only landlords who are individuals may use the personal use provision, not corporations. (However, under current case law there can be more than one landlord, and in some cases a human being may still be able to qualify even if the legal title to a unit is in the name of a corporation.) These new provisions will discourage people from investing in condos to rent, and from adding to the rental supply by creating accessory suites in their homes. However, for mid-size and large landlords the new requirements will not be detrimental, since most landlords do not want to move into their rental units. Standard lease to be required Under the RFA, the government can create a mandatory standard lease for particular classes of residential tenancies, such as care homes, mobile home parks or ordinary rental apartments. Tenancy agreements entered into before the in-force date would not be subject to the requirement for a standard form of lease. Similarly, if the standard form of lease is revised over time, landlords and tenants would not have to enter into a new standard form of lease each time the standard form changes.
Collecting rent or charges after a termination Under the RFA, a landlord is prohibited from collecting additional fees or penalties from former tenants, as well as from tenants or prospective tenants, as is now the case. In addition, several recent Small Claims Court decisions have held that a landlord is not allowed to collect rent from a former tenant for any period after the tenancy has been terminated. The RFA adopts that position. This change will allow tenants to break leases by not paying their rent or by holding a lease-breaking party to generate a notice of termination. Conclusion Some of the effects of the new legislation will depend on what regulations the government makes, and on how the LTB interprets the new sections. The extent of the disincentive to new construction, and to the supply of condos for rent and secondary suites, is also not clear. However, the direction of the effects is very clear, and exactly the opposite of what the province needs if new rental housing is to be provided to meet the growing demand from a growing population.
However, if the parties decide to enter into a new tenancy agreement (i.e., a new lease with new terms), the tenant would be able to demand the standard form lease. That right is to be enforced by giving a tenant the ability to withhold rent, or even to terminate the tenancy in some cases. Apart from that process, if the parties enter into a tenancy agreement, but fail to use the required standard form of lease, the
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WRAMA annual trade fair Part of WRAMAâ€™s purpose is to bring together residential rental property owners and managers with product and service providers who can assist them in operating their business. In addition to seeking out â€œSuite Dealâ€? discounts from suppliers for our members, WRAMA hosts an annual Trade Fair each April, which is open to WRAMA members and non-members as exhibitors or attendees. We invite over 500 area residential property managers, owners, and condo managers to the event featuring over 50 exhibitors. Free refreshments are provided on behalf of our event sponsors.
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The 2017 Trade Fair saw a lot of WRAMA members and guests attend and meeting vendors displaying their products and services that support the residential rental accommodation. Special thanks to Veronika Mitchell who spearheaded the organization of the event and her team who took care of details - Julie Popesku, Ginette Ethier, Lynn Nichol and Sandy Knapp. Photos Courtesy of WRAMA
Discover the benefits of being a member of our association: e 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. 54 | may/june 2017
WRAMA held its third general meeting of 2017 on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Landlords, property managers and industry professionals can stay informed about events and the latest in news impacting the rental industry by following WRAMA on Twitter @WRAMAprez.
WRAMA welcomed Mark Melchers from the Kitchener office of Cohen Highley Lawyers. Mark practices administrative law. His practice areas include condominium law, municipal, expropriations, regulatory offences, human rights, residential tenancies and commercial tenancies. With his frequent experience attending the Landlord Tenant Tribunal and handling cases in Divisional Court, Mark provided perspective on the proposed changes to rent control and answered many questions from concerned audience members. Mr. Melchers helped the property managers and landlords understand some of the nuances of the proposed Rental Fairness Act. Points and questions that enveloped the evening included the following sentiments. The Liberal government successfully imposed rent control on all residential rentals in Ontario, with the Rental Fairness Act coming into effect this June 2017. Responding to media reports of unethical landlord practice in Toronto, Kathleen Wynne has effectively sentenced tenants throughout the province to an experience in public bureaucracy that is cumbersome and exhausting. This includes a standard provincial lease agreement, free accommodation to tenants whose landlord would like to move back into the house or apartment, and restrictions on rent increases. Concerns surrounding a standard provincial lease agreement raise more questions than answers. For instance, if a government document is used to create a
binding relationship between a landlord and a tenant, will the government ultimately take responsibility for the legal agreement? Will it provide a more timely and effective LTB hearing experience? Will taxpayers now take responsibility for the shortcomings and unforeseen consequences of legislation like this? In addition to providing notice to tenants when a homeowner has rented out their residence and would like to move back in, the Rental Fairness Act obligates the tenant to receive one month of free rent in the premises (Notice of Termination by Landlord Under Section 48). The reasoning for this is unclear and creates a hardship for anyone who is hoping to move back into their property. The Rental Fairness Act opens a dialogue but does not address issues that tenants and landlords experience, particularly in smaller rental buildings. Mental health, addiction, domestic abuse and criminal behaviour are just a few of the issues that tenants and landlords are confronted with every day. When a tenant disrupts the living experience and impacts other tenants in a negative way, the result ultimately compels good, respectful, hardworking families to find housing elsewhere. The LTB experience is a long, tedious, time consuming and expensive process that does not satisfactorily address these issues. It is a shame that the new Act fails to acknowledge this. â€” by Andrew Macallum
The next WRAMA meeting will be held in September 2017 - please visit wrama.com for details.
Photo Courtesy Cohen Highley
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Change is in the air I am honoured to have stepped into the role of President of LPMA. During the last 20-plus years, I have been part of many changes in the industry — some encouraging and others adverse. From rent control changes to rental licensing fees, ours will continually be an ever-changing industry. I am thrilled to be part of this association and working with a tremendous board of directors to educate and advocate for landlords throughout the London area. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shirley Criger for her hard work, dedication and contribution during her two-year term as President. Look for Shirley at the next LPMA Golf Tournament on September 11 at FireRock Golf Club; Ronald McDonald House is the charity chosen for 2017. Don’t miss out! It took only a few days to sell out last year.
LPMA is a valuable resource for small landlords Small landlords often need help navigating the complexities of Ontario’s landlord-tenant legislation and to keep up with ever-changing regulations. Many turn to the London Property Management Association (LPMA). The organization has been offering reliable information and mentoring to landlords since 1967. LPMA administrator Brenda Davidson is usually the first contact. She regularly fields questions that range from non-payment of rent to barking dogs. And while many of LPMA’s 560 members are large landlords, Davidson says more than 70 per cent own and manage 10 or fewer rental units. Michelle De Vlugt and her husband joined LPMA when they bought their first income property in 2013. The couple has added two more rental units to their portfolio and say that the association has helped them operate their business professionally. De Vlugt calls Davidson one of LPMA’s greatest assets. “Brenda is that calm voice on the other end of the phone," says De Vlugt. With more than 25 years of experience in property management, Davidson says she is able to answer most questions. Davidson is also able to direct landlords to LPMA’s website where they can download a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act or access information on rent increase guidelines, for example.
— Lisa Smith
“If it is something that I feel requires a legal opinion, which we don’t provide, I instruct them to contact a lawyer or a paralegal,” says Davidson.
In addition, LPMA members can access documents including rental applications, leases, guarantee forms, and incoming and outgoing inspection forms. London lawyer Joe Hoffer says that documents produced by LPMA are used by large landlords and organizations such as the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario and the Greater Toronto Apartment Association, but are particularly valuable for small landlords. Having the proper paperwork is one of the most important ways landlords can protect themselves from unscrupulous tenants, he says. Learning about best practices around tenant screenings and rental applications is another. “Some small landlords are in a rush to rent a unit so they fail to do a basic credit check or don’t collect the proper information and follow up with references,” says Hoffer. “Then they may not act quickly enough when there are defaults in the tenancy agreement, mainly nonpayment of rent. Professional tenants thrive on that sort of thing and small landlords are particularly vulnerable.” Fortunately, LPMA offers seminars such as Property Management 101 to help small landlords keep a tenancy running smoothly.
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“Being a landlord is not just about renting,” Hoffer says. “There is a whole array of legislation that affects a landlord’s operations with respect to things like the Ontario Fire Code, building code, public health and human rights.” LPMA also holds monthly meetings from October to May where experts address these and other issues. De Vlugt attends regularly and says sessions on fire code safety have been particularly helpful. “We’ve had two hoarders,” says De Vlugt. “One had straw all over the unit for her animals, which is clearly a fire hazard. But before I went to the sessions given by the fire department, I had no idea what resources were available.” Members also benefit from a list of trades and service providers who are LPMA associate members and they can find other helpful information through links from the organization’s website. In addition, LPMA advocates on behalf of large and small landlords at the municipal and provincial level. “I really like that they keep us informed about any changes that might affect our business,” says De Vlugt. “LPMA is a great resource. They have always provided very helpful advice. It’s well worth the membership.”
Fire inspections make good sense for landlords A fire inspection in a rental property is necessary in specific situations. But even when it’s not a legal requirement, an inspection can help prevent prospective buyers from going into a transaction without all of the facts and making a purchase they later regret. Dianne Lebold, assistant chief fire prevention officer for the City of London, says it’s not uncommon for investors to discover that the building they’ve just purchased has deficiencies in fire safety that will cost them tens of thousands of dollars to correct.
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“If you’re going to buy a rental unit, as part of your deal, I would suggest that you always get a fire inspection done,” Lebold notes. “You’re going to find out if the building is fire safe. It’s buyer beware so you want to be as informed as possible.”
An inspection ensures that a building meets the current standards of the Ontario Fire Code, an important consideration since landlords are tasked with ensuring the safety of tenants.
“Under the Residential Tenancies Act, you have a responsibility as an owner to provide a safe place for your tenants so you’re making sure that’s happening, as well (with an inspection),” Lebold says.
Lenders, such as a bank or a trust company, often request a fire inspection as part of their financing agreement. Building owners can also request an inspection to determine if they’ve placed their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the correct locations. And if the fire department receives a complaint, properties are inspected within 24 hours. Under the Fire Code, duplexes require an electrical inspection at the same time as a fire inspection if they haven't previously been inspected. Property owners are required to retain their documentation from the Electrical Safety Authority. “It ensures there are no electrical issues in that duplex,” Lebold says. Under the city’s Residential Rental Unit Licence program, owners of rental properties with four or fewer units are required to have a fire inspection. Shane Haskell, real
london Property Management Association (LPMA) is a non-profit organization, located in London, Ontario, Canada, that provides information and education to landlords.
Membership is open to landlords and property management professionals who own or manage one or more residential rental units.
LPMA represents the interests of both large and small property owners. e association has more than 400 landlord members representing approximately 35,000 rental units.
Sign up online www.LPMA.ca, or call Brenda Davidson at 519-672-6999 for more information.
estate sales representative with ReMax Advantage Realty Ltd. Brokerage and president and CEO of Lionheart Property Management, says that buyers of rental properties need to apply for a licence, which can’t be transferred from the seller. However, a fire inspection is valid for two years after it has been conducted. “They still have to go through the process themselves of actually getting the licence, but they have the peace of mind of knowing that the fire inspection can be carried forward and if it’s been completed, they don’t need to go and get another one,” he says. If the two-year limit is about to end, Haskell suggests that buyers make a fire inspection part of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. That way, the offer would be conditional on the seller’s providing an acceptable inspection report. If problems are uncovered during the inspection, the seller will need to correct them and schedule a follow-up inspection before the deal closes.
“From the sales perspective, it’s important that realtors are protecting their clients so that clients aren’t surprised when they purchase a property that it doesn’t meet the codes,” Haskell says.
Lebold advises landlords to have an agreement, signed by the tenant moving into the property, that indicates the landlord has shown the tenant where the smoke and CO alarms are located and how to test them, and has explained the tenant is not allowed to disable them. Keeping a detailed log is also critical, Lebold says.
“Document when you put in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, when you’ve tested them, when you’ve put a battery in and when you’ve given tenants manufacturers’ instructions,” adds Lebold.
Lebold says not being able to provide documentation is a fire code violation. If an inspector enters a unit without a smoke alarm and the landlord says he or she provided the tenant with one, but doesn’t have proof, the fire department will charge the property owner.
“The more you can document, in case something happens, it’s going to cover you. Tenants can be charged for disabling a smoke alarm,” Lebold says.
Fire inspections can be scheduled two to four weeks after the request is made. The fee is $171 plus HST for a building up to 10,000 square feet. The fee for a follow-up inspection is $84.75. If repairs are required, the property owner is given 30 days to complete them for a general violation. An extension may be granted in extenuating circumstances. Lebold says common problems uncovered during inspections include doors wedged open in a hallway, lack of working smoke and CO alarms, and fire extinguishers that haven’t had an annual test. If a fire results, the fire department can charge the property owner under the Provincial Offences Act. The fines are up to $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a corporation. A year of incarceration could also apply to each. To arrange a fire inspection, property owners need to make their request in writing by email at email@example.com.
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Catch the final spin with RHB’s Newsreel, delivered weekly to your inbox.
We are officially in “Leasing Season” and as buildings begin to turn over suites, we take a closer look at some of the strategies that property managers can deploy to attract and retain quality tenants.
1. Target your audience, target your marketing If you don’t have a specific target market, you need to refine your focus. Understand the neighbourhoods where you work. Who’s moving in, and who’s moving out? What do they value about that neighbourhood?
2. Get social Keep a consistent posting rate of several posts per week to maintain an active online presence, and focus on visual content that allows you to share photos of properties and neighbourhoods.
3. Use word of mouth People will talk, and you can use this to your advantage. Ask your customers to write recommendations for your website, and give them incentives for sending friends your way.
4. Develop interest before you need to market While your focus may be on getting units rented today, you should be proactive and plan for tomorrow. Create email lists for different communities to gather a list of interested renters.
5. Connect with the community Participate in local school boards, activities and festivals. Move your brand into the public eye so you can become a trusted source of rental properties.
6. Market a community, not a property Different target audiences might value different amenities, but everyone values their community. When you’re marketing a property you’re not just marketing that building, you need to market the entire neighbourhood, because that’s what your renters will value.
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