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Protect Your Home from Burst Pipes – Post-Cold Weather Care Tips by Emerald Management

As we transition from the extreme cold spell, a critical concern for homeowners and renters alike is the risk of frozen pipes bursting. At Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., we understand the potential havoc this can cause, including significant water damage. Our goal is to arm you with essential knowledge to prevent these incidents.

Understanding the Risk: Why Do Pipes Burst?

  • Pipe Maintenance – Water expands when it freezes, creating immense pressure inside pipes. This pressure can cause pipes to crack or burst as the ice thaws, leading to water leaks.

Proactive Measures to Prevent Burst Pipes:

  1. Maintain Consistent Heat

    • Home Heating Tips – Keeping your home’s temperature steady, even when unoccupied, can prevent pipes from freezing. A slightly higher thermostat setting is advisable. Weather can be unpredictable in Alberta and you should always leave your thermostat set at least to 18’C.
  2. Open Cabinet Doors

    • Efficient Home Heating – Facilitating warm air circulation around plumbing, particularly under sinks, can prevent freezing.
  3. Let Faucets Drip

    • Plumbing Care – A slight drip in faucets can relieve pressure in the plumbing system, reducing the risk of burst pipes. If you have an area in your home that is cooler than others, you may consider letting the faucet slightly drip to keep the water flowing (don’t forget to take out the sink stopper!).
  4. Regular Pipe Inspections

    • Home Maintenance Look for signs of frost or unusual bulging on pipes, indicating potential freezing.

Emergency Response: Acting Fast if a Pipe Bursts

  • Know where the water shut offs in your home are.
  • Immediately shut off the main water supply in your home or unit.
  • Contact our Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. at 403-237-8600 without delay.

Stay Informed and Prepared We urge our community at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. to take these preventive measures to heart. Your safety and the integrity of your home are paramount to us.


Managing Insurance Costs for Investment Properties: Tips for Positioning Your Property in the Face of Rising Premiums

As the Canadian real estate market continues to evolve, so does the importance of insurance for property owners, condominium boards, and managers. The insurance market has undergone significant changes in the past couple of years, which continues to have a significant impact on the real estate industry.

Current Insurance Market Conditions

The insurance market in Canada is facing a number of challenges, which have led to significant increases in premiums for property owners, condominium boards, and property managers. These challenges include an increase in natural disasters globally and in Canada, such as wildfires and floods, as well as an increase in claims related to water damage, mold, and asbestos. In addition, the insurance industry is also facing increased costs related to reinsurance, which is insurance that insurance companies purchase to protect themselves from large losses.

These challenges continue to present as a hardening of the insurance market, which means that insurance companies are becoming more selective about the risks and the types of investment properties they are willing to insure. As a result, property owners, condominium boards, and managers are finding it more difficult to obtain insurance coverage, and premiums are increasing significantly.

Challenges for the Industry

Natural Disasters — One of the biggest challenges facing the insurance industry is the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters. In recent years, Canada has experienced several catastrophic events, such as: the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016 and the flooding in Ontario and Quebec in 2019. These events have led to significant losses for insurance companies and have made it more difficult for them to offer coverage in high-risk areas.

Reinsurance — Another challenge for the industry is the increasing costs of reinsurance. Reinsurance is becoming more expensive as insurance companies are facing more significant losses from natural disasters and other catastrophic events. As a result, insurance companies are passing these costs onto property owners and managers in the form of higher premiums.

Inflation — Inflation is also having a significant impact on the real estate insurance market. Inflation refers to the general increase in prices of goods and services over time, which can lead to a decrease in the purchasing power of money. As inflation has increased, the cost of repairing or rebuilding damaged property also increases, which is another challenged directly impacting the cost of insurance. This is because insurance companies must pay out more money to cover the increased costs of materials and labor associated with repairs and rebuilding. As a result, insurance premiums tend to increase in response to inflation.

In addition, inflation and current market conditions are also impacting the value of property. As the cost of goods and services increases, the value of property may also increase. This can lead to higher property values and replacement costs, which can further increase insurance premiums. Furthermore, inflation can also impact the investment potential of real estate. As inflation increases, the value of money decreases, which can make real estate investments more attractive as a hedge against inflation. This increased demand for real estate can also impact the insurance market, as insurers may face increased competition for coverage in certain areas.

Rising market values — As highlighted by the impact of inflation, the market value of real estate investment properties and condominium corporations is also impacting the cost of insurance in several ways.  In this current climate, as the market value of a property increases, so does its replacement cost, which is the amount of money required to rebuild or replace the property in the event of a loss. As a result, insurance companies may charge higher premiums to cover the increased replacement cost of the property.  The market value of real estate investment properties can impact the cost of insurance in several ways, including replacement cost, location, property characteristics, type of property, and market conditions.

Secondly, the location and characteristics of the property can also impact the cost of insurance. For example, if a property is in an area with a higher risk of natural disasters or crime, the insurance premiums may be higher.   Similarly, if a property has certain features that increase the risk of loss, such as an outdated electrical system or a lack of fire safety measures, the insurance premiums may also be higher. 

Thirdly, the type of real estate investment property or condominium property can impact the cost of insurance. For example, a multi-unit residential building may have higher insurance premiums than a single-family home due to the increased risk of liability claims and the need for additional coverage. 

According to a recent articles on their websites, Lloyd Sadd, BFL and HUB International recommend that investment property owners should prepare for continued increases in insurance premiums in 2023 due to ongoing challenges in the insurance market. They note that increased claims related to natural disasters and other events are driving up insurance costs, and that insurance companies are becoming more selective about the risks they are willing to insure.

Overall, all these challenges are impacting the cost of insurance for real estate investment properties and condominium corporations.  This is further impacted with the decreased competition and appetite by insurers to provide coverage and capacity.  Combined, these challenges continue to have a significant impact on the real estate insurance market by increasing the cost of insurance premiums and impacting the value of property. Property owners should be aware of the potential impact of inflation on the insurance market and work with experienced insurance brokers to navigate these challenges.

Future Forecasts

Insurance companies are predicting that the challenges facing the industry will continue in the coming years. In a recent report, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) stated that climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters, which will lead to higher insurance costs for property owners and managers. The IBC also noted that insurance companies are likely to become more selective about the risks they are willing to insure, which will make it more difficult for some property owners to obtain coverage.

In addition, the IBC noted that insurance companies are likely to continue to increase premiums to offset the increasing costs of reinsurance. This could lead to significant increases in premiums for property owners and managers in the coming years.

Tips to Manage the Impact

Despite past indications from Insurers that the market is softening, the insurance market in Canada continues to face significant challenges, which are having a significant impact on the real estate industry.

Property owners and managers are finding it more difficult to obtain insurance coverage, and premiums are increasing significantly. Insurance companies are predicting that these challenges will continue in the coming years, which means that property owners and managers will need to be prepared for higher insurance costs.

There are several tips an investment property owner can do to position their property and help minimize the impact of increased insurance premiums:

  1. Implement Risk Mitigation Strategies: Property owners should implement risk mitigation strategies to reduce the likelihood of claims. This may include regular maintenance of the property, inspection programs, implementing preventative maintenance strategies and starting to accrue for the replacement of depreciating capital items (i.e.) roofs, electrical, plumbing related items, etc., Education of tenants and residents is also key.  Especially around the importance of tenant insurance and ensuring that tenants are aware of emergency procedures.
  2. Build relationships: It’s important to build relationships with your insurance broker to understand what the Insurers are doing and how best to position your property for the best coverage at the best rates.
  3. Increase Deductibles: Increasing deductibles can lower insurance premiums. Property owners should consider increasing their deductibles to offset the impact of increased premiums. Gone are the days of using your insurance policy as a bank.  Property insurance isn’t a right and management of claims needs to be considered on how it could impact future coverages.
  4. Invest in Property Upgrades: Upgrading the property can reduce the risk of claims and lower insurance premiums. For example, upgrading plumbing and electrical systems can reduce the likelihood of water damage and fire damage, respectively.  Reviewing the useful life of items in the property is important.  Re-investment into the property pays off from an insurance perspective as it helps to reduce the risk of claims, as well as preserves and improves the equity in your real estate asset. 
  5. Consult with a Professional: It’s important for property owners to consult with a professional, such as an insurance broker or real estate lawyer, or property management company to understand their insurance options and legal obligations. A professional can help property owners navigate the insurance market and ensure they have adequate coverage at a fair price.

By implementing these strategies and taking proactive steps to mitigate risks, investment property owners can position their property to help minimize the impact of increased insurance premiums and reduce their overall insurance costs.

Commitment to Navigating the Challenges of the Insurance Market

As a property management company locally owned and operated out of Calgary, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is committed to helping their clients navigate the challenges of the insurance market and find the best coverage options at the best price. They understand the impact that rising premiums and reduced coverage options can have on investment property owners and condominium boards and are working to stay up to date on the latest market conditions and trends.

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has developed strong relationships over its 50-year history in the property management industry and remains committed to building relationships with experienced insurance brokers who have a deep understanding of the insurance market and can help clients find the coverage they need at a fair price. They are also working closely with their clients to develop risk management and loss prevention strategies, and are re-looking at ways to improve on inspections, education of residents in areas such as regular maintenance and upgrades, to mitigate risk and reduce insurance costs.

The team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., is proud of their master insurance program that has been customized for the properties under management.  With 50 years of property management service, they continue to leverage their buying power and proven track record to obtain best in class preferred rates and robust coverage for valued clients and property owners.  As highlighted in 2021 and 2022, the insurance market continues to be incredibly challenging for the real estate sector.  Emerald’s focus in 2023 remains on advocating for low corporate rates, reasonable deductible levels, and prompt claims management in the event of an approved claim. A large part of their process includes our focus on achieving stability and retaining loyal insurers for our stakeholders on our program.

By staying informed about the changing market conditions and working proactively to manage risk and reduce costs, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is helping their clients position their properties for success in the face of the challenges of the insurance market. They are committed to providing the highest level of service and support to their clients and helping them achieve their investment goals.  To learn more about how Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can help you achieve your investment goals and outcomes in this current insurance market, contact their team today!

Additional Resources

Looking for more resources on the topic of insurance market conditions and additional insights on the impact on the real estate market as well as strategies for managing rising insurance costs, visit:

  1. “Real Estate Insights” by Lloyd Sadd Navacord Insurance Brokers
  2. “Insurance Services Market Insights 2023 by BFL Canda
  3. “The Hardening Insurance Market: What You Need to Know” by HUB International. 
  4. “How the Hardening Insurance Market is Affecting Real Estate” by Insurance Business Canada
  5. “The Insurance Market and Its Impact on Real Estate Investment” by National Real Estate Investor
  6. “Insurance Market Hardening, Rising Rates Impact Real Estate” by GlobeSt.

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/

 

 

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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