3 Challenges faced by low-rise building managers and how ICC can help

Compare the downtown Toronto skyline to that of a suburb in the Greater Toronto Area. What stark architectural differences come to mind? Downtown’s ever-growing skyline, where condo construction is currently booming, contrasts the suburbs where buildings are no taller than 100 feet. While property management companies deal with the increasing number of condo units in one area, property management of low-rise buildings differs from that of managing condos.

The percentage of homes/townhouses construction in 2014 was 34.97% of all property in Toronto. With the stacked-townhouse, low-rise approach to property development coming in a close-second in Toronto, property owners facing challenges managing low-rise units should consider getting help from hiring property management companies. Low-rise property management in Toronto entails managing low-rise buildings such as townhouses, co-op homes, or smaller apartment buildings.

Three out of four low-rise dwellings are getting bought up at an average cost of $893,000 in Toronto. This suggests it might be time to look at what it takes to manage a low-rise dwelling. When most property owners consider turning to property management companies, it is usually for managing larger condominium buildings. However, property management for low-rise buildings pose different challenges.

Making Cities Livable claims that the human scale urban fabric to be more adaptable to changing political and economic times, making the communities in low-rise cities resilient and durable. While Making Cities Livable suggests that low-rise neighbourhoods increase a greater sense of community, what are the challenges faced by managers looking after these properties? As appealing as self-management or private management may be, here are the top 3 challenges of managing low-rise properties.

1) Lack of structure and uniformity:

Managing low-rise buildings and different types of homes can be challenging since often, there is a lack of structure or registered agreement for these properties. In the case of condominium management, for example, development plans allow for extensive common elements (such as layout, uniform plumbing and security); this can mean more consistency in the management process. The condominium building’s bylaws and board of directors enforce similar standards and regulations across all properties.

This is not always the case with managing townhouses, homes or low-rise buildings so property managers face issues of dealing with different rules and regulations for each independent project. Property management companies can provide greater structure for even low-rise properties by developing documents and by-laws to increase uniformity when it comes to low-rise property management. Letting a property management company lay a strong foundation by establishing standards and agreements for the different types of property can save you a lot of hassle.

2) Time-consuming repairs:

Plumbing, electrical issues, or any common wear-and-tear of homes means time-consuming repairs for property owners and managers. Private managers may not have the expertise or knowledge to take care of urgent repairs in time.

If a pipe bursts at your property, our management team can send someone over to fix it right away, saving you both the time and trouble. Hiring a property management company ensures that your tenants are satisfied because we have professionals who can go in and take care of the repairs right away.

This saves you the trouble of going out and looking for a professional. Why not save yourself time, money and energy by letting property management companies take care of your property for you?

3) Maintenance cost and issues:

Because every building is unique, there are different maintenance requirements for each structure. The amount of time and effort devoted to the maintenance of a low-rise building is dependent on many factors, including, the quality of construction, how old or new the building is and what condition previous landlords or managers left the building in. Maintenance issues that stem from poorly-managed properties are also one of the difficulties of managing a low-rise building, or any building really.

With the absence of maintenance fees included in rent prices for low-rise buildings and townhouses, landlords and managers most often have to pay for maintenance cost out of pocket, making it more expensive if mishandled. Avoid these costs by developing a plan with the help of property management companies.

The ability to hatch a clear, concise maintenance plan for your low-rise building can also prevent long-term maintenance issues. As a landlord, you may not be fully aware of the factors that go into the upkeep of a building or how to develop and enforce a maintenance plan. In order to ensure that your property is in good standing, it is key to ensure all aspects, especially legal requirements are on track.

For example, the fire-alarm panels at your property are prone to technological obsolescence, which affects whether or not you will be able to replace the parts. Sometimes, when you replace a panel, you often have to replace the smoke alarms and heat detectors. In any case, smoke alarms, heat detectors and fire alarm panels usually need to be replaced every 10 years. If you are a landlord that isn’t familiar with fire regulations or building codes, it may be in your best interest to let property management companies look after your low-rise building for you.

How can ICC® help?

Professional property management companies have the knowledge and expertise of managing different properties. From high-rise condo management to low-rise building maintenance, ICC® can determine how to keep you and your tenants happy. ICC® sets the industry standard when it comes to property management companies in Ontario. We recommend picking one of our experienced property managers to work with you to ensure the demands of your specific property requirements are met. In order to avoid these key 3 low-rise property management issues, contact us directly if you think we can help.


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