- July 24, 2014
- Posted by: @dmin
- Category: Property Managers
Successful condo property managers know a few secrets for keeping their condominium communities and residents happy. Their customer satisfaction is usually dependent on just a few key factors:
- Can the property manager save the association money?
- Can the property manager serve the needs and concerns of the residents effectively?
- Can the property manager fulfill the duties required by the board of directors?
These duties often require an impressive balancing act. When residents have a problem with the facilities, they want that problem addressed quickly so they can regain the use and enjoyment of those facilities.
Meanwhile, the Board of Directors wants those types of problems handled as cost-effectively as possible. These issues can also arise at any time, meaning the property manager may be in the middle of delivering other key services to the board, such as financial reports, or status updates on resident concerns and communications.
Without a doubt, all of the duties a property manager typically has can create quite a to-do list, and things can become precarious very quickly when a major malfunction strikes, such as the sudden need for the repair or replacement of an essential component at a client’s complex.
Here at ICC® Property Management, we have learned several tips and tricks for managing these types of situations from our years of experience in condo management in Toronto. It is possible to handle these issues while still achieving
your major goals of keeping the association budget on-track and the residents satisfied.
Maintenance Versus Repair
The biggest secret behind effective property management is just this: maintain instead of repair, and as often as possible, repair instead of replace. Consider this information about some of the essential components present in many of the buildings you probably manage:
- Chillers lose up to 15% of their operating efficiency each year when not subject to simple annual maintenance services by an HVAC professional due to dirt, contamination, and typical wear and tear.
- On average, it costs about 2 to 3 times more to have a boiler repaired than it does to schedule a simple regular maintenance visit.
- Most major components, such as HVAC systems, water heaters, and other possible community appliances, have published anticipated life expectancies (e.g. 15 to 25+ years), but these are often rated according to ideal conditions with proper regular maintenance.
While replacement of various systems and structures is inevitable as a building ages, it is often more affordable to pay for regular maintenance over the long term, creating a longer useful life for these components.
Aside from that, as a property manager, it is important to track the various components in operation in a given building and to know the projected useful life of these systems. Having this information on-hand can allow condo property managers to effectively budget and plan for major expenditures when it comes time to finally replace these systems.
The Benefits of Being Proactive
When you choose to take a proactive approach to your condo management in Toronto, you can reap several benefits besides just the cost savings of a prolonged useful life for your components.
- Energy and utility savings. Well-maintained systems, like heating and air, will often pass along benefits in the way of reduced energy use, which are savings that can be passed along to residents. Even common plumbing systems can be well-maintained for savings on water and sewer bills depending on the size of complex or building and the systems being maintained.
- Resident satisfaction. Failing components are perhaps one of the most noticeable things a tenant can experience, for which they will promptly blame the property management company. Keeping these systems in good working order prevents disruption in residents’ lives, making them happier and keeping your customer satisfaction levels higher.
- Replace before it breaks. If you are subjecting your properties to regular maintenance, you will often be able to get some warning before a system or component fails. This allows you to be even more proactive, replacing a component on your own terms versus waiting for it to become a problem. Being able to replace a boiler before the dead of winter sets in not only helps your residents stay happy and warm, but also keeps you from having emergency phone calls at the worst possible time.
It’s Not Just Smart – It’s The Law
Being proactive for the purposes of customer satisfaction is all well and good, but you should also be aware of the legal implications of your ongoing major repair and replacements. Specifically, you should note that there is a requirement under the Condominium Act in Ontario that you maintain a reserve fund.
This reserve fund is further supported by the necessity for a Reserve Fund Study followed by updates every three years. After doing such a study, you are then required to conduct a funding plan to set aside a portion of the monthly condo fees to cover all upcoming expenditures.
Because of this law, being proactive is not only a requirement if you want to attract and maintain condominium corporations as clients – it is a requirement if you want to comply with the law. Failure to do so has many negative consequences – residents could become subject to special assessments, and corporations could end up getting sued for failing to abide by these requirements.
There are many obvious benefits to being a proactive property manager. If you are a property manager or are looking to get into a better career in condo management in Toronto, you should contact us directly.
Are you an awesome proactive property manager who wants to absolutely love your job? Send us your resumes now!
ICC® Property Management always has openings for dedicated, skillful property managers who are as interested in customer satisfaction as we are. If you’re an “A Player” contact us to learn about our openings for experienced property managers today.