Currently browsing: General


Your Responsibilities As A Condo Owner

When you own a condo, you can reap the convenient benefits of a maintenance-free lifestyle similar to that of apartment living but you have your name on the title — all while sharing ownership of the common areas. Amenities are also often abundant for most units as most condominiums are relatively new to our market, with air conditioning, landscaping, modern kitchen appliances and laundry included in most properties. 

Condo living is available for everyone: from first time homeowners, working professionals, families and seniors. There are some communities or buildings that are childfree, so be sure to do your research!

Usually, Condo Board of Directors, (as it’s commonly referred to in Alberta) are elected by you and the rest of the owners of the condominium corporation community — and must be composed of at least two-thirds owners or mortgagees within your community. The Condo Board typically sees management from a governance perspective and leaves the day-to-day operations to a property management company.

However, as with most living situations, there are caveats of owning a condo. Living in a condominium unit isn’t like owning a single-family home.

Here are just a few of the regulations that you’ll be expected to follow:

Follow your condo’s, bylaws and rules

Condominium owners are subject to contributions (commonly referred to as condo fees) — which include costs for insurance, professional tasks, exterior repairs, maintenance of items such as siding and windows and landscaping, and funding the Reserve Fund. Failure to pay them on time, can result in being charged interest, or in extreme cases: legal issues or even foreclosure.

Condo owners are also responsible for looking over and understanding all documentation on bylaws provided to them by their Board of Directors. This  includes  important resources like board meeting minutes, insurance certificates and notices advising of specific changes in your community’s day-to-day operations. Voting and the administration of the Owner vs. Board of Directors is outlined in the Condominium Act of Alberta. 

 

While your province’s specific guidelines can vary, common bylaws include condo owner insurance requirements, pet restrictions — commonly weight restrictions or certain breeds disallowed. Noise level restrictions are also common, with quiet hours sometimes enforced. 

Failure to comply with these bylaws and regulations can and will have consequences for you as a condominium owner , so we suggest you ensure that you’re knowledgeable on all bylaws and any new developments with your particular building or condominium community. 

Repair and maintain the unit

Some may not be fully aware, but you are 100% responsible for all plumbing, appliances, fixtures and wiring in your condo unit (unless its defined as common or management property. Another good reminder to understand what is in your bylaws!)There’s a common misconception that just because you pay condominium fees or perhaps live in an apartment style building that your internal maintenance will be covered. Be sure to consistently keep your unit in good working order, with all plumbing and wiring issues attended to as soon as is reasonably possible. 

Other responsibilities

Your guests can also be subject to regulation — specifically, the number of nights a guest is allowed to stay over consecutively. Rules regarding guests have been a source of light controversy, but this is mainly in place to avoid too much noise or as a reminder that owners are responsible for their guests when on common or managed property. Some legislative bodies have also placed restrictions on numbers of people allowed during COVID-19 as a health and safety measure.

Your exterior space can  also subject to some restrictions — particularly hanging clothing to dry, barbequing and hanging decorations.  

Most communities have regulations on renting your , but most allow it on the basis that certain standards are met and to be in compliance with Human Rights legislation. In the same vein, use of your condo as an AirBnb usually is not permitted, although specifics on this can be verified with your Board of Directors. 

Call your Calgary property management experts today!

Our team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is more than ready to help Condo Boards and Condominium Corporations address their Condominium management needs. . We service Condominiums  in Calgary, Airdrie & Area Our property management offerings can be tailored to fit your condo community.

Give us a call at (403) 237-8600 or contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your next steps!


Top Tips for New Landlords

Getting your first investment property and transitioning from being a tenant or an owner to a landlord is an exciting change! However, first-time landlords might find that getting the right tenant and navigating through the rental process can be much more complicated than it first seemed.

Here are some of the tops tips for new landlords to keep in mind when renting out their first property.

 

Screen Tenants Thoroughly

Screening tenants is probably the most important stage because making the right choice can set you up with a long-lasting and beneficial relationship. Making the wrong choice can lead to problems and unexpected costs.  Errors in judgement do happen as human behavior can be challenging to predict — but taking the time to screen prospective tenants is worth its weight in gold!

Assessing whether or not your tenant is able to pay rent in time is a priority and there are legitimate ways to go about this. Asking questions about employment is a good start. Reference letters from previous landlords can also offer quite extensive insights. Finally, checking their credit history can provide a clear picture as to whether or not they can cover the rent. 

In addition to financial inquiries, there are other questions landlords should ask to see if the tenant is the right match. These include:

  • How long tenants have lived in their previous home
  • If they pay their rent on time
  • What their reasons are for moving out
  • How many people they will be living with
  • If the tenants smoke
  • If they have pets

Another important inquiry to check is to see if the tenant has received their full security deposit at their previous residence and, if not, what sort of deductions they incurred. A quick online search can also be performed to see if they have had any issues or have left negative reviews because of being evicted, being charged for not cleaning, having outstanding rent, etc. when having moved out from their last residence.

 

Familiarize and Follow Appropriate Laws and Regulations

The terms of rents are regulated by rental agreements as well as applicable laws, such as the Residential Tenancies Act. These regulations define landlord rights and obligations as to:

  • Making necessary repairs and maintenance
  • Providing for uninterrupted supply of utilities
  • Timely notices
  • Rent increases
  • Evictions
  • Security deposit

 

Although many of these regulations are common, some of these may vary by province. For example, in Alberta, landlords can use the security deposit to cover the costs of damages or cleaning when tenants move out. This would not be allowed in Ontario. 

A licensed property management company will be aware of the local regulations and be able to provide the right expertise and relationships with attorneys to ensure compliance.

 

Take Advantage of Extra Income Opportunities

As any rented property is an investment, landlords should maximize all of its opportunities. For example, separate storage spaces are great amenities for tenants with bikes/many belongings and should be charged extra. Other opportunities include shed, garage, or parking spaces. 

Professional property managers will be knowledgeable of current market conditions and can assist you in maximizing your rental income potential.

 

Know What Resources Are Available to Landlords

Landlords can get more valuable information and advice when participating in landlord associations available in their province. These non-profit organizations were created with the purpose of educating landlords about their legal rights, providing them with the best strategies and showcasing any available opportunities.

Another option is to hire a professional property manager who will take care of most issues while providing valuable tips to new landlords. Having a real estate professional by your side when renting out for the first time can help you build confidence and experience.

 

Contact Us Today!

At Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., we have been assisting landlords and providing property management services for several decades. Our professional team works with apartment units, houses, condominium corporations and commercial property.

We are happy to provide you the full gamut of our inclusive services — such as more landlord tips, tenant screening, rental agreements and settling any issues which may arise during the lease. Don’t hesitate to contact us today — we will be happy to bring you the right tenants and peace of mind.


COVID19 Update Mandatory Mask Bylaw

Mandatory Mask Bylaw

On August 1, 2020 the Calgary temporary mandatory masks bylaw comes into effect.  This bylaw requires the wearing of masks or face coverings in any indoor space that the public has access.  Businesses are also required to post signage where applicable along with maintaining a safe work environment.   

As we continue to work together to help flatten the curve in Calgary, a sign requiring the use of a mask is posted at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s front entry as the main reception area could be perceived as a public area.  Current social distancing and sanitizing protocols remain in effect for the protection of our team and clients.  

We understand that some people may be unable to wear a mask due to various medical reasons.  This is a situation that we will address with kindness and understanding.  That being said, our team understands that it is important to be in compliance with this bylaw for the safeguard of fellow team members, clients and customers.  Everyone’s support and cooperation as we work with this new bylaw is most appreciated.  

Our goal at the onset of Covid-19 was to keep our team and clients safe, healthy and working.  As we enter this next phase, wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene, maintaining good health and wellness,  in addition to remaining diligent to the habits already developed continues to be important.  Our team is aware that when it is not possible to maintain social distancing in accordance to Alberta Health Services recommendations, a mask is required when in public, on a job site and when working with customers.  

In support of this temporary bylaw, half a million masks have been made available for free around the city of Calgary.  Free masks in packages of 10 are available at select recreation centres, Calgary Transit stations, bus terminals, and animal shelters. 

For more information on this Bylaw and for helpful tips to help limit the spread, visit: 

 COVID19 information continues to be fast moving.  Please let us know if you have any concerns or notice a sanitation issue in properties being managed so that we can work together to minimize the risk of transmission.    

A big thank you, from our team to all of our clients, customers, trade members and third party contractors, for your support and collaboration during these difficult times! Stay well!


Are Condos a Good Investment for Rental Property?

Condos seem to be all the rage these days. Modern designs, compact living spaces, attractive prices — it all sounds great. But once you break down all things considered, the real question arises: are condos good investment properties? 

First, we recommend determining if a condo is a good fit for you. Then, you should thoroughly explore the pros and cons of condo investing. Sounds like a daunting task? We are here to help! 

Should I Invest in Condos or Houses?

Determining your objectives, project timeline and budget is vital to the success of your investment property. Additionally, a variety of factors should be considered — including the market, location and your personal preferences before making a decision. All of this combined will help you figure out if a condo or house is a better fit for you.

Understand Your Target Market

The type of renters you will attract with a condo versus a house is quite different. 

With a house, you’ll likely find families who have more members and personal property. You should seek renters who are willing to maintain the home to some extent. They will become the property’s primary caregivers. 

Condos tend to attract single people or couples who live a more minimal lifestyle. The condo corporation will usually offer building maintenance and other services. This means your renters will not need to assume as much responsibility in that regard. 

We highly recommended that you screen all potential tenants, regardless of your property type. 

Advantages to Condo Investing 

Less Costly

Condos are typically far cheaper investment opportunities than houses. Having said that, every market and location is different — so you should always make sure to do your research. Condos might be a more affordable way to get started in the rental market for many investors.  

Less Maintenance and Fewer Bills to Manage

Since condos are smaller in size, they have fewer maintenance tasks and lower costs. It can be more practical and successful to take on a condo rental property, especially for your first experience. 

Condo fees generally cover some of the expenses you would normally be charged with. This may include cable, water, snow removal, landscaping, garbage, etc. Although you are still financially responsible for these services, you do not need to worry about managing the monthly bills for them.  

Great Locations

Condos tend to be in areas where people want to be — downtown centres, trendy districts and vacation hot spots. These areas usually contain a higher density of condos, which can certainly make your investment property more desirable to renters.  

Disadvantages to Condo Investing 

Condo Fees

There is usually a condo board  that sets a monthly fee that condo owners are required to pay. It is important to understand what exactly this fee includes and to factor this into your operating costs.  

Restrictions

If you are hoping to purchase a condo and turn it into a rental property, you’ll want to make sure you are permitted to do so. Some condo corporations  have restrictions in place and could even require a deposit.. We suggest doing your legwork on this one — it is well worth the effort. It is extremely important that you read your condominium bylaws and that tenants are also given a copy. Often, you are responsible for your tenant’s actions.

Financing Obstacles

Lenders tend to be more inclined to approve financing for houses rather than condos. With condos, lenders factor in different variables when making these decisions. This may include the occupancy rate of the building, its delinquency rate and possible ongoing litigations.  

Need help finding or maintaining a rental property?

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has been servicing the Calgary area for more than 40 years. We have experience with condos, apartments, houses and commercial spaces. 

We can assist both tenants and property owners and we specialize in catering our services to each customer’s specific needs. If you think we can help, don’t hesitate to contact us today!


1 2 3 24