COVID-19 has impacted us all. It has changed the way we interact with each other. While what we do has been deemed an essential service, we have made important changes to our policies and procedures. If you have direct questions about your investment properties and how they may or may not be impacted by COVID-19 and related legislation, please contact us.
With the Landlord & Tenant Board postponing all hearings and delaying the issuance of eviction orders, our focus is now on mediation and relationship management. We have been communicating regularly with all our tenants and have noticed that most are responding in a collaborative and cooperative manner. We will continue to offer our support and assistance to all our tenants while gently reminding them of the avenues available for assistance and the expectation that if they can, they should continue to pay their rents in full. If we are presented with a contentious or disruptive situation, we will do our best to mediate this internally with the understanding that enforcement of the Residential Tenancies Act is effectively on pause until further notice.
Simply put they’re unenforceable until the Landlord & Tenant Board reconvenes. If you intend on re-occupying your property in the next 90 days, please contact us immediately so we can strategize how best to move forward. Respectful and collaborative communication is incredibly important. So too are realistic expectations and an empathetic approach.
Effective August 1st, 2020, the LTB will:
• Begin to issue eviction orders that are pending;
• Continue to hear urgent eviction matters relating only to health and safety;
• Begin scheduling hearings for non-urgent evictions (likely 4-6 months in advance);
• Begin conducting non-urgent eviction hearings;
As expected, we’ve seen a noticeable slowdown in our leasing due to COVID-19. Many of our tenants have understandably refused to allow showings due to fear of contamination, resulting in us being able to market and lease only vacant suites across our portfolio. We’ve also noticed increased resistance to higher lease rates. Early numbers for March point to a modest decrease in the average lease rate for condo apartments of approximately 2.2%. While we do feel that accurate pricing is necessary to avoid vacancy loss, we are not predicting a severe correction. In the second half of 2020 we may see upward pressure on our historically low vacancy rate as we move through the aftershocks of the pandemic and inventory begins to flood the market resulting in a temporary decline in average lease rate of around 3-5%. If your unit is heading toward vacancy, it may be prudent to invest some time and resources into improving the property, allowing it to stand out from the crowd when the crowd inevitably swells prior to re-stabilization.
Fall inspections are ongoing currently. Our inspector is being tested for COVID regularly and is arranging for access directly with your tenants. During these inspections’ alarms will be tested and outdoor water taps will be shut off. Photos and notes will be taken of the property and the completed reports will be made available to you online through your client portal.
• If your tenants are not comfortable with us accessing for these inspections you will be notified.
For repairs and maintenance, please note that some of our trades are no longer working as they may be deemed ‘non-essential’. We will work with you on a case by case basis and will advise if we’re unable to act on your request.