Canada’s Voice for Apartment Owners, Managersand andAssociation AssociationExecutives Executives Canada’s Voice for Apartment Owners, Managers
Vol.5 No.1 Mar/Apr 2012 rentalhousingbusiness.ca
RENTAL HOUSING BUSINESS
RENTAL HOUSING BUSINESS
Vince Brescia & Skyline REIT Dedicated and Focused
Apartment Building Analysis Supplement
+ National Growth Outlook
Government Rules – What to Expect | CFAA Conference – Vancouver | Multi-Residential Technology Integration
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Formerly Profile Magazine
Vol. 5 No. 1 DIRECTOR
Juan Malvestitti firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc L. Côté email@example.com
David Gargaro firstname.lastname@example.org
John Dickie email@example.com
PHOTOGRAPHY Donna Santos
OFFICE MANAGER Kayla Clark
SUBSCRIPTIONS Canada: One year $27.00 Elsewhere: $39.00 Single copy sales: Canada $9.00 Elsewhere: $12.00 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 Modern Empire 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 696 Maple, ON, L6A 1S7 416.236.7473 www.modernempire.ca
n the last issue of 2011, we announced the magazine’s partnership with Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations (CFAA). For our first issue of 2012, we are announcing another significant event – a new name for the magazine. Profile magazine will now be called Rental Housing Business magazine, which properly reflects our partnership with CFAA and demonstrates our commitment to the rental housing industry. We will also be the exclusive media partner at leading industry events, such as the upcoming Landlord Webcon and the CFAA Annual Conference. In this issue, we have a fascinating profile of Vince Brescia, President and CEO of Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO). He has been involved in every aspect of the rental housing industry, including doing real estate analysis, working on public policy within the provincial government, lobbying on behalf of associations for changes to condo legislation and even promoting development in a union setting. We also have a profile of Skyline Apartment REIT, one of the larger owners and managers of multi-residential real estate in Canada. What is unique about this REIT is that it receives support from three separate companies that operate under the Skyline umbrella. Each company provides different functions that work together to promote and grow the REIT. There are several other topics of interest throughout this issue, from a national housing outlook from the CMHC to an apartment analysis report for 2012, with tips and insights from various industry suppliers. We also have industry news and information that relate directly to the rental housing industry. Check the enclosed flyer for information about the upcoming CFAA Rental Housing Conference, which takes place in June of this year. I hope that the start of 2012 has gone well for you, and that the rest of the year brings you much success and happiness.
David Gargaro All contents copyright © Modern Empire Inc. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 41608530
FAA is delighted to announce that Rental Housing Business magazine is now the official voice of CFAA. We look forward to presenting the content rental housing owners and managers want and need, including profiles of industry leaders, economic and other forecasts, innovations in products and services, reports on new programs by landlords and by governments, event listings, and news to keep readers informed, energized and productive. CFAA is the voice of rental housing owners and managers at the national level. Much of our work is communicating with the federal government about issues that affect rental housing. Key issues include income tax rules, housing programs, energy incentives and regulations, and CMHC underwriting practices. To learn what improvements landlords need from the federal government’s many arms, the CFAA Board and staff listen to rental housing providers across Canada, through our board, the boards of member associations and task forces on specific issues, as well as from landlords directly.
One way we share information is through the annual CFAA Rental Housing Conference, which is taking place in Vancouver this year, from June 13 to 15. For details about the conference, see page 22 & 25 and the enclosed conference flyer. As well as CFAA’s official voice, Rental Housing Business magazine is a showcase for leaders among rental housing providers and association executives. This issue features Vince Brescia, the President and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO), one of CFAA’s leading member associations. CFAA hopes you will enjoy the Brescia profile, and the other articles in this issue.
John Dickie John Dickie, CFAA President
The current income tax rules make rental development uneconomic in most markets. Rent controls are a big concern where they apply. Municipal regulations and charges are becoming more and more onerous. Besides advocacy work at the federal level, CFAA offers support to provincial and regional associations to help them deal with their issues, since, left unchecked, bad government policies often spread from one place to another.
CFAA Member Associations British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA) www.bcaoma.com P: 604.733.9440, 1-877-700-9440
Kingston Rental Property Owners Association (KRPOA) www.kingstonrentals.com P: 613-572-7276
Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC (ROMS BC) www.romsbc.com P: 250-382-6324, 1-888-330-6707
Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization (EOLO) www.eolo.ca P: 613-235-9792
London Property Management Association (LPMA) www.lpma.ca P: 519-672-6999
Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association (SRHIA) www.srhia.ca P: 306-653-7149
Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) www.frpo.org P: 416-385-1100, 1-877-688-1960
Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of British Columbia (MHPOA) www.mhpo.com P: 1-877-222-4560
Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association (WRAMA) www.wrama.com P: 519-748-0703
Greater Toronto Apartment Association (GTAA) www.gtaaonline.com P: 416-385-3435
Multiple Dwelling Standards Association (of Toronto) (MDSA) P: 416-362-6372
Hamilton & District Apartment Association (HDAA) www.hamiltonapartmentassociation.ca P: 289-440-3185 Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia (IPOANS) www.ipoans.ns.ca P: 902-425-3572
4 mar/apr 2012
New Brunswick Apartment Owners Association (NBAOA) www.nbaoa.myidealhome.com P: 506-640-1460 Professional Property Managers’ Association (of Manitoba) (PPMA) www.ppmamanitoba.com P: 204-957-1224
The Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations represents the owners and managers of close to one million residential rental suites in Canada, through 15 organizations across Canada. CFAA is the sole national organization representing the interests of Canada’s $40 billion rental housing industry. For more information about CFAA itself, see www.cfaa-fcapi.org or telephone 613-235-0101
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Skyline team (page 8) with Vince Brescia, O’Shanter Development Company – pg 12 second from the left (page 28)
SKYLINE APARTMENT REIT Attracting key investors, purchasing and maintaining the right buildings, Skyline’s well thought out plan of organically growing a REIT continues to evolve and improve.
Overall, the forecast for multi-residential product across Canada this year remains positive. The ongoing erosion of the traditional manufacturing sector is resulting in a further transition into more of a resource-based economy. We can expect a change in the dynamics of each individual region as Canada’s economy restructures.
VINCE BRESCIA As President and CEO of FRPO, Vince Brescia has dedicated most of his professional career to promoting a healthy rental housing industry.
2012 Apartment Building Analysis Special Supplement Focused on benefits of major CAPEX projects, recommended annual maintenance plans, tips and insider reports on how to extend the life expectancy of your building, architectural and mechanical retrofits as well as the many new products and services that help owners overcome operational challenges and maximize building efficiencies.
CFAA Rental Housing Conference
2012 National Multi-Unit Outlook
2012 Multi-Residential Real Estate Technology Trends
APARTMENT BUILDING ANALYSIS
CERTIFIED BUILDING SYSTEMS
According to CMHC, vacancy rates across most of Canada’s major cities will remain relatively stable through 2012, and rent increases will be modest. Strong rental demand will be offset by modest rental construction and increased rental supply from the condo market.
PAINTING & DECORATING
38 UTILITY MONITORING
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT Rental Housing Business 1
This year, the CFAA Rental Housing Conference will return to downtown Vancouver and will offer 16 educational sessions relating to Investment and Facilities Management.
2012 continues to offer dynamic technologies that will help reduce costs, boost retention, improve efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction for Canadian multi-family property management companies.
2012 Canadian Forecast for the Multi-Residential Market
4/9/12 1:10:27 AM
What Can Canada’s Landlords Expect Landlords in various provinces face immediate issues in 2012.
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS Dear friends; I invite you to celebrate with us our 40th anniversary of business in Canada. On April 1,1972, Leslie and Sandra Woods emigrated from Clydebank Scotland to Port Credit, Canada with their sons Leslie Jr. and Paul Alexander. In November of 1972 a small and determined Family business was formed and after 40 years CERTIFIED is proud to be working with so many great and diverse building owners and managers. Known as indoor specialists, the company provides a range of complementary services under the CERTIFIED umbrella, including assessing and improving air quality for the multi-residential industry, Ventilation Rehabilitation for the lungs of the buildings, antimicrobial treatments for high-touch surfaces and Mould and Asbestos Abatement. The latest addition to the family; a full service Mechanical and Energy management division. As a proactive solution based company, CERTIFIED is more than air quality. Our partnership with Bombardier, assisting the city of Mexico during the H1N1 outbreak, having treated outgoing airplanes with GERMGUARD to ensure the health and safety of the passengers heading to Canada. Our contract with TTC, the first transit commission in the world to treat all High Touch surfaces. Proactive and cutting edge solutions are what our clients have come to know and respect us for, now and in the future. CERTIFIED has come a long way over the last 40 years, although it remains a family owned and operated company with my son’s Les Jr, Paul and daughter Amanda actively moving us forward we maintain our roots in Port Credit. We’re proud of our more than 150 employees across Canada, serving our clients from Victoria to Halifax. To help us celebrate this milestone we invite you to contact us for the many promotional specials we have throughout all the CERTIFIED companies. Thank you all for being a part of my family’s life and we look forward to the next 40 years. Sincerely, Leslie Woods Sr.
telephone: 905.602.1555 • firstname.lastname@example.org
hat factors contribute to the financial success of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)? You have
to find, purchase and enhance
properties that match specific investment needs. You need experienced property managers to maintain the properties that will attract high quality renters and maximize every buildingâ€™s value. You also have to establish solid financing, attract the right investors, and know how and when to grow the investment.
[ Skyline ]
Putting these resources in the hands of experienced personnel will contribute to a REIT’s growth and success. Combining them under the same corporate umbrella – where they can support their respective endeavours and the company’s goals – will provide opportunities to differentiate the REIT from other investment options. Skyline Apartment REIT is one of the largest owners and managers of multi-residential real estate in Canada. Its portfolio consists of more than 100 properties, with over 7500 apartment units and over 825,000 square feet of commercial space. The REIT is the sole focus of Skyline Incorporated, which provides a full complement of services through three separate businesses that employ a synergistic value-add approach to support the REIT’s growth. “Our business model is scalable, adaptable and full-service,” said Jason Castellan, Skyline Co-founder and CEO. “Keeping our functions in-house ensures that our interests are aligned and that our companies’ common vision and goals are met.” Skyline Apartment REIT was created in 2006 as a more efficient investment vehicle than its previous syndication-based approach to real estate investing. Wayne Byrd, Skyline’s Chief Financial Officer, helped lead the transition for establishing the REIT. He served as liaison
Skyline Asset Management Inc. (SAMI) Mike Bonneveld, Director of Acquisitions with Skyline Asset Management Inc. (SAMI), is responsible for purchasing properties for the REIT. He works with a team to conduct due diligence prior to purchase, arrange financing for purchases and existing assets, engage in asset management, negotiate contracts and create capital upgrade plans for properties. Mike eventually hands purchased buildings to Skyline Management Inc. (SMI), which manages the properties and their day-to-day operations for the REIT. “Mike has more than 15 years of experience working in the capital markets, with public companies and in the real estate brokerage industry,” said Jason. “He has developed great relationships with lenders and brokers, so he’s able to finance new properties very efficiently. He has a knack for finding great deals, and he has the underwriting formula down to a science.” The acquisition process begins with determining what properties to purchase that will complement the REIT portfolio. Buildings must be concrete construction and meet minimum size requirements. SAMI looks at properties in markets that fit with the REIT’s portfolio and that make use of current resources, as well as in new markets where they can establish a foothold. The company often searches for properties outside major cities, as secondary markets tend to offer more value.
Our business model is scalable, adaptable and full-service. Keeping our functions in-house ensures that our interests are aligned and our companies’ common vision and goals are met. between the organization and the lawyers, auditors and accountants involved in creating the REIT. He also communicated with shareholders to ensure that they understood the value of their investment within the new REIT structure. The REIT’s launch eventually led to the separation of the property management, asset management and wealth management functions into independent business units: Skyline Management Inc. (SMI), Skyline Asset Management Inc. (SAMI) and Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (SWMI). Creating independent entities provided lenders, creditors and shareholders with a better understanding of each business unit’s role with respect to growing and servicing the REIT. “The results have been very positive, as we have clearly defined the operations of each company,” said Wayne. “Had we not separated the divisions, it would have made it more difficult to value the companies accurately. With respect to business valuation, in our case, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”
10 mar/apr 2012
SAMI has built a strong referral network of real estate agents, suppliers, friends and others who regularly bring purchasing opportunities to the table. Visiting buildings and driving around prospective neighbourhoods are also great ways to identify opportunities, although not every building fits the Skyline criteria. “We will buy a wide range of buildings that meet our requirements, but in the end it has to fit,” said Mike. “Properties that were run by good landlords may only require new signage and landscaping, while other buildings may provide opportunities for greater returns through upgrades in energy efficiency. We will also purchase and extensively renovate properties to make them more suitable for a pre-determined market or demographic, which creates more value for the REIT and our investors.” “Another example of a value-add initiative is our rooftop solar installations,” added Roy Jason Ashdown, Skyline Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We will be installing up to 80 rooftop solar
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[ Skyline ]
“ We believe in maintaining tenant satisfaction and treating each property like a community.”
systems by the end of 2012. These systems will generate hydro that is sold back to the grid, ultimately providing an expected 15% annual return on investment.” Obtaining financing is vital for making new acquisitions. SAMI works with lenders to either assume an existing mortgage or to place new debt-financing on an existing property. Skyline works with lenders to refinance the portfolio’s existing properties that come due each year to take advantage of existing interest rates. SAMI also works closely with Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (SWMI) to raise the appropriate level of financing required for new purchases. Due diligence is a key element in the purchasing process. SAMI examines the building’s costs, such as repair and maintenance expenses, historical financials, taxes and insurance, as well as its past and projected revenues. The in-house construction team and outside contractors perform physical inspections to review short-
12 mar/apr 2012
and long-term capital cost requirements. It performs environmental reviews to ensure that it does not inherit someone else’s problems. SAMI’s in-house legal group also reviews the building’s contracts and title. Skyline Management Inc. (SMI) Matthew Organ, Director of Operations with Skyline Management Inc. (SMI), is responsible for managing the properties on behalf of the REIT (as well as third-party properties). The company offers comprehensive property management services, including tenant recruitment, maintenance, service contract negotiation and implementation, marketing, rent collection, financial reporting, accounting services and insurance placement. Matthew’s team is instrumental in the smooth transition following the acquisition of a new property. Most importantly, the SMI team cares for more than 20,000 people who live and work in Skyline buildings.
Proudly associated with Skyline Apartment REIT.
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Rental Housing Business 13
[ Skyline ]
“Matthew has made SMI successful by consistently focusing on customer service,” said Martin Castellan, Skyline Co-founder and Chief Development Officer. “He knows what it takes to keep our tenants happy, and he is extremely adept at controlling costs to maintain the profitability required to run the business.” SMI works closely with SAMI during acquisitions to ensure that the most appropriate properties are purchased for the REIT. As a property management company, it provides a different perspective on a property’s potential value and its true “fit” within the portfolio. Once SMI takes control of a building, Matthew ensures that it is fully integrated within the portfolio and adopts the Skyline philosophies, policies and procedures. SMI and SAMI work together to implement initiatives outlined in the Portfolio Efficiency Plan (PEP), which is integral to Skyline’s mandate to be energy efficient and drive asset values. The goal is to improve each building’s efficiency and have a positive impact on the bottom line through cost-saving initiatives. This includes allocating funds for capital projects, in-suite renovations and upgrades, and then measuring the effect on revenues and expenses. Through regular portfolio analysis, they also identify areas with above-average costs, and develop strategic plans to rectify ongoing issues. A complete retrofit of a building can cut utility consumption in half and surface millions of dollars in value for the REIT. SMI works to improve its buildings’ tenant mix through advertising and open houses. They offer a tenant referral program that rewards tenants who bring in new renters through word-of-mouth promotion. The company encourages residents to tell friends and family about upcoming availability to help choose their neighbours. SMI also educates tenants on what is involved in living in their buildings. “We believe in maintaining tenant satisfaction and treating each property like a community,” said Matthew. “Each building has several tenant events per year, which contributes to creating a more community-like atmosphere. This means longer-term tenants, less turnover and more tenant referrals, which increases the value of our buildings.” Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (SWMI) Marissa Morettin-Teeter, Director of Investor Relations with Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (SWMI), is responsible for investor relations and compliance, as well as marketing and communications for the REIT and Skyline. She promotes one product (the Skyline Apartment REIT) and functions as the intermediary between the REIT and its investors. Marissa and her team educate potential investors about the REIT’s specific characteristics and benefits, and tailor the investment experience to each individual’s knowledge level and needs. “Marissa is proactive in communicating our message to investors, and gives them a better understanding of what they are investing in,” said Jason. “She uses her marketing expertise to deliver our brand in a
14 mar/apr 2012
professional yet relatable manner, which has enabled the REIT to grow at a much quicker rate than was previously possible.” There is constant communication between SMI, SWMI and SAMI, and a common alignment of goals. Being close to the other business units (and managers) means that everyone is closely connected to the REIT and its needs. When SAMI requires equity to buy buildings, Mike can contact Marissa to arrange the necessary investor funds to complete the purchase. This results in a more efficient use of investor equity, lower financing costs and ultimately greater profits for the investors. Investor relations involves providing a unique experience that is based on educating, engaging and informing investors. The learning process is customized to each investor’s level of knowledge, investment style and personal goals. SWMI’s purpose is to create a community of investors rather than a place to simply conduct transactions. This involves holding special investor events, such as holiday cocktail parties, annual general meetings and regular charity events, where investors can meet the Skyline team and interact with each other. “When investors are connected, engaged and informed, they become more comfortable with the investment,” said Marissa. “This has contributed to the organic growth of our investor base, as a significant portion of our equity is the direct result of warm referrals from happy and well-informed investors.” SWMI exists as a separate entity from the REIT and is solely responsible for compliance-related matters. As the principal dealer of Skyline Apartment REIT units, SWMI has full knowledge of the product, thus eliminating the need for a middle man and providing the investor with information direct from the source. “Although we are a private entity, we are registered and fully compliant with securities regulations and offer full transparency to investors through regular communication of financials and performance-related reports,” said Marissa. “We have a perfect track record of distributing a 9% annual distribution to investors and offer peace of mind through our open-door policy and consistent communication.” However, the REIT is not open to everyone. Classified as an Exempt Market Product (EMP), it is only available to qualified investors who meet specific exemptions as set out by law. Eligible investors must make a certain minimum investment, or meet specific net financial asset or net requirements, to qualify. Qualified does not necessarily mean suitable, and it is SWMI’s responsibility to determine if the investment is properly aligned with the investor’s investment goals, expectations and risk tolerance. “Our philosophy is investor-centric,” said Marissa. “The investor experience is not outlined on a piece of paper, and there are no standardized sales scripts (outside of the compliance requirements checklist). We invest time and energy to ensure that we get to know the investor and provide them with the tools they need to make a sound investment decision.”
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Rental Housing Business 15
[ Skyline ]
“ It is through organic growth that we came this far and we will continue to evolve and grow if and when the time is right.”
Future Plans Skyline plans to continue on its path of purchasing, managing and adding properties to the REIT’s portfolio. With a considerable supply of residential and commercial real estate available in Ontario and across Canada, the company will maintain a narrow focus on the properties that fit its mandate and expertise. “We have the ability to grow quickly and efficiently because of the scalability of our management model but we do not have specific growth targets in mind,” said Jason. “It is through organic growth that we came this far and we will continue to evolve and grow if and when the time is right.” Although the Skyline Apartment REIT has been successful, the company is not resting on its laurels. Skyline is in the early stages of focusing the company even further by launching a second REIT. This will enable it to streamline its properties into either the Skyline Apartment REIT or the new Skyline Commercial REIT.
16 mar/apr 2012
Besides providing greater focus and more investment opportunities, the second REIT will enable Skyline to address several key issues. It will help to improve their borrowing options, as the current mixed REIT causes confusion for some financing sources. It will also allow potential and existing investors to choose the REIT that best suits their personal investment portfolio needs, providing an additional level of product diversification. “Each REIT will have different characteristics, and will provide more choice for our investors,” said Jason. “We plan to develop each one very carefully. Six years after launching our first REIT, we have a much better understanding of what goes into an effective launch and we will certainly be able to shorten the learning curve and benefit from our previous experiences.” RHB
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Rental Housing Business 17
The 2012 Canadian Forecast for the Multi-Residential Market By Tony Manganiello Cushman & Wakefield National Apartment Group
After a relatively quiet few years, 2012 will probably be remembered as the turning point in the multi-residential real estate sector nationally. The apartment transaction market remains a tale of two cities, with institutional players competing heavily on core assets, and smaller private local groups dominating in secondary and tertiary markets. These two categories of successful buyers share one critical trait—the ability to access capital when it’s needed. Strength of capital is a big reason why we’re seeing cap rate compression for core assets in major cities. Strength of capital has certainly limited the playing field to the biggest of the big because purchasing a 4.5 percent cap deal isn’t for everybody. Opportunistic buyers on the other hand see a lot of opportunity in taking on hairier deals that would scare away the more conservative minded. Recent price premiums have resulted in grumblings by a portion of the investment community who believe that the market is dangerously overshooting, some have even commented that we are in the midst of an asset bubble. In 2008 there were also many investors worried about an imminent price collapse, however a crash did not materialize because unlike 1989-1990 the government’s response was immediate and focused on ensuring adequate liquidity in the mortgage market. In terms of 2012 economic prospects, another recession would be a worst case scenario, but continued sluggish GDP growth for 2012 is more likely. The recent announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at historical lows until 2014 coupled with the turmoil in the European Union should help keep pressure on longer term bond maturities and ensure continued low borrowing rates. As of early February 2012, CMHC 5 year mortgage rate on a qualifying multi-residential property can be had for as little as 2.5%, and 10 year term for 3.3% or less. GTA and Ontario The Greater Toronto Area is still the economic engine of Canada and will continue to dominate the business landscape. 2011 saw aggressive transactions take place that spurred a mini sales boom for owners who for the first time considered selling as prices finally met expectations. 2012 appears to be continuing where 2011 left off; recent transactions have continued to push the price threshold to new highs. Demand for what few properties trade in the best areas of Toronto result in fierce bidding wars and prices that some would consider absurd. Rental housing demand in the GTA remains strong, CMHC has noted in their most recent rental housing report that vacancies have continued to drop, part of a ongoing trend that started shortly after 2008. While the
18 mar/apr 2012
Ontario economy has shown unremarkable employment growth in the past three years, housing has become less affordable as demand remains steady. The erosion of housing affordability is pushing more would be first time buyers into the rental market, putting further pressure on vacancy rates particularly in high demand downtown Toronto and suburban 905 markets. Although Toronto’s overall share of new immigrants is shrinking as more choose to locate in the growing regions of western Canada, there are still significant numbers of new Canadians settling in Toronto which will also continue to put pressure on rental housing with little new supply in the works. Apartment investors in Ontario should expect continued strong demand for well located product resulting in upward pressure on rents as competition for more desirable rental product intensifies. Western Canada Vancouver – Canada’s Pacific gateway saw a booming year for sales of apartment product in the lower mainland last year as the number of transactions reached a high not seen since 2007. Vancouver has been one of the most desirable places in Canada to own and manage multi-family assets. It continues to impress market watchers with rock bottom cap rates and some of the highest rents in the country with a CMHC reported average of $1,027 per month. Investors working in the west coast markets should exercise some caution when making new acquisitions. The local economy is heavily influenced by outflows of capital from many Pacific Rim nations, most notably China. The market can easily be influenced by changing political and economic realities in China and elsewhere in Asia. It’s also important to consider that any leveling off of red-hot demand for new condominium and housing developments will affect vacancy rates and rents. Although media speculates of a housing bubble, the geographical reality of the city remains, available land is scarce and growth is healthy which should help sustain values even in the event of a correction. Alberta/Saskatchewan Canada’s new economic growth engine for the foreseeable future. Intensified development of new oilfields and natural resources in Alberta and Saskatchewan has resulted in a local economic boom. The importance of the energy sector to the future of the western economies cannot be overstated. The projected growth rates will place significant pressure on the existing rental housing supply in these markets which is far less developed than other
[ 2012 Forecast ]
regions of Canada such as Ontario and Quebec. This may be one of the few markets in Canada that can sustain new purpose built rental construction. Quebec Montreal is considered to be one of Quebec’s most desirable and livable cities. According to CMHC, Montreal boasts one of the highest proportions of renters in Canada. The market remains competitive due to the prevalence of new purpose built supply coming on line in recent years yet demand for rental accommodation remains robust as the idea of home ownership has had less appeal to the younger segments of the population. The metropolitan area of Montreal continues to be a draw for many within the province driven by the established high tech and education sectors. Once seen as the last affordable market by large institutions for asset acquisitions, today demand has driven prices higher, which has resulted in asset values more in line with other large Canadian metropolitan areas. Atlantic Canada The recent development of the offshore oil industry in Newfoundland has begun to transform the city of St. John’s, which is reported to have virtually zero vacancy in the rental market. 2012 will continue to see pressure on the housing availability in general as the economy grows and the migration of people into areas like St. John’s continues.
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In Nova Scotia, Halifax continues to be driven by the prevalence of government, education and military sectors. While recent statistics show that although the total population of the province has decreased in the past five years, the urban population of Halifax has actually grown. The perception of improved employment prospects has drawn more people from other areas of the province. The recent awarding of new shipbuilding contracts to local shipyards and new offshore oil exploration projects should continue to attract newcomers to the city. It is also important to note that Halifax has some of the most active new building activity in the country with over 2,000 new rental units completed or currently under construction and a further 2,200 plus units expected to be completed within the next two years. CMHC has reported that activity like this has not been seen since the rental construction boom of the1970’s, but investors should be cautious. The dramatic increase in supply can drive up vacancies quickly and throw the market off balance, driving down rents because of the intense competition for renters to keep buildings full. Overall, the forecast for multi-residential product across Canada this year remains positive. We can expect a change in the dynamics of each individual region as Canada’s economy restructures. The ongoing erosion of the traditional manufacturing sector is resulting in a further transition into more of a resource based economy. RHB If you have any questions regarding a specific market or if you would like to discuss your real estate needs in detail, Tony can be reached at 1-800-870-5862 or via email at email@example.com.
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Rental Housing Business 19
IN THE KNOW 2012 Rent Increase Guidelines
Each year, the Provincial governments which impose rent control set a guideline rent increase for landlords for the upcoming year.
In most of those provinces, the guideline rent increase is calculated with reference to inflation (e.g. the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the province). Some provinces look at specific components within CPI. Others adjust the CPI to reach a different guideline. For example, B.C. adds 2% to the CPI amount, whereas Ontario uses the amount of the CPI. (A government bill is currently before the Ontario legislature which would place a floor and a cap on the amount of the guideline for 2013 and the following three years.) The guideline is the maximum amount by which most landlords can increase a tenant’s rent during the year without making an application to the provincial Landlord and Tenant Board. In most cases, the rent for a unit can be increased if at least 12 months have passed since the tenant first moved in, or since his or her last rent increase. Depending on the province, the tenant must generally be given proper written notice of the rental increase at least two months to six months before the rent increase takes effect. GUIDELINE RENT INCREASES FOR 2012 Ontario: 3.1 %
Manitoba: 1.0 %
British Columbia: 4.3 %. PEI:
Heated premises: 3.20%
Mobile home site only in a mobile home park: 1.00%
Unheated premises: 2.00%
The Quebec system is different from the system in the English speaking provinces because in Quebec the landlord can give a notice at whatever rent the landlord chooses, but the tenant
can challenge the increase at the Rental Board. Barring unusual costs for the particular building, the Rental Board will apply the following guidelines for rent increases in 2012: Dwellings heated by fuel oil 3.6%
Dwellings heated by natural gas 0.0% Dwellings heated by electricity 0.7% Unheated dwellings 0.6% OTHER PROVINCES
The provinces not listed above do not limit the amount of a rent increase, although they do usually control the timing of a rent increase relative to the last rent increase or the commencement of the lease. Currently free of control on the amount of rent increase are rental units in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Ontario Housing Services Act requires detailed housing plans
In Ontario, the Housing Services Act (HSA) replaced the Social Housing Reform Act (SHRA) on January 1, 2012. Although much of the SHRA has been incorporated in the new Act, the HSA is not just about social housing: it requires local housing service managers to take a much broader look at housing and homelessness needs in their local community.
By 2014, Ontario cities are each required to develop a ten year housing and homelessness plan with key goals and a plan to achieve the goals. Most large Ontario cities already have some sort of a plan, or plans, but the new plan needs to reflect how the Service Managers will respond to the issues as a system. This is an ideal time for landlords and landlord associations to advocate for the use of housing allowances and rent supplements as additional tools besides the traditional approach focused on social and supportive housing and the shelter system.
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Rental Housing Business 21
Rental Housing Conference will hear from
Industry Leaders This year, the CFAA Rental Housing Conference will return to downtown Vancouver and will offer 16 educational sessions relating to Investment and Facilities Management. The conference will feature over 50 speakers, who will take part in two streams of panel discussions, which allow conference attendees a choice of topic in every time slot. Besides outside professionals and experts, hear from leading rental housing executives about what innovations and issues mean for landlords. Hear how other landlords solve the problems you are facing. Below is sneak peak at a few of the speakers’ bios. Benjamin Tal, Managing Director, CIBC World Markets Benjamin Tal will return to the CFAA Conference in 2012 to provide an update of the likely economic impacts on Canada’s rental housing markets in 2012 and 2013. As a managing director at CIBC World Markets, Tal was recently described as one of Canada’s leading experts on the real estate market by the International Monetary Fund. A terrific speaker, Tal will address what is happening in the world, the U.S and the Canadian economies, and the impact those forces will have on employment, interest rates, labour markets, rental markets, and rental housing asset markets across Canada. Scott Ullrich, CEO of Gateway Property Management As the President and CEO of Gateway Property Management, Scott Ullrich has helped his company to grow from a handful of employees to over 800 strong. Gateway currently oversees 33,000 units of multi-family housing and 2.3 million square feet of commercial space. Before joining Gateway, Scott was a chartered accountant who served a variety of real estate management and development companies. Scott is also a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada and a Certified Property Manager. Tom Schwartz, President and CEO of CAPREIT In 1997, Tom Schwartz founded Canada’s first apartment real estate investment trust (CAPREIT). As President and CEO of CAPREIT, Tom continues to oversee the operation of more than 30,000 apartments and townhouses across Canada. Tom graduated as a chartered accountant in 1975 and went on to pursue a career in real estate development. He later founded Intraurban Projects, a company which specialized in the development of new housing projects in mature communities.
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Philip Milroy, President of Westcorp In 1980, Philip (“Phil”) Milroy founded and became president of Westcorp – a real estate investment and management company that develops and operates residential, retail, office, hospitality and mixeduse projects in Edmonton, Calgary and Kelowna. Phil received his designation as a Certified Commercial Investment Member in 1984. Mark Kenney, Chief Operating Officer of CAPREIT Mark Kenney is the Chief Operating Officer of CAPREIT, responsible for creating and implementing company policy, leading all marketing initiatives, directing the property management team and performing the operational due diligence on potential acquisitions. Mark has 20 years of experience in the multi-family sector, which includes work for Realstar Management, Greenwin Property Management and Tridel. David Horwood, Vice President of Effort Trust Effort Trust owns and manages more than 10,000 rental units in Hamilton, Niagara and Kitchener-Waterloo. David is Vice-President of Effort Trust, the past chair of the Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) and is the acting chair of FRPO’s Utilities Committee. Registration To view the full list of educational topics being offered at the CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2012, please see the Conference flyer included with this edition of Rental Housing Business, or the CFAA website at www.cfaa-fcapi.org. See the website or the flyer for the networking and social events. Registration for the 2012 conference is now open on the CFAA website. Early Bird prices are available for a limited time, so act now! Discounts are available for registrations of three or more delegates from one company. For group registration, e-mail the number of delegates you want to register to email@example.com. Everyone is invited to e-mail there to be placed on CFAA’s e-mail list for conference updates. RHB For information on partnership opportunities, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
APARTMENT BUILDING ANALYSIS
CBS CERTIFIED BUILDING SYSTEMS
PAINTING & DECORATING
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT Rental Housing Business 1
2 mar/apr 2012
Apartment Building Analysis
he Apartment Building Analysis for 2012 provides Canadian apartment owners and managers with information and advice on reducing the impact of costly repairs, optimizing their buildings’ performance and protecting their bottom line. The information has been compiled from leading suppliers to the multi-residential rental industry. The report covers topics that address key building issues, identifies new products and services of interest, and provides tips from industry insiders on extending a building’s life expectancy.
Building Envelope There are many new and improved products entering the market that enable building owners to green their buildings, improve performance by conserving and returning energy to the building, and maximize return on investment. With solar photovoltaics (PV) becoming more cost effective, and the availability of government rebates and programs, many owners are installing solar PV panels on their buildings. Panels are also being installed on building walls, as they offer large surface areas and less load impact. “Some roof structures cannot handle solar PV installations without additional support, and roof-mounted solar PVs can become a wind uplift issue,” said Zen Szewczyk, Vice President Sales and Marketing, IRC Building Sciences Group Inc. “Some low-mounted solar PV systems can also affect snow drifting on roofs, which can lead to snow concentration and loading issues on roof structures.” Building owners should also consider sustainability, as there are new products that reduce environmental impact. For example, lightweight insulated concrete systems are now being used for roofing in the apartment-residential, commercial and industrial roofing markets. Compared to traditional products, it is a fully sustainable insulation. When installed, the lightweight insulation concrete system becomes the permanent substrate for new roofing membrane applications and does not have to be removed unlike traditional insulation products that eventually end up in landfills.
“Lightweight insulated concrete systems have a much longer serviceable lifespan and become a permanent part of the roof structure with only the roofing membrane replaced when necessary,” said Zen. “This reduces longterm maintenance costs when compared to other roofing systems, and enhances the value of the building.” Building owners should know that City of Toronto bylaws regulate how roofs are built in new construction projects (e.g., green roof bylaw). These bylaws might be applied to existing buildings in the not-too-distant future. When building owners plan to retrofit their roofs, they should look for ways to increase building efficiency and improve energy usage to reduce costs. Besides using more sustainable and longer lasting products, they should look into options (such as “green roofs”) that reduce the “heat island effect.” Technology is helping owners to maintain their buildings. A common problem with “green roofs” involves identifying and repairing breaches in the membrane below the vegetative overburden. One solution is Electrical Field Vector Mapping (EFVM), which uses low voltage wiring and an impulse meter to send electrical pulses throughout the membrane to identify breaches. Instead of removing all the overburden on a “green roof,” problem areas can be accurately identified and repaired, saving time and money. As with mechanical systems, the building envelope must be part of a regular maintenance plan. Preventative maintenance is important for extending the life of a building. This includes checking the building façade and components (e.g., masonry or concrete block walls, curtain wall systems) when winter ends, as damage can occur during freeze/thaw cycles. Check that insulation is not wet so that there is no loss of R-value (and no lost heating or cooling properties). “Winter conditions can reduce building efficiency in different areas, such as membrane breaches in the roofing system caused by a typical freeze/thaw cycle and moisture getting into the insulation,” said Zen. “Moisture can also deteriorate or damage the exterior cladding of the building envelope.”
RHB Special Supplement 3
[ 2012 Apartment Building Analysis ]
Mechanical Engineering and HVAC Before building owners decide to upgrade their buildings’ heating and/or cooling equipment, they should consider upgrading the companies that service their buildings. Today’s buildings and equipment require different levels of maintenance than they did 20 or 30 years ago. They require specialized knowledge of how they function under different conditions, how they work with other systems, and whether they meet energy and environmental standards. Owners of multi-residential apartment buildings should understand that “traditional” contractors are a dying breed. Maintenance personnel require up-to-date knowledge of modern technology, engineering requirements, energy efficient heating and cooling equipment, monitoring systems, environmental standards, sustainable energy alternatives and more. Companies must be able to provide value-added services that contribute to the building’s short-term needs and long-term operational goals. “Relying on traditional contractors can cost building owners significantly more money over the long run,” said Vipul Desai, CERTIFIED Building Solutions. “Owners need to upgrade to contractors that are proactive and forward looking, who consider the building’s long-term needs and goals, and that have the knowledge and expertise to properly service modern equipment.” When hiring a company that provides engineering services, building owners must learn to ask the right questions. Although two different companies might provide the same engineering services, they are not necessarily the same. Price is not the key differentiator. Owners should consider the company’s experience with retrofitting buildings, as well as executing designbuild projects. They should determine their ability to carry out energy efficient designs, and whether they monitor, calculate and report on energy usage and savings. Owners should also ask if they have worked with various government agencies in securing available rebates. Major capital expenditure projects are costly and inevitable, but the potential benefits are significant. By replacing aging equipment with more modern and energy efficient models, running time and associated energy costs will decrease, which will lead to long-term savings that should pay for the cost of the equipment over time. Newer equipment also has lower short- and long-term maintenance costs. “Upgrading equipment improves building value, which makes it more attractive to potential buyers,” said Vipul. “It
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also supports consistent comfort levels, which appeals to potential and existing tenants.” Regular maintenance is an integral part of every building’s plan, but the service plan should vary according to the its specific needs and criteria. Service providers should tailor their plans according to numerous factors, such as building quality and equipment type. Typical programs should involve regular visits from qualified technicians to ensure that all equipment functions properly. “With respect to equipment, service companies should look at a number of factors, such as efficiency, maintenance and monitoring,” said Vipul. “Service history and equipment failures are both important for identifying key concerns. When monitoring energy usage, benchmarking against similar-sized buildings enables you to compare costs and identify hidden issues.” Retrofitting has potential for bottom-line savings, although it is important to make the right choices. This can be accomplished through energy and water audits, which helps to determine how one building operates compared to similar buildings. The process involves creating an inventory of energy- and water-consuming equipment, analyzing the invoice history, and then finding opportunities for savings through financial analyses and calculating returns on investment.
Energy Retrofit By making the right capital investments and operational improvements, owners can reduce their buildings’ energy costs by 25-50%. Every $1 in utility savings equals at least $10 in increased building value. Before engaging in retrofits to improve building efficiency, owners should measure current energy and water usage to determine where to invest their resources for maximum impact. Current energy monitoring systems enable building owners to track energy and water usage in real time. They can view hourly data, instead of waiting for a monthly bill with estimated data, and compare results according to historical and seasonal usage. Managers can use the data to benchmark their buildings’ water and energy usage against other buildings to identify deviations from the norm. They can also program monitoring systems to send an email when they recognize an unusual increase in water or energy usage. Building owners can use monitoring systems to show changes in water and energy usage following retrofits and upgrades. They can determine exact savings results, and
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[ 2012 Apartment Building Analysis ]
whether changes are worth the expense. Monitoring can help some buildings to save up to 25% in energy costs, and help owners to make purchasing decisions. “Operating a large building without a monitoring system to provide feedback on performance is ridiculous,” said Doug Hart, Owner, Watershed Technologies Inc. (and EnergyBrain). “It would be similar to driving a car without a dashboard. Monitoring enables you to track usage and get immediate feedback on changes.” Monitoring can separately track water, gas and electricity usage. It can determine unusual water usage (e.g., at 3:00 AM, when water use should be 15% to 20% of normal), which could indicate system leakages. Monitoring can identify water waste in cooling towers, outdoor fountains, irrigation systems and commercial walk-in coolers. Tracking water waste can help building owners to make appropriate water retrofits to produce long-term savings. Monitoring can help to measure how well controls manage the building’s heating and water heating systems. Monitoring systems can track hourly gas usage against weather and seasonal changes. Since there should be a straight-line relationship (e.g., colder weather means more gas consumption), uneven changes in gas usage could mean controls need to be adjusted or replaced. Monitoring can also identify inefficient boilers and other mechanical equipment, which could indicate that it is time to repair or replace them. “Electricity monitoring can identify where inefficiencies are taking place, such as ramp heaters being left on unnecessarily,” said Doug. “You can track changes in electricity usage after upgrading lighting systems or replacing fan coils in units.” Buildings deteriorate over time, and numerous issues need to be addressed (e.g., weather stripping, plumbing fixtures, suite lighting). A building tune-up enables building owners to identify and address these issues, which will help to reduce overall gas, electricity and water usage, which can then be tracked by monitoring. “Changing light bulbs, replacing plumbing fixtures and sealing leaks are small changes that add up to reduce overall energy and water usage,” said Doug. “Monitoring can demonstrate how much is being saving with each incremental change, and you can identify issues that still need to be addressed.”
Painting and Decorating Getting more value out of a building, or improving a building’s perception in the eyes of its tenants, does not have to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases, making cosmetic changes and fixing small issues can produce positive results.
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Painting is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to upgrade a building’s appearance. Choosing when and what to paint is important, as you can target areas with greater need and make better use of your renovation budget. For example, you should paint a unit whenever a tenant moves out, based on the condition of the unit, and what maintenance issues exist. “You can make painting a regular part of the maintenance schedule,” said Frank Evangelou, President, Ace Painting and Decorating. “By implementing a recycle painting program (i.e., painting a few units each month), you will keep units in top condition and ensure tenant satisfaction.” Regularly painting certain areas will make your property more attractive. This includes all common areas, such as entrance lobbies, corridors, elevators and laundry areas. Proper lighting is a key component of a high‐traffic area, which not only helps with visibility but also provides a building with a well‐maintained appearance. “An alternative to painting is wall coverings,” said Frank. “This is an expensive alternative that should be used in lobbies and other common areas to increase the property’s profile.” There are several factors to consider when painting individual units. You must first consider and then address the condition of the unit. This involves addressing baseboards, kitchen floor tiles, parquet floors, backsplashes, tub surrounds, vanities and proper plaster repairs. You also need to deal with aesthetics, which includes paint. All of the above are part of the aesthetics; with minimal cost, you can turn a basic painting need into a statement of style. Property owners must be diligent in their selection and hiring of contractors. They must understand that a lower bid does not necessarily guarantee that they will have the job done on time and on budget. Therefore, references are key, as well as the contractor’s experience and ability to handle the size and quality of the project. “Property owners should hire an experienced, knowledgeable contractor who uses high quality materials, proper preparation and priming to ensure longevity of the paint job,” added Frank.
Conclusion Knowledge is power, and that includes knowing more about your building, the products that can improve its longevity and performance, and the service providers that can help you to create a better building. By following the advice of our industry experts, you can reduce your building’s energy usage, diminish its environmental impact, increase its longevity and improve its appearance. RHB
Conservation and Efficiency are the best investments you can make for your building Utility consumption is like the heartbeat of your building. Hourly monitoring puts your finger on the pulse.
EnergyBrain connects your meters to the Internet for continuous monitoring. Our science works for you round the clock, to insure performance and warn of problems before they multiply. Property managers often find savings of 20% or more. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Identify water leakage • Track gas controls • Benchmark and compare performance Spot electrical problems • Verify retrofits are working • Program implementation
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Thanks to the work of the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization (the CFAA affiliate in Ottawa), the City of Ottawa has just rolled out two programs of housing allowances. In Toronto, the Greater Toronto Apartment Association (the CFAA affiliate there) had substantial input into the City of Toronto plan known as Housing Opportunities for Toronto (“HOT”), which also calls for a substantial use of direct assistance for tenants in the private rental market. Pension reforms would impact on rentals
When this goes to print, the government was addressing the dramatic expansion in the cost of the old age income security system. In 2010, 4.7 million Canadians were aged 65 or older and that number is expected to double in the next 20 years. Officials say the cost of old age security is expected to rise from $36 billion in 2010 to $108 billion a year in 2030.
That cost is expected to increase from 2.4% of Canadian Gross Domestic Product today to 3.1% in 2030. Absent major reforms, the increased average age of the population will cause health care costs to skyrocket, and a reduction in the proportion of the population of working age will reduce the tax base needed to pay for seniors’ income support. Since senior citizens often move into rental accommodation, reductions in the income of seniors could seriously impact on rental demand from seniors, which is a matter of concern to the rental housing industry. “Increases in the OAS and GIS pensions have reduced poverty among seniors and increased the ability of seniors to pay the rents for good accommodation,” explained CFAA President John Dickie. “CFAA respects the demographic realities and the government’s need to restrain pension spending and to encourage continued labour force participation, but the government needs to address the negative impact which changes will have on lowincome seniors and on the rental housing industry.” City of Vancouver to Launch Database of “Bad Landlords”
The City of Vancouver is planning to expose the City’s “worst landlords” in an online rental database. Although the move still requires council approval, the plan is to create a searchable database to make outstanding work orders, maintenance records and property violations, all readily accessible to prospective
renters. Vancouver’s online rental database was inspired by a landlord watch list from New York City.
If the database highlights outstanding work orders and deals with health and safety issues, rather than acting as a forum for disgruntled tenants, then the British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA) agrees with the database “in principle.” BCAOMA suggest that the database include all rental units, not just apartment buildings. “It appears that both BCAOMA and the City are in agreement that the large majority of landlords are ethical and responsible,” BCAOMA CEO Marg Gordon told Vancouver City Council. “BCAOMA supports the concept of informing renters who the good landlords are and who are not. At the same time, a system such as this would recognize and reward the good landlords and encourage others to aspire to the same standards of excellence.” If approved by City Council, the landlord database could be available this summer. Bonnie Hoy Weekend Retreat
Bonnie Hoy has been involved with the rental housing industry for almost 30 years. Besides working with landlords across Canada, she also promotes the Spring H.O.P.E. (Housing Owners and People Everywhere) Food Drive, which encourages volunteer landlords and tenants to collect food for local food banks. Bonnie’s latest endeavour has the potential to have long-term impact on the rental housing industry. She recently held her first weekend retreat with 18 female leaders from the rental housing industry. The women were invited to a spa resort for a weekend of relaxation and pampering. They were also given the opportunity to meet and connect with other female leaders in their industry, share stories of success and failure, and learn from other women who have faced similar challenges. The feedback from participants of the weekend retreat demonstrates that it has the potential to grow into something more substantial. It could become an annual event that promotes networking and development of women throughout the rental housing industry. It could eventually be expanded to include women who want to pursue careers in rental housing. For information on getting involved in future weekend retreats, contact Bonnie Hoy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rental Housing Business 23
RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB are expected to increase by 2.8% in Vancouver and 1.4% in Victoria. MultiAccording to CMHC, vacancy rates across most of Canada’s major TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB family housing starts (including both condos and rentals) should increase cities will remain relatively stable through 2012, and rent increases RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB from 17,800 units in 2011 to 18,000 units in 2012. will be modest (except in St. John’s). Strong rental demand (due to high TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB immigration) will be offset by modest rental construction and increased Alberta’s economy is projected to show relatively strong growth of RUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSE RILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOB rental supply from the condo market. Condo completions will remain high 3.5% in 2012. Unemployment is expected to fall to 5.1%, which means TSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMB
National Multi-Unit Outlook
and investors will continue to list many units for rent. Most units being completed next year were purchased at pre-construction in 2008 or 2009, so average rents should cover total carrying costs.
“The increasing condo supply should help to meet the rising demand for rental accommodations,” said Paula Gasparro, Manager, Business Development, Multi-Unit Mortgage Insurance. “Since purpose-built rental units constitute less than 10% of apartment starts, the market will turn to condo investors to list units for rent. About 25% of newly completed condos are added to the rental pool, which has grown with the increasing number of condo completions. As the number of units rented through MLS has risen more quickly than the number of units listed, [condo] vacancy rates have stayed low through the fall.” BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba In British Columbia, economic growth should remain positive in 2012 but stay below the trend rate of 3%. Improving labour market conditions will support the housing sector as job creation should shift to more full-time employment. While job gains in 2011 were concentrated in Vancouver, 2012 is expected to see improvement throughout the province. International migration is expected to support housing demand in Vancouver. Vacancy rates in the purpose-built (primary) rental market are forecast to be 1.8% in Vancouver and 1.4% in Victoria (both down slightly), while average rents
24 mar/apr 2012
that more immigrants will move to Alberta. Vacancy rates are forecast to decrease to 3.0% in Edmonton and 2.9% in Calgary, while rent increases are expected to be 2.9% for Edmonton and 2.8% for Calgary. More affordable condominium projects are attracting renters. Multi-family starts should increase later in the year and total starts should surpass 2010’s level of production. Demand is expected to improve with rising incomes and new household formation, increasing projected multi-family starts to 10,800 units (a 15% increase over 2011). Saskatchewan’s economy is expected to expand by 3.4% in 2012. Labour market conditions will draw people to the province, especially from outside Canada. Higher rental apartment construction (especially in major centres) increased multi-family starts in 2011, which should continue in 2012. Vacancy rates are forecast to increase slightly to 3.8% in Saskatoon and 2.0% in Regina, while rent increases are projected at 1.5% and 3.3% in Saskatoon and Regina, respectively.
Manitoba’s real GDP is projected to rise by 2.5% in 2012. Economic expansion should lower the unemployment rate to 5.2%. A growing economy and labour demand, as well as elevated migration, will continue to support housing demand. Winnipeg’s vacancy rate is forecast to be 1.2% (up slightly from 2011), and average rents are expected to increase by 2.8%. After a 23-year high for multi-family starts in 2010, builders slowed production in 2011. The total number of semi-detached,
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row and apartment starts in 2011 was still among the highest of the last two decades. Inventory levels remain stable as units have been absorbed quickly in the rental and condominium markets. Multi-family starts are forecast to remain at 1,800 units in 2012. Ontario and Quebec Ontario’s economy is closely linked to U.S. economic prospects. Unemployment will likely remain above 8% and net migration will be modest by recent standards. Vacancy rates are expected to increase to 2.0% in Toronto, but decrease to 2.8% in Hamilton, 4.2% in London, 1.8% in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge and 1.0% in Ottawa. Average rent increases are expected to be 2.7% in Toronto, 1.7% in Hamilton, 1.9% in London, 1.6% in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge and 3.2% in Ottawa. Multi-family housing starts should decline from 41,000 starts in 2011 to 38,800 units in 2012. Growing demand for apartment dwellings should support construction, while low vacancy rates will maintain investment demand for apartment units. In Quebec, GDP is forecast to grow by 2%. Strong net immigration will continue to positively affect the rental and resale markets. Also, population aging should prompt older households to re-enter the rental market. Vacancy rates will decrease slightly to 2.3% in Montreal and increase slightly to 1.8% in Quebec City. Rent increases should reach 1.4% in both Montreal and Quebec City. Multiple starts are forecast to decline from 31,100 units in 2011 to 27,100 units in 2012. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador New Brunswick’s GDP is forecast to grow at 1.3% in 2012. The vacancy rate in Saint John will slightly decrease to 5.0%, while average rents will increase by 1.5%. Multiple starts are expected to decrease from 1,635 units in 2011 to 1,365 units in 2012. Nova Scotia’s economy will likely see growth of 2%. The vacancy rate in Halifax is expected to remain at 2.6%, while average rents will increase by 3.8%. Multiple starts experienced continued strength during 2011, mainly due to high levels of apartment construction in Halifax. Demand for rental units in Halifax is expected to remain high, but should decline slightly from 2,275 units in 2012. Prince Edward Island’s economic growth is forecast at 1.5%. Due to an increase in supply in 2011 over 2010, the vacancy rate in Charlottetown increased to 6.0%, where it is expected to remain. This should lead to a decrease in multiple starts from 480 units in 2011 to 325 units in 2012. Average rents will likely increase by 2.0%. For Newfoundland and Labrador, GDP growth should reach 2.2% in 2012. The vacancy rate in St. John’s will rise slightly to 1.5%, while rent increases will be about 6.4% (the highest increase in major cities in Canada). Multiple-unit construction will likely decrease from 850 units in 2011 to 600 units in 2012. RHB Sources: CMHC Housing Market Outlook – Canada (released Fall 2011) and Housing Market Outlook reports for these major Canadian cities (released Fall 2011).
26 mar/apr 2012
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Rental Housing Business 27
Vince Brescia has dedicated most of his professional career to promoting a healthy rental housing industry. He is President and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO), a provincial industry association that represents and educates residential rental property owners and managers. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations (CFAA). Vinceâ€™s father, Genero (Joseph), was born in Italy but immigrated to Canada in 1922 when he was only one year old. He taught auto mechanics in Port Arthur (which later amalgamated with Fort William to become Thunder Bay). Vinceâ€™s mother, Margaret (Peggy), was of Scottish heritage and grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After meeting on the East Coast during World War II, his parents married, moved to Port Arthur and raised six children. Vince attended the University of Western Ontario in London, where he planned to study the sciences (biology). However, his educational interests changed after he took a first-year economics course, which sparked his interest in public policy. He decided to pursue an economics degree, graduating with an Honours in Economics (HBA). Vince then received a scholarship from Lakehead University, where he earned an MA in Economics.
Rental Housing Business 29
[ Vince Brescia ]
Since these reforms, the rental industry has been revitalized, institutional investors have returned, a lot of jobs have been created and the tenant experience has improved dramatically.
“Studying economics changed my life, and has driven my career choices,” said Vince. “It taught me to perform rigorous analysis of economic issues, and provided me with the tools to understand public policy. One of the first things they taught in that course was the economic impact of rent control.”
not in favour of rent control, he used his knowledge to convince the interviewer that he was a proponent of rent control. He was hired as a policy advisor, where he was able to work within the system to better understand public policy decision-making, and was later promoted to senior policy advisor.
Career path In the late 1980s, not long after graduation, Vince learned of an opening at the Thunder Bay office of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). After incurring some losses in the 1980s, CMHC expanded its market analysis capabilities to better understand market risk. Vince became a market analyst, effectively launching his career in the real estate and housing industry.
The political climate changed when Bob Rae (then leader of the New Democratic Party) defeated David Peterson to become Premier of Ontario. The new government intended to introduce strict rent control legislation that ran counter to Vince’s beliefs. He decided that he would move immediately out of rent controls into other areas of housing policy. Later, he took a position as a senior treasury board analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Finance. When the Ontario Progressive Conservatives came to power, Vince saw an opportunity to have a positive impact on housing policy in Ontario, particularly rent control reform.
Vince later moved to Toronto, where he joined Clayton Research Associates, an urban and real estate economics consulting company (which is now part of Altus Group). He continued to do work in real estate analysis, supervising feasibility studies for a variety of retail, office, hotel and residential developments. Vince’s work renewed his interest in public policy, as he was involved in writing policy papers for municipalities, provincial and federal governments, and the private sector. “As I learned more about public policy, I felt a growing need to become more involved,” said Vince. “I couldn’t understand how rent control policies persisted in the face of rare expert consensus that it was bad public policy.” Vince decided to learn more about the causes of bad public policy from the inside. Before applying for a position with the Ontario Ministry of Housing, he conducted significant research on rent controls so that he could intelligently discuss the topic. Although Vince was
30 mar/apr 2012
“When Mike Harris became Premier of Ontario, I joined the Office of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing under Al Leach,” said Vince. “He wanted to hire someone with public housing policy experience. I sensed a great opportunity to have a positive impact on public policy, including rent controls.” Vince’s return to the provincial housing ministry was marked by the introduction of the Tenant Protection Act, which replaced the previous government’s Rent Control Act. The PC Caucus was nervous about making significant changes to rent controls, which was often viewed as politically dangerous. However, the decision to pursue market-oriented rent control reform garnered a lot of media support. The government removed strict rent controls, and decided to adapt British Columbia’s rent control model (which allows market pricing on vacated units). This made it more politically palatable, as it did not impact sitting tenants, and helped to revitalize the apartment
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Rental Housing Business 31
[ Vince Brescia ]
industry by encouraging institutional investment and the repair of aging rental stock.
to promote development and advance development projects at all levels of government.
“I’m very proud of my involvement in helping to reform rent controls in Ontario,” said Vince. “We took a very difficult government file and made positive changes for Ontario. Since these reforms, the rental industry has been revitalized, institutional investors have returned, a lot of jobs have been created and the tenant experience has improved dramatically.”
“I learned a lot about how unions worked, and about their perspective on development and the housing industry,” said Vince. “However, our philosophies and personal views differed, so I decided that, after about a year of working with the union, it was time to find another opportunity that more closely matched my interests.”
Vince did not want to be a lifetime bureaucrat, so he took a position as Director of Government Relations with the Greater Toronto Home Builders’ Association (GTHBA). This role helped him to learn more about how associations functioned, and provided him with the opportunity to address government relations from the outside. He was involved with lobbying to make substantial amendments to the Condominium Act (which had not been changed for years) and the Development Charges Act (which was a core concern for the association). Vince and the GTHBA worked with the government to update condominium legislation to address consumer protection concerns. The result was rather successful, as Ontario’s condominium industry is thriving and consumer concerns have been reduced. Vince joined the Labourer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA), Local 183, as a development promotion representative. This role provided him with a new perspective of the housing industry. He was able to create positive relationships with builders
32 mar/apr 2012
Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario The Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) hired Vince to replace their outgoing President and CEO. His skill set and experience made him a natural fit for the role and the association. He had political and bureaucratic experience, and had in-depth knowledge of the Tenant Protection Act. Vince also had experience as a stakeholder, having worked within associations, and had a solid understanding of public policy issues. “Joining the FRPO made a lot of sense, as it enabled me to use my skills, experience and contacts to work on behalf of the industry,” said Vince. “I also have a strong belief in what the FRPO is doing, and my involvement has enabled me to return to what interests me the most.” Education is a major component of Vince’s role with the FRPO. The organization provides training and education to its members on working in the rental industry through seminars, bulletins and newsletters. It
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[ Vince Brescia ]
engages in government relations, providing advocacy and public relations on behalf of its members and the industry as a whole. FRPO also has an annual awards program to celebrate and demonstrate its members’ accomplishments and professionalism. “One of our main goals is to address image challenges and unfair perceptions faced by landlords in Ontario,” said Vince. “Our landlords are major contributors to their neighbourhoods, communities and society. Education and training helps to promote our members’ contributions and counter unfair stereotypes.” As President and CEO, Vince has been involved in a number of key FRPO campaigns and initiatives. One challenge involved defending the issue of vacancy de-control. During the 2003 provincial election, Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberal Party campaigned on a platform of real tenant protection and rent control. Since the Liberals won the election, this represented a significant threat to a core change that revitalized the rental housing industry. FRPO launched a comprehensive information and government relations campaign to increase awareness of the rent control reforms that occurred in the 1990s. They focused on describing the negative impacts and consequences of the potential changes proposed by
a taxpayer representative on the Board of Directors, and also sat on various committees. FRPO is also involved with fundraising for Interval House, an organization that provides shelter, educational services, job placement and support for women (with or without children) fleeing abuse. Although it is a charity, Interval House follows an entrepreneurial model, and does not rely entirely on government funding or charitable contributions. FRPO members have helped Interval House to achieve a number of significant successes, and have received ongoing recognition for championing this charity. Challenges and accomplishments Taking on his current role with the FRPO was one of Vince’s greatest personal career challenges, as it was the most responsibility he had ever undertaken. FRPO is a relatively small organization that represents a large roster of members and deals with a wide range of industry-specific issues. Vince had to learn about the industry and its various needs. He had to meet the needs of the membership using staff and resources in a most efficient manner.
We must continue to improve the industry environment, and increase opportunities to grow and expand the rental housing industry. the government. Although some negative changes were inevitable and did occur, FRPO was ultimately successful in convincing the government to maintain vacancy decontrol, a key element of the rental housing industry’s revitalization. “We take a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished,” said Vince. “Industries can get into trouble when their membership is divided. We have achieved a lot by working together towards a common goal.” Another significant achievement is the creation of the Certified Rental Building Program, which is the first of its kind in North America. The program assures tenants that each certified building meets a number of established building management and customer service standards. It certifies buildings on an individual basis (not by company), and involves an educational component and independent audits to ensure that standards are being met. During his time with the FRPO, Vince was appointed by the government to serve as director of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. MPAC is a non-profit corporation that assesses all of Ontario’s properties for local property taxation purposes. He served as
34 mar/apr 2012
“I also discovered that government relations involves more diplomacy that simply stating one’s position on an issue,” said Vince. “Getting what you want in government and stakeholder relations requires working with people. You cannot be solely negative in the face of opposing viewpoints, as it can damage your relationship over the long term.” Aging of the rental stock is a key industry challenge. The typical rental building in Ontario is around 50 years old, and will require a lot of capital in the coming years to ensure its sustainability. There are a number of hurdles to investing in these buildings, including government regulatory barriers and market factors. The government has a significant role to play in dealing with these issues, and it must understand that many existing buildings will not be around much longer if they don’t get it right. “We must continue working to improve the industry environment, and increase opportunities to grow and expand the rental housing industry,” said Vince. “If there is one thing we have learned from the recent worldwide financial crisis, it is that a healthy rental housing sector and a balanced housing policy are both important for our future success.” RHB
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2012 Trends in Canadian
Multi-Residential Real Estate Technology By Peter Altobelli, vice president and general manager, Canadian Operations for Yardi Systems Inc.
The Growing Importance of Technology Integration
There’s no need to guess what the renters of tomorrow will look like. They’re here today, in the form of a technology-savvy, highly mobile population that expects to conduct almost every aspect of their personal and business lives—including selecting and managing their rental space—online and through mobile devices.
Canadian multifamily property companies will continue to seek integrated portal solutions as part of their suite of real estate products. Many Canadian multifamily property companies already benefit from a portal’s ability to perform numerous marketing and resident self-service functions, while simultaneously capturing data directly into a property management system. As companies strive for greater efficiency and customer service, they will gain value from portal technology’s ability to unite all residential participants—prospects, residents, employees, investors and service providers—in a single site and provide efficiency through automation, marketing, resident empowerment and real-time access to operational information.
Smartphones and tablets are fast replacing PCs. Applications are available for almost every business application. To keep up in this environment, residential property managers are leveraging technology solutions that fully integrate Internet listing services, portals, document management and business intelligence in one platform. The increasing adoption of fully integrated, non-disparate solutions that encompass every aspect of property management, from marketing to maintenance, from strategic planning to resident services, marks a key trend in Canadian residential real estate. Key elements of such an integrated property management solution include: Internet Listing Services/Apartment Search The marketing of property and unit availability through integrated Internet listings and property website portals is another area that is becoming increasingly automated. Prospects can access property listings, conduct apartment searches with online Internet listing services, and compare amenities, view floor plans and images and schedule visits. Such solutions also serve as platforms for unique property marketing sites whose search-engine optimization automates listing updates and pricing. Prospects can lease apartments from the listing site or the individual property websites. Online processing of applications promises additional efficiency in multifamily property management. Applications completed by prospects online automatically route into the property management system’s applicant workflow. Application fees, screening reports and executed leases also enter the system automatically, eliminating redundant data entry. Such systems will also be compatible with such mobile devices as BlackBerry®, iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Droid® and Windows® Phone 7.
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Mobility With mobile applications extending into virtually every aspect of people’s lives, a similar impact on the attitude and behaviors of multifamily property owners, managers and renters was inevitable. Renters today are technologically savvy and expect everything, from searching for apartments and renting, to paying rent online and submitting service requests, to be available from their smartphones. Technology advances over the last several years enable management of virtually every aspect of property management—including online marketing, applications, resident screening, leasing, resident billing, rent payments, supplies procurement and payables processing—from a tablet computer or a smartphone linked to a centralized property management and accounting platform. Soon mobile applications could let leasing agents spend less time in the office and more time showing apartments. Maintenance workers could fulfill their work orders and update records from the field. Managers could approve payables and review performance reports, all on their iPads, iPhones, Droids and BlackBerrys. Regional managers could approve invoices on demand, no matter where they are. Leasing agents could have remote access to their property management platform’s prospect workflow and leasing dashboard. They could walk the property with a tablet and their prospective renters and initiate the application and lease process, including credit screening, on their handhelds.
[ Yardi ]
Meanwhile, residents are using mobile devices to gain greater control over their rental experience by managing their profiles, viewing ledgers, submitting work orders, viewing work order status, requesting concierge services, and paying and renewing leases. This adds up to quicker response times, shortened lease cycles, longer term residents with higher satisfaction and overall increased NOI. Mobile solutions represent a key area that can set multifamily property operators apart and provide a competitive advantage. Document Management Multifamily property owners and managers increasingly need document management that includes centralized access, sharing and version control of important documents. This centralization represents a safe, efficient way to share documents and vital business information with authorized users inside and outside a company. Accordingly, technology providers are enabling integration with SharePoint to deliver secure online access to documents for such internal and external parties as property owners and managers, investors and service providers. New systems offer both ad hoc uploading of documents as well as bulk scanning into a library. Packages of executed lease documents can be scanned and automatically routed to the correct folder while attaching the appropriate meta data tags from property management data. New document library folders can be created when new leases, properties, jobs, contacts and other items are added. Business Intelligence Further development of business intelligence technology will allow more informed, timely business decisions with automated document management, portals and reporting. Such platforms can leverage Microsoft SharePoint® to offer a truly global perspective of operations, financials and ancillary processes. Demand is growing among multifamily housing companies to leverage Microsoft SharePoint and business intelligence tools for real estate purposes. One particularly important trend—a potentially revolutionary one—involves platforms that provide built-in business intelligence and portal functionality, sparing managers the time and expense of building SharePoint platforms
from scratch. Recent advances to SharePoint allow reports and dashboards to be published through web pages. Canadian multifamily property management companies seeking to reduce costs, boost retention, improve efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction are certain to continue adopting dynamic new technologies in 2012. By this time next year, subscribers to this
publication will likely have read numerous testimonials about the advantages of consolidating front office and back office solutions in a single platform, marketing effectively through Internet listing services and portals, managing documents efficiently, making better decisions through improved business intelligence, and satisfying an increasingly mobile rental population. RHB
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Rental Housing Business 37
What can Canada’s landlords expect in 2012? By John Dickie, President, Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations
In 2012, landlords face some immediate issues in various provinces. In Ontario, the government’s Bill 19 proposes to limit the guideline rent increase to a percentage between 1.0% and 2.5%. Within that range, the guideline would still be equal to the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Ontario, but the lower limit would be 1.0% and the upper limit would be 2.5%. If that law had been in place for the last three years, the guideline increases would have been 2.1%, 1.0% and 2.5% (for a total of 5.6%), instead of 2.1%, 0.7% and 3.1% (for a total of 5.9%). The new rule will not apply in 2012. After 2012, the impact will depend on whether inflation takes off. If the CPI exceeds 2.5%, then landlords will be hurt by the new rule, but if inflation remains at or below 2.5%, the new rule will have no impact. Ontario landlords also need to be concerned since the Ontario Liberal government is in a minority position with 53 seats out of 107. That means the government needs the support of either the Progressive Conservatives or the NDP. Landlords need to hope that as the price of its support, the NDP does not demand tighter rent controls or other policies detrimental to the rental housing sector. In Saskatchewan, the Wall government received a renewed majority mandate on November 7, 2011. It is moving forward with legislation which will generally require landlords to give 12 months’ notice of rent increase and only permit an increase 12 months after the last increase (or 18 months after the beginning of the tenancy). However, the government has said
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that members of the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association (CFAA’s affiliate in Saskatchewan) will be able to take increases on 6 months’ notice, 6 months after the last increase (and 12 months after the beginning of a tenancy). Understandably, SRHIA’s phone has been ringing off the wall with landlords who want to join it. In BC, the City of Vancouver is becoming increasingly engaged in Vancouver’s rental housing sector. By mid-2012, landlords can expect a City-run, online registry showing records of work orders or other health or safety violations at their buildings in Vancouver proper. At the same time, Vancouver will receive the report of a newly created task force about how to promote affordable housing.
See www.cfaa-fcapi.org for news about • the CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2012, taking place from June 13 to 15 • the CFAA Rental Housing Employee Compensation & Benefits survey • CFAA’s new direct membership program • other new services for residential landlords • CFAA’s political action, and • what you can do to help make government work for landlords instead of against us.
GAIN THE EDGE!
In Nova Scotia, the NDP majority government still appears to be leaving landlords free of rent control. On other landlord and tenant issues, the government plans balanced reforms. Turning to the federal scene, events are likely to unfold over a longer time frame. The Harper government is raising the age at which people are eligible for the OAS/GIS to age 67. The increase will be phased in over two years, 10 years from now. That will likely affect the rental market to some degree since seniors provide a strong and growing demand for rental housing, both with and without care services and meals. CFAA is engaging government officials about ways to minimize the negative effect on rental housing. Over a similar time frame, landlords can look forward to tax reforms for the rental housing sector. CFAA and our members are educating the government on the negative effects of the current tax regime on housing choice, housing affordability, labor mobility, the unemployment rate and tax revenue. With sufficient work, landlords can hope for an improved income tax regime.
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Your reading this article in this magazine is one step in that direction. More key steps will follow as 2012 unfolds. Join us for an exciting ride in 2012!
Rental Housing Business 39
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COAST TO COAST AGM & Tradeshow – April 17 Halifax, Nova Scotia The Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia is hosting its annual general meeting on April 17, at the Westin Nova Scotia. The reception and trade show start is 5:30 p.m., and feature 12 industry booths and numerous networking opportunities. Guest are offered a full-course dinner at 7 p.m., including industry speakers presentations. IPOANS will also host an awards ceremony recognizing leading rental housing providers. The event also includes graduation for those who completed the Investment Property Owners Certified Apartment Management Course. This event is open to IPOANS members only. Cost for the event is $75. For more information, call IPOANS directly, at 902-425-3572. Residential Tenancies Act Refresher Course – April 18 Toronto, Ontario The Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario is offering a refresher course on the Residential Tenancies Act. Topics to be covered include: how to screen tenants in compliance with the Human Rights Code; meeting Ontario’s new accessibility standards; and recent decisions on the Residential Tenancies Act and what those decisions mean for landlords. The course will be held on April 18 at the Old Mill Inn in Toronto from 8:30 to noon (breakfast at 8 a.m.). Admission is $99.99 for FRPO members, $149.99 for members of a FRPO-recognized association and $199.99 for non-members. For more information, contact FRPO at 416-385-1100. Annual General Meeting – April 19 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan The Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association is hosting its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, April 19. The event starts at 5 p.m. with a meet and greet over cocktails, followed by dinner at 6 p.m. An education speaker will address the audience at 7 p.m. All are welcome. For event details, see www.srhia.ca. Crime Free Multi-Housing Phase 1 Training (Tenant Screening) – April 26 Surrey, British Columbia The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is designed specifically to help apartment owners, managers, residents, police and other agencies work together to keep illegal and nuisance activity off rental property. Program
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topics include: crime prevention concepts; preparing and maintaining property; applicant screening; working together with police; Residential Tenancy Act and combating illegal activities. Details available at www. bccpa.org. The event will be held in the South Surrey RCMP Boardroom, Suite 100, 1815 - 152 Street in Surrey. Residential Tenancies Act Refresher Course – April 26 Hamilton, Ontario The Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario is offering a half-day refresher course on the Residential Tenancies Act on April 26 in Hamilton at the Waterfront Centre from 8:30 to noon (breakfast at 8 a.m.). For details, see the April 18 listing, or visit www.frpo.org. Fire Code Offences Seminar – April 30 London, Ontario This seminar will help you minimize risk and liability of the Ontario Fire Code offences as expert speakers discuss common liability issues and how you can avoid them. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m., and the seminar will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Cost is $39.99 for London Property Management Association members and $79.99 for nonmembers. Visit www.lpma.ca for information. Residential Tenancies Act Refresher Course – May 2 Ottawa, Ontario The Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario is offering a halfday refresher course on the Residential Tenancies Act on May 2 in Ottawa at the Hampton Inn & Conference Centre from 8:30 to noon (breakfast at 8 a.m.). For details, see the April 18 listing, or visit www.frpo.org. Spring Conference – May 4 & 5 Prince George, British Columbia The Manufactured Home Park Owners’ Alliance of BC welcomes park owners to its Spring Conference, May 4th and 5th. Meet fellow park owners and enjoy chats and snacks with a no-host bar. On May 5th, Al Kemp, CEO of the Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC, and Suzanne Bell from the Residential Tenancy Branch, will discuss and provide expert tips about pressing industry topics. Admission to Saturday’s event is $25. The Spring Conference will be held at the Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick Street, Prince George. For more information, email email@example.com.
Presentations & General Meeting – May 8 London, Ontario The London Property Management Association will meet on May 8, at 6:45 p.m. at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn, 591 Wellington Road, London. Guest speakers’ topics include dealing with a bed bug problem, reducing electrical consumption for lighting, and demystifying solar energy programs. The first meeting is free for prospective members. More information about this and other upcoming events, go the calendar of events page of LPMA website at www.lpma.ca. Fortis BC Seminar – May 8 Vancouver, British Columbia Learn how to save money with energy rebate programs through this Fortis BC seminar on May 8. The seminar is from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Suite 203 - 1847 West Broadway in Vancouver. Visit www.bcaoma.com for information. Dinner and Disabilities Legislation Seminar – May 9 Kitchener, Ontario The Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association (WRAMA) is hosting an educational seminar on May 9, at Golf’s Steak House and Seafood in Kitchener. Laura McKeen from Cohen Highley LLP and Agnes MacKillop of the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario will discuss how the new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) will affect landlords. The event is free for members and $5 for guests. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and is optional ($26). The educational seminar will follow at 8 p.m. Guests do not have to attend the dinner to attend the seminar. For more information, call 519-748-0703. Dinner and Speaker Presentation - May 9 Hamilton, Ontario The Hamilton and District Apartment Association invites you to a dinner and speaker presentation on May 9. The sit-down dinner will commence at 6:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. guests will hear from industry experts on topics of interest to rental housing providers. Members can attend for $30. Non-members can attend the dinner for $40 and educational session for $10. The event will be held at the Waterfront Centre in Hamilton, 555 Bay Street. For information, contact 289-440-3185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Landlord WEBCON 2012 – May 10 Toronto, Ontario The Landlord WEBCON conference will focus on online technology and internet marketing as it applies to the apartment industry. The event will kick off with a presentation by best-selling author Mitch Joel, who will explore how mobile marketing and the untethering of the internet will impact the apartment industry. Other presentation topics will include: prevailing trends in digital media, creating cost-effective rental traffic through online content development, real estate photography that attracts tenants, email marketing, and many more. Reserve your tickets today at www.landlordwebcon.ca. Best Practices for Landlords 101 – May 22 Vancouver, British Columbia Designed from the experience of countless landlords and managers, this seminar will show how the pros screen tenants, and how to have a successful tenancy. Topics covered will include, establishing tenant criteria, showing your rental units, taking applications, conducting due diligence, privacy and information protection, checking references, credit checks, avoiding discrimination, completing a tenancy agreement, rules and regulations during a tenancy, and pets in tenancies. Cost is $45 for members of the British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association and $90 for non-members. Visit www.bcaoma.com for information. CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2012 – June 13, 14 & 15 Vancouver, British Columbia The CFAA 2012 Canadian Rental Housing Conference will be held from June 13 to 15 in downtown Vancouver. Leading professionals and rental housing executives will share their knowledge, advice and expertise on topics relating to Rental Housing Investment (on June 14), and Facilities Management and Tenant Relations (on June 15). The 2012 Conference will begin with a Building Innovations Bus Tour (on June 13). The British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA) will combine its annual Dinner Boat Cruise with the CFAA Conference to provide an enhanced networking experience on June 14. Please mark June 13 to 15, 2012, on your calendars. The 2012 CFAA Conference should not be missed! For more details, please visit www.cfaa-fcapi.org, or see the flyer enclosed.
Rental Housing Business 41
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RHB Magazine - Rental Housing Magazine