A Conversation about Safer Spaces

November is Family Violence Prevention Month. Those assisting victims in our city have reported that the number of people accessing help from domestic abuse has doubled since the start of the pandemic.

Prevention is the key word when it comes to domestic violence.

There are many things we can do to become aware of family violence and prevent it from continuing to occur.  Join Lauretta Enders, BA, CPM with Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. and Maggie MacKillop with HomeFront Calgary to discuss the Safer Spaces Act and the Safe Spaces Legislation — its impact on landlords and property managers, the opportunities it provides tenants seeking support, and how you can make a difference.

IMPORTANT: If you’re at risk of domestic violence, you don’t have to wait until you receive your certificate before moving out. Call 911 if you’re in immediate danger. Call 310-1818 for information on supports available to you.

“Nobody has to do this alone. Being a property manager or landlord, we don’t have to be the experts… If someone’s coming forward with this disclosure, it is important to believe them and do what we can on our level to help and support, or refer them on to the people who are the experts and can really help a family or individual at such a serious time of crisis.” 

– Lauretta Enders, BA, CPM, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.

Background to the Safer Spaces Legislation

Residential Tenancies (Safer Spaces for Victims of Domestic Violence) Amendment Act was passed in August 2016. This legislation, Termination of Tenancy (Domestic Violence) Regulation, and amendments to the RTA Ministerial Regulation, were proclaimed. These changes to the RTA allow victims of domestic violence to end a tenancy early and without financial penalty. This legislation applies in cases where: if the tenancy continues: the tenant’s safety is at risk, a dependant child’s safety is at risk; or a a protected adult’s safety is at risk.

How does someone obtain a Safer Spaces Certificate?

Either the victim, or someone acting on their behalf with their consent, must follow these steps to get a certificate.  As outlined on the Government of Alberta’s website:

Step 1: Get a supporting document

To request a certificate, you’ll need to provide one of the following documents:

1. An existing court order, such as:

  • Emergency Protection Order
  • Queen’s Bench Protection Order
  • Peace Bond
  • Restraining Order
  • Other relevant court order

OR

2. A Certified Professional Statement

This is a signed statement from a certified professional declaring the tenant is a victim of domestic violence. To obtain one:

  1. Download and fill out the certified professional statement 
  2. Then, get it signed by a certified professional. See the list of professionals who can sign it for you.

Step 2: Send in your document

Send your contact information and document by:

Step 3: After you send your request

Receiving your certificate

A certificate will be issued to you within 7 days, upon receipt of your request and supporting documentation. A Safer Spaces Advisor will contact you directly to discuss the delivery option that works best for you.

Giving notice

Once you receive the certificate, serve it to your landlord – along with a signed, written notice to vacate – in person or by registered mail.

Notice must be served at least 28 days before you move out, and within 90 days after the date on which the certificate was issued.

The landlord will then terminate your tenancy agreement on the date stated in the notice, without financial penalty.

About HomeFront Calgary

Since the inception of HomeFront in 2000, domestic violence re-offense rates in Calgary have been cut in half and victim engagement in the justice process has more than doubled. Victims are safer, offenders are being held accountable and families are being given their best chance at a future free from domestic violence. 

HomeFront’s mission is to create  safe community by eliminating domestic violence through direct client services, justice coordination and facilitated community action. 

HomeFront’s sign to help recognize the warning signs of domestic abuse

“There are several signs to be mindful of when interacting with residents and rental properties that may indicate abuse is occurring:

  • Repeated late payment of rent 
  • Noticeable injuries or signs of cover-up including sunglasses, makeup, or clothing 
  • Change in tenant’s behaviour 
  • Fewer visitors or going out less 
  • Expressions of fear 
  • Noise complaints or concerns expressed by other tenants 
  • Property damage, such as holes punched in walls

By being aware of this complex social problem and informed of the signs of domestic abuse, landlords and property managers can help provide an educated response to residents experiencing violence and refer to them all necessary avenues of support.

“We have a saying at HomeFront which is ‘never miss an opportunity to support a victim in their time of need because it may be the only time they reach out.’ You could be the difference between living a life of safety and health or continued impact by domestic violence. It takes everybody doing their part. It’s as simple as asking someone if they’re okay and listening. You don’t have to be the expert; there are many resources out there.”

– Maggie MacKillop, HomeFront”

For more information visit:  The Domestic Violence Toolkit for Landlords at: https://homefrontcalgary.com/safer-spaces-act/

 

 

Yes, There’s a Right Way to Increase Your Tenant’s Rent

The pandemic rent freeze is coming to an end in many parts of the country, and you might be thinking about whether or not you want to increase your tenant’s rent. If your tenant is looking to renew their lease, you are in a good position to go ahead and raise their rent. However, keep in mind that we are still in the throes of the pandemic, so it is essential to consider and be empathetic to your tenant’s circumstances. 

 

As a property manager, it is our responsibility to communicate effectively with our tenants and ensure everyone is on the same page. Of course, as a property owner, you have expenses as well. With the proper research and communication, both you and your tenants will be in an advantageous position. 

 

Conducting a rent increase doesn’t have to be a tense and stressful process; there is a right way to increase the rent that will promote respect and professional interactions with the end goal of leaving you and your tenants at ease.

Understand the Law

Each province has its own set of rental laws. In Alberta, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) applies to people who are renting and those involved in the rental process, including property management. As a landlord or property manager, it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and tenants’ rights.

 

The RTA provides guidelines on how much a landlord can increase the rent by and the appropriate timeline to do so. There are several stipulations that the landlord can agree upon with their tenants before signing a lease, including a future rent increase. It is also vital that you review this before presenting the tenant with the rental increase notice to make sure the increase complies with applicable laws.

 

Tip: Currently, in Alberta, there is no limit on how much the rent can be increased.  However, the property manager aka landlord can only increase the rent after a year has passed from: (1) the start of the tenancy, or (2) when the last rent increase was made.  

Know the Market Rent

Speak with various property management companies in your surrounding area and gauge the average rent price for the neighborhood. You can look at other apartments for rent in the region and inquire that way as well. You will want to ensure your increase makes sense. If it is too high, you run the risk of losing tenants.

 

Make sure you inform your tenants that your rent increase is in line with others in the market. Open communication is vital. While the occurrences of being asked by a tenant for a rent increase are few and far between, if you explain the reason for the rent increase, it does help if the tenant understands that they are in the know.

 

The Importance of Proper Notice and Timing

 

Giving your tenant proper notice is crucial when conducting a rent increase. Prepare a written statement to inform them and ensure that you include all the details and possible incentives. If you can provide or the market dictates, a small discount for early lease renewal, it might serve you to consider it. 

 

If a tenant has a periodic tenancy (which has no end date), the landlord must give the tenant a signed written notice of a rent increase. The notice is only legally required to state the date of the increase and it must be signed and dated by the landlord or landlord’s agent aka property manager.

For example: 

  • if a tenant has a monthly periodic tenancy (month-to-month lease), the tenant must receive at least 3 tenancy months notice in order to increase the rent.  
  • If a tenant has a weekly periodic tenancy (week-to-week lease), the tenant must receive at least 12 tenancy weeks notice of a rent increase.

For any other length of a periodic tenancy, the property management company and/or the landlord must give at least 90 days written notice. 

Caveat: Fixed Term Leases

In Alberta, a fixed term residential tenancy lease has an end date.  As such, based on the Residential Tenancies Act, the property manager and/or landlord has no requirement to give the tenant written notice of a rent increase ahead of time.  However … in the spirit of positive communication, more communication on this topic … the better!

A good rule of thumb is to provide your tenants with approximately 60 days’ notice.  This gives them time to prepare financially and enough notice to make arrangements if they are unable to meet the new financial requirements. 

Even though there is no notice required, there are still certain rules the landlord and tenant must follow when it comes to fixed term leases.

 

 We Can Help

 

The professionals at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. know how important it is that you have an open and respectable relationship with your tenants. We hope the tips that we have provided give you the confidence to approach this potentially stressful but necessary task with ease. 

 

As one of the top property management companies in Calgary with close to 50 years in tenant placement and management, you can be assured we can offer you sound advice on the right way to handle a rental increase. To learn more about our residential property management services or discuss the management of your property, give us a call today at 403-237-8600 or contact us through our website.

 


Keep calm and Movember on with Emerald

It is almost November, pumpkin spice season and sweater weather is in FULL swing!  Temperatures are cooling off,  fall clean ups are underway … and most importantly: It’s about to get hairy for Movember!

 

The team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is hyped for moustache season and connect to do good and save lives by raising funds and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

For the sixth year in a row, the #EmeraldMos will host team events to help raise awareness and money in support of important health issues.  Mid-October our team’s commitment will be marked by a “sign” to kick up the Mo’ments taking place throughout the month. 

Follow Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.s Facebook page and Instagram page for the announcement of THE “sign” and team updates.  Moreover, this marks the commitment of our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas goal to seize the challenge and make an impact on the face of men’s health.  As they most importantly, do their part to make a difference for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. 

If growing a moustache isn’t your thing, but you want to support the cause – just follow the link and make a donation on our page!

Thank you for your support in making an impact for men’s health!

 


Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is a leading licensed property management brokerage of rental housing, mixed-use real estate assets and condominium corporations.  Dedication to the community for almost 50 years, the team at Emerald is engaged to foster a vibrant corporate culture that ensures equal opportunity and well-being for all team members in a dynamic and rewarding workplace.  To learn more about Emerald’s commitment to community, visit our Community Involvement page or contact us today!


Benefits of hiring a Property Manager

Investing in a condominium or a single family home is just the first step of becoming a landlord; it is best to maximize your potential for higher profits by hiring a licensed property management company. By delegating the painstaking task of managing your property, you avoid so many potential headaches. 

Read on to learn more about the numerous benefits of using a property manager

Higher Quality Tenants

Your investment in a rental property will go much further if you have high-quality tenants. This means they are dependable individuals who will stay on the property for an extended period, take care of it, and pay their rental fees on time. 

By employing a licensed property management company, you can rely on a skilled property manager to inform you of who is and is not a suitable candidate for renting a property. Furthermore, having excellent renters helps you avoid major issues such as late rent payments, property damage, or even legal concerns.  For more tips on spotting fake tenant references … read more!  

Shorter Vacancy Periods

An important aspect of owning a rental building is to make sure the residences are occupied as much as possible. You want to squeeze out as much income as you can, and one of the best ways to do that is by relying on a property management company. Rather than dealing with the headache of always finding the right tenant, an experienced manager will do all the heavy lifting for you. 

The rental market is competitive; therefore, it is essential to price your properties correctly and pick the appropriate tenant. Your property manager will be equipped with a wealth of knowledge and experience to address these issues plus help with marketing and showings, thus granting you fewer chances for vacant residences. 

Less Legal Problems

Once again, employing a property manager usually leads to better, high-quality tenants. Therefore, you end up with fewer legal problems. 

While you are spending money on hiring a property management company, it is essential to note how the money you spend now will save you from potentially higher costs if you are caught in a legal battle with a tenant. If you find yourself in a legal dilemma or having a problem with boundaries by some misfortune, your management company will have the backing of their legal team to help you. 

Efficient Rent Collection Process

There is no need to stress about rent collection because your property manager can easily set up an automated system to receive rent payments efficiently. You also get the added benefit of not having to deal with anyone who’s late with their rent payment. Your property manager can take the brunt of the work in confronting any tenants who are behind on payments. 

Lower Maintenance and Repair Costs

Looking after an investment property is a full-time job, and we doubt you would want to split your valuable time between managing your rental property, spending time with your family, and going to work. As the property owner, you want to relax and not stress too much about maintenance and repair costs. 

Having a property manager to always keep an eye on things and tackle any issues before they become too big to handle is a surefire way of keeping your investment profitable and maintaining its longevity for many years to come. A property management company also has the perks of having a network of trusted companies and vetted partners who will always do an excellent job with any needed repairs or maintenance. 

Contact Us Today

We are one of the leading property management companies in the Calgary area and have been experts in our field for close to 50 years.  Profit from our experience and contact us today for all your property management needs. You can call us at 403-237-8600 or send us an email.


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