Pets Should be Considered a Safe Bet

“Written by the Toronto Star’s Jennifer Brown back in 2010, we like to re-post this article from time to time as our way delicately stating our experience managing properties with pets in them. We don’t expect anyone to know just how rare issues with pets are unless they manage thousands of tenancies as we do, but hope those that those who still insist “No pets!” will hear the evidence.”

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A Royal Pain in the Drain: Air conditioning/Heat pump units in Condos

One of the most overlooked maintenance pieces in condominium apartments involves a small drain leading from the air conditioning/heat pump unit.  It’s not big, but can present real problems. This drain can become easily blocked, and once blocked, the drain’s overflow tray fills with water and can overflow and cause damage to both the hardwood floors walls in your unit, and in adjacent units. This can be a silent and symptomless problem, especially if it drains into another unit, and not yours!

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Lawn & Garden Maintenance – Your job or theirs?

One of the most contentious issues for people renting out their homes is crab grass.  It’s true! Many people who have rented out their houses are careful to include a requirement for tenants to mow the lawn right in the lease.   However there is a difference between mowing the lawn and gardening.  Mowing the lawn does not include weeding flower beds, fertilizing, aerating, watering and general lawn and garden maintenance.  And mowing the lawn has nothing to do with controlling or removing crab grass.

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A Lighter Shade of Overhead

The importance of paint choice is a rare instance where something is both hard to quantify and yet invaluable.  As property managers, we recognized its importance many years ago and now recommend to our clients that they choose from a range of colours that have proven themselves both popular with tenants, and good investments for landlords.

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What Property to Acquire in Toronto after the ‘Places to Grow Act’

Until 2005, the Greater Toronto Area was developing in a manner not unlike that of Los Angeles: vast urban sprawl. Recognizing the hazards of this approach to development, the government of Ontario passed the ‘Places to Grow Act’ in 2005.

In short, it has fundamentally shifted the nature of home construction from single-family detached and semi-detached homes in the outlying regions of the GTA to condominium units in in building scattered across the city.

It did this by creating a ‘Green Belt’ around the city that contains development within its borders, forcing developers that want to build in the city to get into the high-rise game.

Every major city encounters a point where its growth hits a wall and it has to build up instead of out. Some cities become limited by geographic constraints but in the case of the GTA, the wall is policy-based. Either way, it triggered a fundamental shift in the marketplace.

Even though the state of the economy is not particularly strong and the condo market is cooling off, we are still seeing robust numbers in the single-family dwelling market segment throughout the region which is undoubtedly resulting in part from the legislation and expected to continue well into the future.

As the adage says, “Put your money in land because they are not making any more of it.” This applies even more so to anyone buying property in the GTA.

As a consequence of surging construction of high-rise residential units and a decline in the same for single-family dwellings, we will see in in the medium- to long-term the prices of the single-family dwelling housing stock perform better as their prevalence becomes increasingly rare.

The dream of families to live in such properties will continue, but it will become more expensive as more lower-income families must opt instead to occupy two- and three-bedroom suites in more intensified areas.

For the investor, however, this presents an opportunity to get into the market and benefit from the value appreciation that will occur – a benefit intrinsically tied to the fact such properties sit on their own of land. The investor with the longer-term horizon will benefit the most.

Condo suites will still present an investment opportunity especially for foreign buyers unable mortgage more than 60 per cent of the purchase value and in it for the long haul.

But in a city where condo construction continues to run strong with no end in sight, the future performance won’t be as strong compared to single-family homes, for example. It runs the risk of taking hits to its value in those times where demand fails to absorb supply as we are presently seeing.

The fact is that the 20,000-plus units coming on-line in recent years is hard for most cities in the world to absorb, and Toronto is no exception.




The Star: Pets should be considered a safe bet

Not pets allowed! It’s a common restriction noted on rental listings but does it really have any teeth in Ontario, the most hospitable of all provinces for pets to live in? Not really, and in fact some property managers feel renters with cats or dogs don’t necessarily pose a higher risk for landlords — in fact some see pet ownership as an indication they may have landed a more responsible tenant.

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