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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/

 

 

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!


Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge and encourage equality ❤ Join us in celebrating women’s achievements this International Women’s Day! #iwd2021 #choosetochallenge

 


How to Screen a Prospective New Tenant

As a real estate investor, the importance of screening your tenants cannot be underestimated. The very last thing you want to do is to lease to a troublesome tenant who will have a negative effect on your investment. It’s for this reason that tenant checks in Canada are essential.

Female Realtor Shaking Hands With Couple Interested In Buying House

The process of screening a potential tenant doesn’t have to be difficult. Therefore, it’s best to adhere to the following steps when selecting an appropriate tenant for your property:

1. Request an application

To start, every prospective tenant should complete a formal application.

The applicant should be made aware and agree by signing the form that a background check, criminal history report and/or credit check will be requested, and that authorisation for such checks is being granted.

At the very least, the following information is required:

  • Financial information, including bank accounts and credit cards, balances and other major monthly payments
  • Current income level (basic salary plus bonus’ or other add-ons)
  • Current and previous employers
  • Contact information for previous landlords with addresses, details of rent paid and reasons for leaving
  • Number of occupants and number and type of pets
  • Personal references, including names, length of acquaintance and phone numbers

 

2. Arrange a tenant check  

After you have pre-screened applicants and narrowed down tenants who meet your requirements, the next step is a credit check. This will reveal details about the tenant’s previous credit history, going back up to 10 years. It’s possible to obtain a credit report and credit score using the Equifax Identity Report.

When the credit report is available, key items to consider include:

  • Credit history (this includes history of late payments, charged-off credit card accounts or major issues or delinquencies, such as bankruptcy)
  • Current debt (including high credit card balances, major loans for a car or the need for alimony payments or other unpaid debts)

 

3. Perform a background check

A background check can be arranged by using the prospective tenant’s social security number and such tenant verification services  will reveal details of:

  • Evictions from other properties
  • Any criminal record
  • Public records to see if tenant is involved in a legal battle, or has been sued in the past (eg. for unpaid rent, unpaid child support or another serious financial matter)

Many Canadian landlords are subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which has recent updated guidelines to clarify landlord rights and responsibilities.

  

5. Ask for references

Two of the main references to seek are from the tenant’s former landlord(s) and current or past employers, with key questions being:

  • Would you rent an apartment to this tenant in the future?
  • Does the tenant owe you any money or have a history of late payments?
  • Did the tenant cause any major damage in their last unit?
  • Did you repay the security deposit with or without deductions when the tenants moved out?
  • Did the tenant disrupt the neighbours or cause any major issues whilst in the unit?

 

For the tenant’s employer:

  • Is the tenant a current employee? If so, from when and on what contractual terms?
  • Does the tenant have a steady, reliable income source? If so, can this be verified?

 

 6. Interview the tenant

The Fair Housing Act stipulates that landlords cannot discriminate based upon disability, family status, national origin, race, religion or sex. You can still ask reasonable questions either in a phone or face-to face interview with the tenant, such as:

  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have any pets? If so, how many and what are they?
  • What is your typical work day? Do you work night shifts or odd hours?
  • Do you plan on getting a roommate in the future or have any friends or relatives who frequently spend the night in your home?

 

Our team can help

To mitigate your risks as a landlord, it’s integral to screen every potential tenant — as no one wants to go through the hassles and process of evicting a tenant. Sometimes, instinct counts as much as the hard facts from the tenant’s credit report and background information.

In any event, care is needed to ensure you do not break any privacy laws in the relevant Landlord and Tenant Act.

If you are looking for assistance in finding tenants or with tenant screening, why not give us at Emerald Management and Realty a call today? You can also contact us by email.

We look forward to hearing from you!


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