Why should I hire you?
Peace of mind.
- We are very good at what we do, with vacancy rates approaching zero.
- We are full time property managers. We're not distracted by sales, managing condo boards, or other jobs.
- We apply research, and our knowledge of the local market to make sure your unit is appropriately priced for its area and type.
- Our attention to you, the client, is personal and timely.
- We know how to best use the many restrictions and nuances of the Residential Tenancies Act to your greatest advantage without causing a court challenge.
- Our knowledge of Alberta's and Canada's privacy laws and regulations keep you safe from accidental violations.
- If a tenant fails to pay rent - a rare event - we are usually able to work with them to obtain it without eviction being necessary.
- If a tenant tells us they are breaking their lease, we enact our plan to get you continuous rent. We are almost always successful in getting continuous rent for owners.
- Our screening process, and use of tools like credit checks - difficult for the public to access - help ensure a quality tenant in your unit.
- Our focus is collecting rent for owners, and we only have to do 1 or 2 evictions per year, even during Covid 19.
- Tenants don't even bother to try to take advantage of us the way they would homeowners.
- We do annual home inspections and yearly maintenance/ cold weather reminders to tenants to protect your investment.
- We resolve emergency situations like floods, leaks, hot water heater or furnace outages quickly and efficiently. We charge no extra fee for providing this service.
- If your furnace goes out any time of the day or night in the winter we know who to call to get it working at no charge via qualified personnel
- Maintenance issues are included in management fees. We don’t mark up contractor rates to keep your costs down.
- We get builder’s pricing on all appliances if replacement is necessary to provide you with the lowest cost on replacements.
Can I contact the tenant directly?
No. An owner interfering between the property manager and a tenant constitutes breach of contract. And in the past it has caused all kinds of problems.
Should I allow pets?
Ultimately it’s up to you. Pets can be a source of extra revenue for you. If you have an apartment, often we can rent them out without allowing pets. For maximum speed and rent amount, we recommend allowing pets in townhouses, duplexes, and houses. We often advertise as pets allowed with an extra $25-30 per month for rent.
When does the $200 re-renting fee noted in the contract apply?
When we have to change over a tenant. The fee covers advertising, showing, and placing the new tenant, as well as removing the past tenant and appropriately disbursing the security deposit.
If the tenant is staying for another term, does the $200 re-renting fee apply?
No. We renew tenants at no extra charge.
Do I need to write you a cheque for the $500 one-time setup fee?
No. Most of the time we take the $500 + GST from your first month's rent.
Do you sign month to month or fixed leases?
Almost always one year, fixed leases.
Can I leave belongings in my home when I first prepare it for a tenant?
No. First, because the tenant is renting the entire property, and should have access to the whole property without restriction. Second, it is impossible for us to monitor whether they use your belongings, and how they are being treated. Your items could get damaged, lost, or stolen.
My bank says they need a copy of your lease with the tenant. Can you give it to me to send it to them please?
Usually. According to Alberta's privacy act, we cannot share tenant information with anyone without express permission from them. However, banks continue to demand a lease with full tenant information. We can only send it on if the tenant approves of their information being shared. If the tenant refuses, we can offer the bank a letter from our brokerage with details of the lease, and a redacted lease (tenant information blocked out).
Do you share with me a copy of the lease with the tenant?
No. The lease is a private contract between our brokerage and the tenant. We don't share them with anyone, just as we would never share your contract with a tenant for any reason
What are my responsibilities during the time you're managing my home?
You are responsible for maintaining your mortgage, property taxes, condominium and homeowner association fees, and insurance. We also need you to approve maintenance items, and refrain from contacting tenants directly.
How and when do you pay me?
We pay on or about the 10th of every month, directly to your bank account. We wait til the 10th to ensure rent payments have cleared the banks.
Do you send me a monthly statement?
Yes, within a few days of the payment. We send you a statement including the details; gross rents, payments, maintenance, any disbursements, and GST for the month.
What should we do about utilities at the home when we are leaving it?
We make sure all tenants have proven to us that electricity and gas are in their name before moving them in. The utility companies will cancel your account at that time. The Town Of Cochrane won’t place water/sewer/garbage into a tenant’s name. We contact them to tell them we’re adding your home to our rental pool, and the town begins to send utility bills to us. We then make sure they’re being paid each month, and forward to the tenants for direct payment.
What should we have done with our mail?
Please make sure to forward your mail to your new address. We instruct all tenants to write, “moved” on any mail that is not theirs, and put it in a Canada Post mail slot.
How will you be communicating with me?
We typically use email. This gives us a written, archived, search-able trail.
How long will it take to rent out my home?
We cannot offer any guarantees. We can often rent a desirable home that is well priced in 1-4 weeks. A highly specialized or furnished rental, a less than desirable location, a no-pet or overpriced home takes much longer.
Can I go visit my home when it's tenant occupied?
We strongly recommend against this, unless we know you can do it when the tenant is away. You are not to meet or communicate directly with the tenant. Our full time job is to look after the homes in our care. We do yearly inspections, and can take pictures or video if desired.
How is rental rate determined?
Ultimately it is your decision. We make recommendations based on our vast knowledge of the local market.
What happens to the security deposit if there is damage or rent owing?
We can hold back the funds from the security deposit to pay you for rent owing, and if necessary, cover cleaning/repairs. The remainder belongs to the tenants and we have to return it within 10 days.
Can we demand the owner of a pet pay extra security deposit.
Not exactly. If we take an extra Pet Deposit, it must be non-refundable, and it usually scares off tenants. Whereas garnering an extra $25-$30 from them per month is usually palatable.
What is your procedure for handling maintenance in the home?
Minor issues: we often have the tenant take a picture of the issue, any model number tags, and we send the appropriate tech. If the tech can fix it while there we get them to go ahead as that's the cheapest option. We usually seek your approval, but it's not always possible.
Major issues: We will have the tech give us a quote and get your approval.
Emergencies: if the problem would cause harm to someone or further damage to the property we handle it right away. We will notify you but not ask permission to do these repairs. With furnace emergencies, we call Atco, who can get them going and only charge for parts - this is a good tip to know if your own furnace goes out.
Should I tell my insurance company I'm renting my home?
Yes. There may be a small fee to do so, but the insurance company needs to know, since if they weren't informed, they may choose not to pay out at all if there is a claim.
What if I am living outside Canada?
If that is the case, legally you must tell us. You would then fall under the category of a Non-Resident according to the Canada Revenue Agency. Non-Resident tax is beyond the scope of this FAQ. Please contact us if you are, or plan to leave Canada.
How does your property manager act in a crisis?
In March of 2020, the pandemic situation was very dynamic. Starting mid month we sent tenants and owners updates of federal and provincial funding as soon as they were announced. We asked tenants to keep us informed; people were losing jobs daily.
March 27th, the Alberta government ordered landlords work with tenants to create payment plans, and there were no evictions allowed until April 30th. I made what might seem like a counter intuitive decision: to let tenants choose their own deferral up to 50% of rent(to be paid off when things normalized), take til April 15th to pay rent, or both.
The strategy paid off. We collected 94% of rent at the beginning of the month, and had collected 100% of rent due by the end of April, and, importantly, it helped us to maintain good relations with the tenants, which benefits you as owners. As of November, 2020, we've had to do zero evictions on our regular properties, and only 2 non covid related ones.