Property Management

Rent Manager

Home Sitting ServicesThe rent manager has a very important job to do. He or she can make the difference between a building that is running well with satisfied tenants who take care of their units and those that do not. A rent manager is accountable for quite a few different activities. Although most people would feel that they are the ones who decides who to rent to and collects the rental checks.

Renting to the wrong person can mean that the investor who owns the property ends up with a bad tenant. They damage  the unit, do not keep it clean etc. When they finally move out there is a lot of expense to clean the unit and repair damage. This cannot always be charged back to the tenant because of laws that various governments have put in place to protect tenants. In out experience there are lots of good people who rent properties. Unfortunately there are lots that make it bad for everyone and really do not take care of their units.

Rent Manager Responsibilities

The rent manager may advertise for tenants, he or she may screen tenants and make decisions  about renting. They recommend that tenants be accepted or rejected from a building. For large buildings, the guidelines are established by the owners and the rent manager must apply those guidelines without too much interpretation. They also need to make sure that all applicable laws for the town or city they are in are followed.

Lease documents must be filled in and signed which for large companies will include auto payment deductions directly from your bank account. In many situations, 12 post dated checks will be requested. One for each month, however this is becoming less and less common as more and more people move to EFT transactions.

The rent manager must also deal with troublesome tenants. Such issues as repairs in tenants units. Any problems with the building that may be caused by tenants or may be causing difficulty for the tenants. In some situations, a rent manager may only focus on rental of the units, particularly for a large building. In other situations they may have a wider scope of control and responsibility.

Small Claims Court

Most landlords will take the tenant to small claims court to collect on the damages. Many will skip town that it is sometimes difficult to track them down. Also rent managers will sometimes end up renting to a bad tenant. This is because they get glowing references from other rent managers who are trying to get rid of a bad tenant. There are also laws that restrict what you can say about customers and clients without the appropriate data to back you up. It seems that governments have gone out of their way to protect tenants and not so much the landlords. There is an image that the big bad landlords will take advantage of the poor tenants.

Of course there are a lot more votes from tenants than there are landlords and the politicians will always go for the votes. They may not realize that they are creating the perfect conditions for dead beat tenants to take advantage of landlords. There are bad landlords of course, but sometimes the pendulum swings too far. Then no one wants to build rental buildings and they certainly do not want to rent to bad tenants. The cities will invest in subsidized housing. Generally this has been a disaster with units not wells maintained and tenants destroying units! It just costs the tax payer a lot of money to support these people who by the way generally do not pay taxes. They also receive many other benefits such as free health care.

Rent to High Quality Tenants

One of the main jobs of a well run building for a rental manager is to only allow high quality people to rent from the owner. This means people who have jobs, who have a track record of paying their bills all of the time. Who do not skip out in the middle of the night. Everyone is happier including the tenants who do not have to deal with transient people coming and going.

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Property Management System

Property Management SystemA property management system must have a many features that help the property manager. They help manage the rent of the units they are managing but many other activities around the property. They must  keep track of all cash flows which include rent income and expenses. All work orders that are associated with the property for repairs and maintenance that need to be completed are included. Some owners want a lot of detail so they can review how costs are being managed and others do not. This is something that can be used by the property manager to differentiate your business from other competitors.

Property Management System – Information Readily Available

They must have these reports and information available should the board call for the information or the board asks for an audit of all cash flows and expenses. It is common for an audit to be completed every year to assure the owners that all cash flows are correct and that owner policies are being adhered to.

As a property manager you always need to be prepared to provide all of the information as needed. An excellent property management system will allow you to meet your own property management needs as well as the owners of the buildings that you are managing.

Reporting should be excellent as well so that the manager can quickly tell how many units are rented at what rent level, who is coming up for renewal and how much money is being spent on each unit. Units that are triggering a lot of unnecessary expenses should be flagged in some manner so that they are brought to the attention of the property manager immediately. Sometimes there are a lot of incidental expenses which by themselves are not very expensive, bit over a year can add up to more than expected.

Information for Owners from Property Management Systems

Reports also need to be available for the owner or investor of the building. Accounting reports showing the total income and expenses by all categories with bottom line summaries is usually the minimum that is required. These reports should allow drill downs to individual units that may have higher numbers than what are the average for advertising or repairs as an example. While paper copies are helpful, with today’s systems, online reports that allow browsing of the results and drill downs into more detail should be available.

Investors also want alerts for high expense, for rent renewal, for non-payment of rent etc. There are many items that should be tracked with property management software which helps the senior management team manage large numbers of units and stay on track with various issues. Weekly reviews and monthly reviews of all of the top line numbers with exception analysis should be the norm. A good property management system can help a great deal to make this process smooth, while providing the answers at the same time.

Complex Property Management Software

Property management software is becoming more and more complex all of the time. Property managers either must invest in training for their people to learn how to maintain and use these systems or they need to hire someone who knows your software inside out so they can deliver all of your needs. There is nothing more frustrating when the support people from the software company tell you that a feature or report is available, when your people should have been able to deliver these results from the beginning.

Software systems can be expensive, but they can deliver significant results. Invest in appropriate training for your system and utilize the train the trainer approach to keep everyone up to speed on all of the features. Once you have mastered their use, your customers will be impressed with the information provided and your attention to details which is enabled by the property management systems you are using. Invest wisely and use your customers requirements as a means to select the best system for your needs.

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Property Management Solution

Property Management SolutionConsumers and investors are looking for a property management solution for their rental properties. They can always find some company to manage their property for them at various prices. These companies provide a variety of services. They include everything from renting their unit, collecting the rent, paying for advertising, managing the cash flow, paying for and managing repairs and upgrades if needed and so on. Many consumers like the idea of owning rental property as an investment. However they really do not want to have to deal with the details of renting and managing the property. This is where a property management solution comes in that can save you money and remove some of the headaches as well.

Property Management Solution and Rental Pools

One type of solution for multiple investors is a rental pool. This situation comes up when you have a condominium project that has the majority of the units owned by individual investors. It needs to be managed as a single properly to reduce the overall cost of the property management.

With a condominium, there is already a board of directors in place to manage the common elements of the property. All owners participate in the condo corporation. This board has nothing to do with renters or investor issues or with the interior of the units.

A rental pool must be established with a board made up from the investors. They have the responsibility of managing the renting of the units for the investors, interior unit cleaning and repairs and interfacing with the condominium board. This property management solution involves two separate distinct budgets, bank accounts and cash flows. There is also corresponding financial reports for both entities. It sounds a bit complicated, however if you keep both entities separate, a rental pool can work quite well.

Annual meetings are held for the rental pool where decisions are made with respect to rent increases and distribution of excess funds. The investors would be paid a monthly income from the rental pool. They would use this payment to pay their own personal mortgage on their units along with taxes. All other expenses for utilities etc would be paid either by the tenant or the rental pool if the unit is vacant for any length of time.

Do Rental Pools Work Well as a Property Management Solution

The answer is yes provided that there is a commitment by the investors to make it work and they follow an agreed structure similar to the condo in terms of bylaws, running meetings, electing board members etc. All investors must sign an agreement form that documents all of the bylaws and the way the rental pool will be operated.

As a previous board member of a rental pool and a condo board, my experience has shown that once a condo and rental pool are running smoothly, you never hear from the owners and investors. The single issue that gets everyone’s attention is huge increases in the monthly condo fees or a cash call to pay for some repair that is not covered or cannot be covered by the reserve fund. This is when owners get upset and it hits them directly in their wallet. With proper budgeting, an annual increase in the condo fees whether you need it or not will ensure that there is always enough cash to pay for whatever needs to be done. This also assume that you are making contributions to the reserve fund every year based on an engineering study of the life time replacement of various elements of the condo building.

A simple example might be the paving of the parking lot. If the engineering study suggest that the parking lot needs to be repaved every 10 years and costs one hundred thousand, then you had better be saving ten thousand a year to pay for this cost. A special assessment to pay for something that is known and planned does not go over very well with owners.

No Surprises

Property managers must communicate in such a way that there are no surprises for the owners. The same applies to condo and rental pool board members. If anything over communicate and let people know that the budget is going up by XX% and why. If you do it right, you may have all of the proxies at your meeting with few owners actually attending the meetings. Decisions are made efficiently and correctly such that they benefit all of the owners taking into account the practical issues of managing the building.


Investment Property Management

Investment Property ManagementMany consumers, particularly as they get older, invest in rental properties and manage these investments themselves. They do this for several reasons. One of the major reasons is to save money and make the rental property more profitable. In most situations this approach works fine and their property is fully rented with great tenants. These same individuals may also do their own repairs and maintenance as well to save money and cut down on costs. Investment property management by consumers works well when you have good tenants. Also if the property is fully rented without many vacancies between tenants. When you end up with bad tenants, there can be a lot of stress associated with dealing with these people.

What Does Investment Property Management Cost

Typically investment property managers will charge anywhere from $10 to $30 a door. The price depends on whether it is a large multi unit building or a single family home. The price varies a lot due to the cost sharing that is available to a large number of units. This fee will include managing the unit, dealing with tenants, collecting rent, paying for miscellaneous repairs and sending the remaining money to the owner. This fee does not include the cost of repairs, the cost of upgrades, tax preparation, utilities while the unit is vacant, advertising fees to rent the unit and many miscellaneous fees.

While this seems excessive, these are the typical rates that investment property managers will charge to manage your unit. Consumers living in the same city can do this work themselves. However when you live in another city from where your rental unit is, one trip to deal with issues can eat up any savings you might have obtained from trying to manage the property yourself.

Managing Repairs and Maintenance

Every home, whether it is a rental unit, an apartment, or a residential home that is being rented out requires annual maintenance. Some owners are very lucky with the tenant doing all of the work and maintaining their property as if it were their own. Others expect the owner to do all of the maintenance. They will not lift a finger even if it would avoid further damage as in a water leak. These are truly problem tenants to have.

Someone must manage these repairs and maintenance. They must hire a repairman to visit the property and make repairs. They must pay these people for their time and for the supplies that might be needed. If the work is inside the home, access must be arranged for at least 24 hours in advance unless it is an emergency. Someone might need to accompany the repair person or at least unlock the door to let them into the home. This all takes time and investment property managers will have staff that you also must pay for to look after these functions for you.

Develop a budget for Your Investment Property

Owners usually lose money on investment properties from an operating cost perspective. They tend to make money when the value of the property increases over time. Some owners do not have much hope of their units increasing in value. They will sometimes severely limit the maintenance and repair activity causing the unit to degrade over time.

This can be a serious problem for the tenant, the investment property manager and the owner. No one is happy. Many investment property managers will simply end their contract to manage a unit due to the ongoing problems. They simply do not want to be associated with a bad property that gives them a bad name. Owners must strike a careful balance between maintaining the property and managing how much money that they spend on the property.

Investment property management is not a simple task. Anyone getting into the business needs to plan carefully. They need to make sure they understand the cash flows, maintenance and repairs required as well as the quality of the tenants.

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Rental Property Management Programs

Rental Property Management ProgramsMost people may have one or two rental properties and manage them themselves. They have to deal with all of the issues that renters will put land lords through and sometimes they even lose money over the deal as well. This can be from damages caused by the renter or perhaps the market just did not increase enough to compensate for all of the carrying costs and maintenance fees. There also this feeling by renters that landlords are rich and can afford to lose a month’s rent or perform repairs to things that have been damaged. Some also think that by walking away in the middle of the night they can actually get away with it. They can be found and charged and most are, but who really wants to go through that?

Some land lords will group together under rental property management programs and agreements. These are known as rental pools in some circles and have a great advantage of spreading the risk across a number of owners. Cash flow is always maintained, although it does vary. There is never a month were you have zero cash flow, such as when your unit might be vacant. This is an excellent advantage when you have taxes and a mortgage to pay every month.

How Rental Property Management Programs Work

There are likely all kinds of rental property management programs, however the one that this writer has had experience with is the rental pool program. Basically it works by all owners pooling all of their rental money into one account. All expenses to manage the condo or apartment building are paid out of it. This includes all common expenses, such as common lighting, garbage disposal, landscaping, condo fees, and rental expenses such as advertising.

The rental pool also pays for units that are vacant for the month. They also pay for expenses associated with going to small claims court to claim rent that has not been paid. In most cases a property manager is hired to manage the rental pool and all renting of the units. There is a board of directors for the rental pool separate from a condo board.

The rental company is contracted to manage the rental pool, to pay all expenses and to pay all owners each month as well from the proceeds. When you pool units like this, owners can usually get a better price for the rental management side of things which also saves money.

Rental Pool Operation

Most rental pools that are part of a rental property management program run smoothly provided that you follow standard operating procedures. You must have a board made up of at least 3 members of the owners. The books must be audited each year and a tax report prepared each year for each owner to include in their tax filings.

Rental pools sometimes get into trouble when there is no oversight or very little oversite by the owners. Sometimes one owner will take control and that is usually when the trouble starts. Always make sure that there are at least 3 board members. They should meet with the property manager at least every 2 months and also review the books every quarter. The board should have an annual meeting that elects them and gives everyone to ask any questions that they might have.

An agreement for the rental pool should be set up. There should be a contract between the rental pool and the property manager. There should be an election of at least 3 board members each year. The board members staggered so that there is a combination of both new and experienced members on the board.

Follow some of these simple rules for a rental pool as part of a rental property management program. Generally you will have no serious problems unless the property manager fails to do his or her job. Always maintain a reserve fund for the rental pool as well to make sure you can deal easily with any financial surprises.

We will write more about rental pools in future posts. However if you have comments or want more information, please feel free to leave us some comments.

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Certified Property Manager

Certified Property ManagerShould you hire a Certified Property Manager? Or someone who is offering the services of a property management firm? Many people every day are trying to figure this out. It usually comes down to what the services are going to cost. What you actually get for the money you are going to pay this Certified Property Manager. Consumers do want to hire professionals and they want to hire people who are honest and will not rip them off. After all you are asking a stranger to look after your home, one of your most prized possessions.

What does it mean when you have hired a certified property manager? Usually it means they have attended some courses on property management at a local college, hopefully received a diploma from that college and they belong to an association of property managers. Some people reading this may react and say well so what. It does not mean they have the experience to manage a property and they may not even be able to do a good job. Should you look for a certified property manager or for a company that has lot’s of experience with certified property managers working for them.

Certified Property Manager

We happen to think that you should hire someone who has both. Having been on the board of several condominiums and having dealt with many property managers, we have found like all industries there are some good ones and then there are those that really will never do a good job.

We even had one company who paid us lip service, said they would do everything we asked and then did absolutely nothing at all. We had to fire that company and it was a difficult time for all concerned, since you then must hire a new property management firm, transfer all of the records over and then get to know your new company. All of this must be accomplished in a less than friendly environment with the old company that you were dealing with.

Hire Experience

Always hire a property management company with experience and one that operates in a professional manner. Look closely at the fees and also the services you receive for these fee’s. Do you get the reports that you need to not only manage the condo or apartment building properly, but to also manage the property manager and assess the job they are doing?

You should also make sure that they have a certified property manager on staff so that in addition to experience, they are also up to date on the latest property management laws and consumer rights. Many states and provinces have consumer rights in place to protect the renter. You do not want to run up against some bureaucrat with unlimited resources who tells you to rescind a rent increase for example that you need to run your business.

Certified Property Managers are Good at Theory

Training is always good and it is important to have. However as with all training until you get out in the real world and face some of the issues that consumers throw at you, no amount of training can really help. Training may prepare you for what to expect, however it cannot tell you what to do in every situation. There are just too many variables and that is also why you must also get experienced property managers as well to manage your home, your condo or your apartment building.

Comments are welcome, especially regarding any experiences you may have had in the property management field that may assist our readers. Build a requirements list and match various property management companies against this set of requirements. Interview several and make up your mind based on the facts and not how well you may have gotten along with the representative. Sales is easy, doing the actual work is more difficult and you will need to be working with the people who actually do the work.


Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment Managers

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment ManagersApartment dwellers are looking for electrical outlets to plug-in their electrical vehicles to recharge them over night. Electric vehicles create issues for apartment managers and superintendents. Governments are pushing better utilization of our resources, specifically to cut down on our dependence on foreign oil and yet this is creating many issues for individuals who want to support the initiative and are coming face to face with the reality of where do they charge up their vehicle. If you live in a single family home or even a townhouse were you have your own electrical meter, there is no issue other than the basic economics of  recharging your vehicle. We urge you to do your own math as well to confirm your potential savings when you purchase an electric vehicle.

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment Managers

Life is never Simple and Straight Forward.

For apartment dwellers it is not so simple. Most people will park in a garage or even surface parking were there is no access to an electric plug of sufficient amperage. In those few places were there are plugs, many owners are objecting to paying for the increase in electricity that is being used. Some property managers have removed electrical outlets so they cannot be used to charge electric cars. In addition, the existing electrical system in older buildings may not be up to the standard and capacity needed to support more than a few cars plugged in to recharge.

Expensive upgrades may be required and the owner is left wondering who is going to pay for this expense and how will he recover this expense through the rent or other fee’s. At the very least, there may be only one electrical outlet in the garage and not close to the car owners requested parking spot. In some colder climates, electrical outlets are provided for car warmers and engine heaters. they are intended for this purpose and not for recharging electric cars.

Car Owner Volunteers to Pay His Share

One electric car owner has volunteered to pay for his share of the electricity based on the manufacturers anticipated usage and local rates for electricity. He even volunteered to double what he should pay from a theoretical perspective. The apartment building owner is worried that even though this car owner is willing to pay , he may find himself committed to expensive electrical system upgrades or risk the wrath of the other apartment dwellers when the breakers let go and everyone is in the dark. In many jurisdictions, the rent is controlled so increasing the rent is not a solution.

Early Days for Electric Vehicles

This is still very early in the product life cycle for electric vehicles. The issues and problems are just now being realized. Many people with good intentions will purchase electric vehicles and then be faced with where do they recharge their vehicle. Once they have committed their money they will be motivated to solve these minor problems. All it will take is a competitive market for apartment units and an apartment owner advertising that they have parking stalls available for electric cars to get the ball rolling. It will become a competitive issue at some point to capture some of the best apartment owners who pay their rent on time and cause few problems. I am thinking that if you can afford to purchase an electric car, you are making pretty good money and will appreciate a higher quality of apartment.

Many other industries started out this way and gradually over time as the penetration of the product grew, more and more support facilities were made available.

If you would like to leave a detailed comment about electric vehicle recharging challenges, please leave one at the bottom of this post. You may agree with our opinion or perhaps not and have a different perspective on it. We would like to hear your opinions. Well written comments will be accepted and we will even approve a link back to your web site for well written on subject comments.

Residential Home Management Check Lists

Residential Home Management Check ListsAs a property manager of a home on behalf of a client, what are the things you need to pay attention to? There are many, but some are more important than others and we will try to cover a few of these here. This web site is aimed at the home owner and although this particular post is about property manager’s, we thought it would be useful to understand how a property manager looks at the job! If you understand the other person’s objective, then you will have a better perspective on how to deal with property managers and what to look for when hiring a property manager! This is important for a number of reasons – peace of mind, financial and contractual!

Primary Focus of a Property Manager

It does not matter what anyone tries to tell you, the fundamental focus of a property manager is to make money. If they cannot make a profit in the services they are offering to you, they may just refuse to take you on or keep you on as a client. If you can recognize this fundamental truth, then you may be able to get the services you need at a price that you can afford! It is all about compromise and negotiation after that.

Most property managers will talk about the great service they offer, the reports they provide and the communications they provide to you the client. They will indicate that this is their number one objective.  Avoiding putting this down on paper in a contract is one way of retaining some control over what is contractually required. If you want something done, make sure it is listed in the contract, for how much, when it is to be done and to what level of quality! This may seem like overkill or indicate that you may not trust a person. It is really just a professional way to do business.

Residential Home Management Check Lists

With that said, we collected a list of things that can be considered when you provide services as a property manager to look after someone’s  home while they are away on vacation:

  • Frequency of visits to your clients home
    • Daily, 48 hours , 72 hours etc
  • Reporting requirements
    • Paper record
    • Email
    • Text msg
    • How soon after each visit
  • Specific items to check while in the home
    • Doors
    • Windows
    • Alarm system
    • heating system
    • Water leaks
    • Snow load
    • Pool
  • What to do in case of an emergency
    • Contact emergency contact
    • Call police
    • Advise insurance company
    • Call family , family friend or neighbor
  • Phone numbers to call
    • Your emergency number
    • Your insurance company
    • Police
  • Authority to make repairs
    • Specified limit with no authority
    • Temporary repairs to prevent further damage
  • Other Services that you may require
    • Water plants indoors
    • Water gardens outdoors
    • lawn care
    • Pool care
    • Snow removal
    • etc

These are the basics and everyone who needs their homes looked after will have more items to add to the list based on their own particular situation. We have not addressed pets in this case, however for those that need these services, you should add feeding, medicine requirements, exercise and emergency veterinary directions. As a property manager you will need to decide what services you will after including looking after pets, dog walking etc. Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of looking after pets.

Providing Services as a Property Manager

Always have a contract and spell out the terms you need to have in it regarding the services you are offering to a residential consumer. This is a great way to manage expectations and avoid customer disappointment. We always include a questionnaire which we ask the client to fill in were they outline exactly what they need and any special instructions they wish to provide.  This is basic communications were you make it clear to both what is needed. I even have the client sign or initial each page.

Permission slips with the associated information are also included to allow us to contact insurance companies, alarm companies and veterinarians that might be needed in case of an emergency with one of the pets.

While this is not a complete checklist, it is a general guideline were we urge both parties to communicate the services provided and the services needed so that there are no misunderstandings.

Your comments are welcome. For more posts about property management topics, click here.


Inexpensive Property Management Firms Ottawa

Vacant Home Property ManagementIn our last post we talked about someone who is leaving their home vacant for a month while they go on vacation.  This post is about hiring Property Managers to manage your home as a rental property. There are specific things you should do to make sure that your insurance is still valid while you are away. You do not want to have a big surprise when you get back, find damage of some sort and then find out that your insurance does not cover it because you did not have someone checking your home while you are away. What about the person who wants to find a property management firm to manage their home as a rental?

Property Management Companies

There are many firms that offer property management firms in most cities and most offer their services to home owners who wish to rent their homes out while they are out of the country or have an investment property. Picking an inexpensive property management firm that provides you all of the services you need is a tough thing to do. These companies try to offer the best price, however supporting a single home in an area is much different that managing an entire property.

As a result the costs are going to be higher for a single property vs. a mutli unit building. Still you can negotiate a relatively  inexpensive deal if you take the time to understand all of the services and focus on the ones that you require. (continue reading…)

Affordable Property Management Firms Ottawa

Affordable Property Management Firms OttawaWe  have found over the years you get what you pay for. Also you cannot assume that a specific service will be provided unless it was specifically discussed. It must be included in the contract. Too many people leave their homes for the weekend or a week with out proper over site. They end up with problems with their insurance companies, because they thought that the cost of property management was just too expensive. If you place yourself in the shoes of a property management firm for a few minutes, you will quickly see that the cost to run a company and to visit your home on a regular basis can be expensive.

Affordable Property Management

Types of Property Management Situations

There are many different types of property management situations to consider. The one we will look at today is the consumer who will be away for a month and needs someone to check on his or her vacant  house once every 3 or 4 days. This time frame was chosen because that is typically what insurance companies require, however it does vary by company and location and circumstances, so check with your home insurance company before you agree to a property management contract.

What Should a Property Management Firm Do

Basically you need some one to collect flyers or mail items at the front step, check that the security of the home has not been compromised, check that the furnace is working during colder months and that there are no water problems of any kind. You may also get them to water a few plants or add extra services such as lawn care or snow removal. Basically the property management employee should be in and out of your home in less than 15 minutes including the time it takes to fill in a brief report and also send an email confirming his or her visit and the status.

Travel Time

Travel time is an issue that must also be considered. We are assuming that it will take an average of 15 minutes to get to your location. Anything more than that is considered extra costs. The price of gas and the wear and tear on a car must also be considered.  Let’s assume 10 miles of driving and an average cost of $.50 cents per mile. It may vary in your location.

So now before any profit is considered you have 30 minutes of someone’s time at whatever rate is paid and a minimum of $5 for car mileage. Add to this profit for the company that runs the business, overhead and taxes and you will be fortunate to find someone who will check on your home for less than $30 a visit! Sounds expensive, but there is the cost at reasonable rates and times. If you add requested services, that take a lot of time, look for increased expenses to be added.

Decision Time re Affordable Property Management

Many people will shy away from charges like these and will take a chance and not have their home checked or will have friends or neighbors check the home. As long as you have agreement on what is to be done, and it is written down and you can depend on the person or persons to perform the checks then you should be safe.  Remember you are paying something in the order of $30 a visit to make sure that your home which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is monitored and action will be taken if there is break in or damage while you are away!

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Residential Property Management Ottawa

Residential Property Management OttawaThere are many residential property management companies in the city of  Ottawa. How do you know which one to utilize and contract with to manage the rental of your home or apartment, your investment property? Perhaps you just need someone to look after your home while you are away on vacation to satisfy your insurance company!

Ottawa property management companies offer a variety of services. Some are city-wide while others cover only specific areas of the city. This is designed to minimize travel costs and the subsequent charges to their customers. There are very large property management companies and there are small mom and pop companies in the city of Ottawa.

Residential Property Management Ottawa Services

Some of the basic services that you need to consider are:


  • rent collection in trust
  • payment of invoices, property taxes, utilities, insurance
  • monthly reports, annual reports
  • maintenance of property records
  • cash flow management
  • property inspections
  • receive and respond to tenet inquiries 24/7
  • representation on all rent review matters


  • advertising of rental unit
  • receive leasing inquires 24/7
  • schedule showing of property
  • complete rental application
  • tenant screening process
  • execute lease
  • collect deposits and post-dated checks

Residential Property Management Ottawa Companies

Here is a brief list of some of the companies in the city of Ottawa that provide residential property management services

  • Sleepwell Management
  • Marklyn Property Management
  • Taggart Realty Management
  • CLV Group
  • District Realty
  • Gow Property Management
  • Megacorp Property Management Inc
  • Woodbridge Management
  • Apollo Property Management
  • Metcalfe Realty Company Limited
  • Just Imagine Realty Inc
  • Affordable Property Managément
  • Merkburn Holdings Ltd
  • Immogest Property Management Inc
  • Attaché National Capital Management
  • Rest Easy Property Management
  • Elk Property Management
  • Deerpark Management Limited
  • Executive Home Mgmt
  • A Premiere Property Management Associates
  • Axia Property Management
  • Capital Concierge
  • Sentinel Management
  • Beauregard Property Management corp
  • Reid Property Management Ltd

While we cannot vouch for any of these companies we urge you to review our post about residential property management to understand some of the things you should take into account when you are considering hiring a property management company. This list has a lot of common sense items on it that you may find helpful when you are interviewing some of these companies.

About Ottawa

Ottawa has approximately a million people living in the area and is spread out along the Ottawa river. Hiring a local company that is based in your area may mean that you can get a more competitive price, however be careful that you do not sacrifice services to yourself or your tenant to get a lower price. It could end up costing you a lot more money in lost rent or damages that you must repair if your tenant causes a lot of damage and then skips out with out your property managers knowledge.

If you are leaving on vacation for a few weeks, check with your insurance company to see what the requirements are for someone checking on your home. Failure to have some one check on your home could mean that your home insurance is invalid and any claims may be denied.

If you are a property manage and do not see your name on the list, leave us a comment and we will be happy to add it. For more information on Residential property management, click here.


Residential Property Management

Building Manager TrainingIn every major city and most small cities and towns across the country there are Property Management firms offering a variety of services to clients who need to have someone look after their home, their apartment or their rental property.  You can have an excellent service or end up with a nightmare if you are not careful.

Hopefully some of the things we talk about in this web site will help you in your selection of a residential property management company for your home while you are away or for a rental property that you own.

This web site is focused on property management for urban consumers who are either renting a home out to a 3rd party and want someone to look after the rental and the management of their home, the rental contract etc or are leaving their home vacant for a long period and need someone to look after their home while they are away.

This latter group comprises snow birds who are spending the winter in the south, business people who are away traveling or people who have been transferred to other locales. Property managers also looks after rentals in the same city that you live in as well as properties that are located in other cities from were you live.

What Should You Look For in Property Management Company

There are numerous items to consider and we have tried to list some of the more important things in this post. If we miss any that you feel are important, please leave us a comment so that we can update this post to alert our readers.

  • Contract that states the services they will provide to you
  • Rental philosophy that matches with you and the type of person you want to rent to
  • Regular reports that clearly show revenue and expenses
  • Final annual report you can use for tax purposes
  • Emergency number to call for your renter and yourself
  • Designated contact for you to call
  • Process for collecting rents, payment of bills and deposit of rents to your account
  • Reasonable property management fees
  • Advertising costs are prorate across all rental units they manage
  • Emergency repair process
  • Repair approval process
  • Handy men at reasonable rates for standard repairs
  • References from other property owners
  • Monthly, quarterly reports that meet your needs

These are just a few of the areas you want to consider. We will discuss some of them in more detail to give you a flavor for what we are considering in these items.

Rental Philosophy

At one time we had a property manager who believed that having a low vacancy rate was the right way to manage a property. Yes, the property was always rented, however the people we rented to were not some of the best people to have in our units.

All of the bad things that you can imagine occurred. They skipped town, they had a lot of damage in the unit, they missed rental payments and on and on.

It is very difficult in some jurisdictions to collect from these delinquents and it costs more money to collect from them for missed rent and money to cover damages. We came to the conclusion it was better to have a unit sit vacant for a month while we found a better class of tenant who had great references and was not going to wreck the place! The cash flow was usually better even though the unit sat vacant for a month.

Property Management Reports

  • Look for regular reports that meet your needs. They should include:
  • Monthly cash flow for your unit
  • Quarterly cash flow for your rental unit
  • Comparison to forecast so that you can see how you are doing
  • Annual statement for tax purposes
  • A managers report in narrative summarizing activity concerning your property

This seems like a lot, but it is necessary to ensure that there are no surprises. Some people will not hear anything regarding their property for an entire year and then get a big surprise when they find they have to pay more money for major repairs or that cash flow is not what they expected.

Property Management Contacts

This applies equally to your renter as well as yourself. The renter needs to have someone they can contact in case of an emergency to solve his or her problems. If there is a water leak on a long weekend, you want it fixed that day and not after everyone comes back to work.

Also if you the owner have a question, who do you call to get answers to your queries about information given to you on the property management reports. Remember to not be a pest either. Be professional and business like in your dealing with the property manager.

References for Property Managers

Always get references, although sometimes that may be suspect. Spend an hour talking to other owners to compare notes. There are two fundamental things to look for:

  • Does the owner you are speaking with have the same business approach as you do
  • If so, are they satisfied with the service they get from the property management firm?

There is really no sense in speaking with someone who never talks to the
property manager, does not want reports and only wants to be called if there is a problem. Of course they will be happy with a property manager who never calls them and gives them the annual report they need for their taxes. I am exaggerating a bit here, but hopefully you get the point.

If you both want monthly results with an accounting report and a narrative report and the person you are speaking with finds the reports meet their needs, then there is a better chance that you will also be satisfied with the firm you are considering.

As we said earlier, if there are major thoughts missing in this post about property managers, please feel free to leave a comment.

For more posts about a variety of property management topics, click here.



Residential Property Management Categories

Keep your Lawn Healthy over WinterBelieve it or not most people are more concerned about someone breaking into their homes while they are away on vacation or business. The reality is that there is more danger of damage from a variety of other things than what you might not think of. One of the main ones is that your insurance company may require someone to check on your home every couple of days. They need to make sure that the furnace is running and that there is no leaking water. This could be a condition of insurability so we tell everyone to check with their insurance company. Determine what is actually required before they head off on vacation for a couple of weeks. They are all different.

Residential Property Management Categories

There are lots of reasons for hiring someone or arranging with a neighbor or family member to look after your home while you are away. These categories cover the occasional all the way through the full time professional. The following list comprises some of the main reasons why you may want to consider having some one do this on your behalf ( In all cases except for pets, we assume you are gone for a week or more):

  • Pets at home ( Have someone come in to feed and care for your pets)
  • Insurance requirements (24/48/72 hour intervals)
  • Landscaping ( including cut the grass, water the plants)
  • Water indoor plants
  • Make the home look lived in(lights on timers, move lights)
  • Pick up the mail ( hold or send to the homeowner)
  • Remove advertising and papers from front step
  • Check on the water, including sump pumps
  • Turn on the water to fill traps(if vacant for more than 2 weeks)
  • Check security of the home
  • Snow removal
  • Check on the home and report to the home owner
  • Monitor home improvement while the homeowner is away
  • Rent the home
  • Rental property management

There are probably many other reasons for having someone look after your home while you are away or if you plan to rent your home out to someone while you leave the country. It also may be a vacation property or an investment property. If you are reading this post and notice something missing please feel free to leave us a comment.

Additional Property Management Requirements

The requirements are also much different depending on whether you have a traditional home with a front and back yard, vs. a townhouse, a condo or a rental property. The time of year also is a factor since you must arrange for someone to cut the lawn and trim during the summer , while the winter requires someone to clear the snow from the walkway and driveway if you live in areas that receive snow. These all need to be taken into account if you planning on hiring a residential property manager, a house sitter or arranging for some one to look after you home while you are away.

We will be developing customized checklists for people in these various categories.  If they do not quite fit or you have a special situation that we have not covered, please leave us a comment and we will update our lists. We plan on issuing a new post every two weeks so stay tuned to watch for our latest post.

For more posts about a variety of property management topics, click here.



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