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Frequently Asked Questions about Condominium Manager Licensing

Condominium manager licensing is now in effect in Alberta!

If you are a condo board member or involved in the condominium management industry, you are now aware that effective December 1, 2021, any person, or company providing condominium management services, must be licensed with the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA).

This is an exciting advancement in the property management landscape that took shape after consultation on condominium manager licensing that started back in 2015.  The decision to license and develop educational requirements is in recognition of the specialized work condominium managers undertake.   The desired outcome is ultimately for the benefit of and to protect condo owners, consumers, and professional condominium management by ensuring consistent professional standards across the condominium management industry.

Frequently asked questions about condominium manager and condominium brokerage licensing:

Who is RECA and why is this important for condominium corporations?

The Real Estate Council of Alberta or RECA is the independent governing authority that sets, regulates, and enforces standards for residential real estate, commercial real estate, property management, condominium management, and mortgage brokerage licensees under Alberta’s Real Estate Act.1

Essentially its mandate is to: 

  • protect consumers
  • provide services to facilitate the business of licensees
  • protect against, investigate, detect, and suppress fraud as it relates to the business of licensees

“Consumer protection is at the heart of RECA’s mandate and is the main purpose behind this licensing initiative,” explains Don Newell, Chair of RECA’s Residential Property Manager Industry Council. “Though many condominium management companies have operated professionally and successfully in Alberta for years, their clients now have the added protection of a regulated environment.”2

This is important for condominium corporations because it provides consumer protection with the added assurance that licensed professionals enjoy lifelong learning and education, in addition to the experience needed to provide quality service.  Under RECA’s mandate, the goal and desired outcome is that licensed condominium managers and brokerages will be less likely to cause harm to consumers. 

The Residential Property Manager Industry Council sets the rules subject to approval of the Minister of Service Alberta under the governance structure for RECA, for condominium management.  Enforcement of the Real Estate Act, the regulations and rules for the condominium industry will be completed by RECA complaints or issues are brought to its attention.

What is “condominium management”?

The Real Estate Act (reference Section 1(1)(e2) defines condominium management services to be “the exercising of a power or the performing of a duty of a condominium corporation on behalf of the condominium corporation including, but not limited to:

  • collecting, holding, or disbursing, or attempting to collect, hold or disburse, contributions levied by the condominium corporation or other amounts levied by or due to the corporation under the Condominium Property Act,
  • enforcing the bylaws or rules of the corporation,
  • negotiating or binding contracts on behalf of the corporation, and
  • supervising employees or contractors hired or engaged by the corporation but does not include any activity excluded by the Condominium Property Act, this Act, or the regulations under either Act.”3

Why does this matter for condo owners, condo boards and condominium corporations?

The professionalization of an industry is integral to the elements of a professional condominium manager and include the following characteristics:

  • Specialized knowledge
  • Competency
  • Honesty & integrity
  • Accountability
  • Self-regulation

These are examples of desired values that benefit condominium communities and for condo boards as it ultimately increases consumer trust in the real estate industry.

Licensed RECA condominium managers (aka Condominium Manager Associate) have meet the education and experience requirements to provide condominium management services. RECA is charged to regulate individuals and condo management companies and ensure that they follow standards of practice and meet operating and reporting requirements.

What about a code of ethics for condominium managers?

RECA has established a Standards of Practice which is like a code of ethics.  The Standards outline responsibilities, prohibitions, and practices for condominium managers.  Record keeping and financial management of condominium corporations as part of the Standards of Practice.

What is the difference between condo management and property management?

Based on the Real Estate Act and its definitions, condominium management is a separate activity and industry from property management.  The distinction has to do with relationships.

For example, condominium managers enter relationships with condominium boards and perform condominium management activities on behalf of their client boards.  In contrast property managers enter relationships with landlords and renters, negotiating leases, holding rental security deposits, and performing leasing related activities for their landlord or renter clients.

Individuals and companies can practice both condo management and property management – just under separate brokerages.  The same company can operate a condominium brokerage while also providing property management services.  Each brokerage will have its own licensed brokerage and can share ownership.

Timelines and Conditions of Licensing

  • Education: RECA has mandated that a license is conditional on the successful completion of industry specific exams and courses.  Courses are currently in production.  It is anticipated that courses will be open shortly. All condominium managers looking to conduct condominium management services in Alberta are to have their conditional license by December 1st, 2021
  • Certified Criminal Record Check must be completed
  • Condominium managers and brokers will be required to go through the pre-licensing exam challenge / education by November 30, 2022. Applicants will have different exam/education conditions placed on their licence depending on their individual circumstance
  • Apply with required documentation to RECA for review and approval.

Note: There will be three condominium management courses provided by third-party course providers (not by RECA):

  1. Fundamentals of Condominium Management,
  2. Practice of Condominium Management, and the
  3. Condominium Manager Broker Program.

The courses you must take, or challenge the exams for, will depend on your current licence status with RECA, your experience, and whether you oversee a condominium manager firm.

Consumers can perform a quick search to see if your condo manager is licensed using the Find a Licensee tool on RECA’s website.

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has been a licensed brokerage for several decades with RECA and excited about this advancement in the real estate industry. We are proud of our legacy of providing responsive and licensed property management services to rental properties, commercial owners, and condominium corporations.  Our system and processes have been developed to bring peace of mind and full-service offerings including customized maintenance services, administrative support, leasing and specialized management services. To learn more about our goal to enhance the quality of live by managing and providing great places to live and work, request a management proposal today!

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has provided proven property management solutions to Calgary & Area for close to 50 years.  Its specialized suite of services includes condominium management.  Additionally, the team at Emerald is a licensed brokerage providing professional management services to rental properties, apartment building, commercial and industrial properties, and homeowner associations.   Profit from our experience, contact Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. at www.emeraldmanagement.com or call us at 403-237-8600

 

Footnote:

  1. Legislation & Standards | RECA
  2. December 1, 2021 – Condo manager licences are now required | RECA
  3. Exemptions Announced for Condo Manager Licensing | FIELD LAW

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.


Debunking Popular Property Management Myths

Real estate is a savvy way to invest your money. As the population grows, the demand for homes and apartments continues to grow, so you’ll never have a lack of customers. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, there are over 406,200 renter households in Alberta and over 4 million in Canada at the moment. The number of renter households is projected to rise as more immigrants come into the country and the population increases. 

Now, when it comes to investing in real estate, buying the property is just the initial part. You need to be prepared to manage it along with the tenants. After all, rental properties don’t manage themselves. Managing a property requires a lot of time and effort, both of which most investors don’t have. 

Hiring a property management firm is your best bet, but you’ve probably heard the rumours surrounding the business. We are here to bust the most common myths about property management companies, so you can take advantage of the service for your rental properties.

Myth #1: The Fees will Add Up

The number one myth you’ll come across about property management is that it will cost you an arm and leg. Every property owner is looking to make the most out of their property. They think that by paying a firm to manage the property, they either give up a huge chunk of the revenue or even worse go into a loss. 

Well, you don’t necessarily have to give a huge chunk of the revenue to a property manager. If you are working with a licensed property management, you will have a signed agreement in place. 

Will they charge you a fee? Yes. 

Will the fee be based on the rental revenue? Yes. 

Your property management company is hired to bring peace of mind.  The companies experience, knowledge of the marketplace and experienced team is worth the fee.  (TIP: Speak with your accountant, this expense is probably a deductible expense).  The property management company should also be able to support you in achieving cost deductions based on their purchasing power with the goal to improve your bottom line. 

Working with the right company will end up saving you a lot of time and money. So much so, that the investment will be second to your decision to buy a rental property. 

Myth #2: I Could Lose Control Over my Property

It’s common for property owners to find themselves hesitant to hand over management duties because they are scared they could lose their property to a firm. However, that is not the case. 

Once you choose a firm, you sign a contract with them. The contact will outline each persons duties and obligations. 

Myth #3: I Can Manage the Property Myself

It’s typical for first-time property owners to start off thinking they can easily manage the property. They take the task on themselves, thinking they will end up saving a lot of money. While you might …  there are many responsibilities that come with managing a property. These include:

  • Marketing the property
  • Responding to emergencies in the middle of the night
  • Screening potential renters
  • Rent collection
  • Repairing the property when needed
  • Routine maintenance
  • Dealing with tenants’ issues
  • Eviction of tenants due to non-payment
  • Bookkeeping
  • Reporting
  • … the list goes on!

Maintenance and responsive communication is a major paint point for tenants. Renters want a well-run property. Hiring a reputable property management firm covers all your pain points and you have a team of people working around the clock to deal with these types of things.  As highlighted above, a property management team is armed with proactive and responses services, marketing knowledge and experience necessary. 

Hire a Property Management Company Today!

Property management companies make your life easier by handling all the responsibilities of renting out a property. You won’t have to deal with the headache of handling unexpected tenant issues and routine maintenance. All that would be taken care of for you, making your life remarkably less stressful. 

If you are looking to reap the benefits of using a property manager and profit from the experience of a licensed property management company, contact Emerald Management and Realty at 403-237-8600 or inquire online.

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has served the Calgary & Area community, managing properties for close to 50 years, and have won countless awards in the process. Contact us today for the best property management and peace of mind.


Why do property managers do inspections?

Importance of Property Management Inspections

 

Property Inspections are a key to property management systems and processes … and again this year, it looks like inspections will be completed very differently than they have in the past!  Inspections: pre, during and post COVID-19, continue to evolve while their importance remains relevant as ever.

Rooftop views captured of downtown Calgary during recent condominium property inspection (May 2021)

Moreover, inspections are done for a variety of different purposes and reasons. For example: checking for damages before and after move-ins or move-outs; inspecting work completed by contractors, making sure your property’s first impression meets the grade; and, helping to plan for preventative or necessary repairs.  Likewise, inspections are done on different schedules (ie) weekly, monthly, semi-annually and annually.  It often depends on the purpose and property needs.

Another important purpose for property management inspections are to ensure that you are meeting your insurance obligations when it comes to vacant properties.  For instance, insurance companies can require vacant inspections at certain frequencies depending on the policy.

Ultimately, the goal of any inspection is to protect the equity in your property for the enjoyment of owners and residents. 

Essentially, the purpose of an inspection is to observe conditions, assess maintenance programs and note opportunities for improvement.  Furthermore, they provide a mechanism for reporting back  to property owners and condominium boards.  This helps facilitate conversations to protect that value of the property.  Further, this integral procedure helps a property manager support the owner or condominium board in making informed decisions.  Having knowledge is key in taking a proactive approach and optimizing the occupants use and enjoyment. 

Depending on your property management agreement, property inspection help a board or owner make informed decisions about maintenance requirements and protect the value of their asset. 

Often a condominium community or apartment building will employ a resident manager or building operator to support this mission of conducting regular site inspections. Other times and depending on your budget along with the engagement of your condominium board, committee or owners, everyone can assist with inspections.  Ultimately, everyone’s support as a team vested in the success of your property and being the “eyes and ears” assists to catch property issues and maintenance concerns so that problems can be addressed before they escalate into bigger issues.

Since every property and condominium corporation is unique, it is important to ask your property management company how they inspect the properties they manage and their recommendations on how they can help support effective solutions to meet your expectations that are in-line your budget requirements.

The following are questions to consider when it comes to inspections:

Why do I need regular inspections?

Regular inspections help avoid bigger problems from taking you by surprise. Regular inspections are great for inspecting common areas and the exterior.  With COVID19 and everyone’s safety top of mind, the inspection of interior spaces is being handled a little more creatively.  The use of ZOOM, FaceTime and Video Conferencing have proven fantastic tools when quarantine concerns and social distancing rules apply.  Being flexible and resourceful is more important than ever – ‘where there is a will, there is a way”.

How often do you inspect the exterior of the property? 

TIP: A drive by inspection can be done frequently.  While it is less formal, this type of inspection may be very acceptable for frequent visits. 

A full-scale exterior inspection is great for seasonal changes or after large infrastructure repairs. Typically, a full building or 100% inspection is done on an annual basis, but some areas or features of your property or condominium corporation may need to be checked on more frequently.

Again, this is something you can schedule quarterly or when session changes – basically at an interval that makes sense for your property.  Do you have a goal around capital expenditures? Are you reviewing potential improvements relating to your reserve fund report? Go through your list, bring along your smart phone and start walking!  Check off items that are in good shape and make detailed notes of anything that needs fixing.  You can always prioritize a plan of action later … and don’t forget to take pictures!  Your property management company will have tools and a process in place to assist with their internal controls and reports when it comes to reviewing needs and arranging for repairs and maintenance.

Who completes the property inspection?

As noted above, the property inspection is integral to the successful management of any property and often a responsibility assigned to the property management company.  Inspections can be completed by the property manager, however; they can also be completed by the broker, team manager, support staff or valued contractors. 

Inspections are valuable tools to assess what needs to be done to keep your property in great condition, maintain value and potentially reduce the need for significant repairs. Sometimes, you may feel that more frequent inspections are required to support your goal with respect to the overall resident experience and asset appreciation. 

A successful inspection requires a property manager to be watchful and observant, looking at property element with scrutiny balanced with the understanding of the owners goals and budget instructions. 

While this may be out of the scope of your property management services, depending on your needs and expectations, you may wish to add-on additional inspections for a set fee or may look at engaging a professional inspection company.

What’s on a property inspection checklist?

This varies from property to property and depends on the type of inspection you are completing.

For example, a bareland condominium corporation or a single family home would have different elements compared to an apartment building or hi-rise condominium.  Larger properties will have more complex mechanical checks supported by preventative maintenance programs and annual certifications. 

Depending on the type of property your property manager is inspecting, the following is a quick sample of what a property manager would look at during a routine inspection:

Windows

  • Check to see if there are any signs of moisture
  • Do opening and closing devices work
  • Are there any visible window seal issues?
  • Are the windows clean
  • Are moisture issues evident on ledges
  • Look for any irregular concerns

Common Hallways

  • Inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings for damage and cleanliness
  • Pay attention to HVAC systems and venting
  • Is emergency signage working
  • Are fire doors closed
  • Inspection dates on fire extinguishers
  • Look out for signs of rodents or bugs
  • Are hallways free of hazards

Exteriors

  • Note the condition of the siding or brick
  • Inspect for litter
  • Review exterior landscaping
  • Inspect exterior doors to ensure they close property and are secure
  • Look at sidewalks for hazards
  • Review signage
  • Examine balconies for bylaw infractions or potential repairs 

Risk management

  • Review factors affecting health such as cleanliness
  • Inspect items that support well-being and safety of residents
  • Survey property operations and resident liaison activities
  • Assessment of risk 
  • Review of security concerns or potential hazards

Again, the type of inspection needed depends on the type of asset and the purpose of the inspection (ie) preventative lifecycle, periodic tenant inspection, building exterior visual assessment to meet city bylaw requirements, etc.,. 

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. Is a licensed property management brokerage.  Its team of licensed property managers understands the importance of property inspections and the importance of teamwork when it comes to managing real estate assets and condominium corporations.  We pride ourselves on a reputation grounded in integrity, reliability, and value for service. We are excited for the opportunity to help you to define goals, review strategy options and understand your property maintenance needs and can help you:

  • Evaluate performance and progress
  • Identify successes and problems
  • Make long-term decisions, and
  • Develop long term property maintenance plans.

All of this starts with a property inspection and a conversation about your goals! Contact us today to learn how Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can help your condominium corporation and condo board plan for the future.  In any condominium corporation, this is an essential part of strong management and potentially prevent painful situations like expensive special assessments.  For more information on the wide variety of services Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. offers, please contact our team at 403-237-8600.


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