ACMO http://acmo.org The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario Mon, 17 Dec 2018 16:54:32 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Managing Morale in the Age of Licensing http://acmo.org/managing-morale-in-the-age-of-licensing/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 16:06:44 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=21042 Since licensing was introduced in Ontario, there has been an increased demand for qualified Condominium Managers.  This has resulted in Managers moving between organizations, and it has become a game of musical chairs as the industry adjusts to the licensing requirements.  Many managers have left the industry altogether, some have chosen early retirement.  Others have been promoted from supporting roles into the Manager position. With all these changes along with natural attrition in the overall workforce, baby boomers retiring, as well as historically low unemployment figures, it has become much clearer that morale needs to be considered a high priority to attract and retain employees.

Here are five essential tools for building morale.

Career Path

Laying out a clear career path with achievable milestones motivates employees to accomplish more. Coaching and mentoring by experienced team members will help employees move forward to the next level in their career. Promoting from within lets employees see that their efforts today can reap rewards tomorrow. Educational opportunities will also ensure that qualified candidates are ready to take on new roles within the organization as the business requires.

Compensation Packages

Need to be appropriate.  The market has seen a steady salary increase since licensing came into effect, however it isn’t just about money.  There are other factors to consider in the overall compensation package that are a big part of an employee’s experience. These include:

  • Flexible work hours

  • Benefit packages

  • RRSP employer contributions

  • Vacation entitlement

  • Continued education

  • Reward programs for high achievers

Work Load

The work load can be perceived as too much.  Not only do Managers work the standard 9 to 5, they also have to attend evening meetings with clients and those meetings usually result in more work for the manager. Managing employee work load improves morale significantly.  The use of resource management tools helps ensure the manager is not overburdened.  Items to consider include unit count, the number of communities assigned to manage, number of board meetings attended per month, upcoming projects, as well as the number and type of amenities each community has.  Developing tools and techniques for working smarter, as well as utilizing the latest technologies, makes all the difference in managing these workloads.

Regular Performance Reviews

The once a year annual review is a thing of the past. Regular and frequent performance reviews are essential to everyone’s development; it is where expectations are aligned between the employee and the employer, insight gained, issues raised, and solutions developed.

Team Building

Strong teams achieve more, while building a strong team takes time and effort, the results are worth it. Building teams can be done by creating positive day to day interactions, hosting company social events, involving employees in corporate responsibility initiatives, having employees attend industry conferences, as well as providing access to learning opportunities both inside and outside the office. Encouraging managers to talk to each other about challenges they are facing, sharing ideas, and recounting stories builds bonds within the team and reinforces team spirit. Leadership of the organization needs to participate in this type of dialogue, and creating an open-door policy helps facilitate an environment where managers feel comfortable sharing their experiences and seeking assistance with resolving concerns, they may not have faced in their career yet.

 

Craig McMillan, RCM, ACCI, CMCA, CAPM is Vice President of Operations at Maple Ridge Community Management

]]>
Parking Complaints Public Process http://acmo.org/21000-2/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 15:57:37 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=21000  

On Monday, November 5th 2018 the Toronto Police Service launched the Immediate Parking Complaint online process.

Property owners, private security and members of the public are now able to report parking complaints online by visiting the TPS app or the Toronto Police Service website.  This will reduce wait times for members of the public and ensure that the necessary information is provided to Parking Enforcement  Officers.

Submitted by

Sgt. Paul Jones #5130
Toronto Police Service Strategy Management Unit

]]>
Managing Conflict in Condominiums http://acmo.org/managing-conflict-in-condominiums/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 15:44:00 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=20994 Conflict is an inescapable part of life, and it will occur in our role as Condominium Managers more often than many of us would like. Being proficient in conflict management is therefore an essential skill for any Condominium Manager to possess.

As Condominium Managers we must strive to maintain our professionalism when dealing with various stakeholders. There will be people that we would rather not deal with but have too. Disagreements, even arguments, will occur in any relationship, and knowing how to react appropriately in the heat of the moment goes a long way towards establishing and maintaining credibility as a professional.

Here are some commonly used conflict management styles:

  • Withdrawing or avoiding involves retreating from an actual or potential conflict situation. It doesn’t resolve the conflict.
  • Smoothing or accommodation emphasizes areas of agreement rather than areas of difference. It provides a short-term solution by appeasing the other party.
  • Compromising searches for and bargains for solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties with no definitive resolution.
  • Forcing involves pushing one view point at the expense of others resulting in a win-lose solution. This approach may result in hard feelings that come back in other forms.
  • Collaborating incorporates multiple viewpoints and differing perspectives which lead to a consensus and a commitment for each party involved. This will provide a long-term resolution to the situation.
  • Confronting or problem-solving treats conflict as a problem to be solved by examining alternatives. It requires a certain give-and-take attitude along with open dialogue. This approach most often results in ultimate resolution to the conflict.

Condominium Managers that are proficient in conflict management may use many of these conflict management styles as the situation dictates.

The ability to anticipate and adapt our approach to a source of conflict is a critical factor in our overall success.

Here are some common sources of conflict Condominium Managers face:

  • Priorities or goal incompatibility – Goal setting should be clearly defined and communicated to all stakeholders.
  • Administrative procedures – Condominium governing documents establish responsibly and accountability. Conflict arises when stakeholders are not familiar with these documents or there is ambiguity or contradiction within the documents.
  • Scheduling conflicts – Proper Planning well in advance reduces this occurrence. Using tools such as annual calendars to map out known events will reduce the likelihood of this type of conflict.
  • Costs & budget overruns – Budgets are set well in advance with predicted costs based on historical data as well as known increases in each category. Conflict arises when incorrect data is used, unrealistic expectations of costs control assumed, or unplanned costs occur.
  • Communication – Acknowledgement that the message has been received in a timely fashion, along with an expected time frame for when a detailed response will be forthcoming are essential to effective communication. This approach builds trust and reduces frustrations.
  • Personality clashes – It is inevitable that personalities will clash at some point. Our clients live where we work. This is a fairly unique situation in the service sector. Our relationships with these clients can last decades. Tools for dealing with this conflict include effective communication, active listening, maintaining professionalism and being Honest.


Craig McMillan, RCM, ACCI, CMCA, CAPM is Vice President of Operations at Maple Ridge Community Management

]]>
New Continuing Education Requirements for Condo Manager General Licence Renewal in 2019 http://acmo.org/new-continuing-education-requirements-for-condo-manager-general-licence-renewal-in-2019/ Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:58:00 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=20975 ACMO is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to provide the continuing education webinars for General Licencees who received their education and examination requirements prior to November 1, 2017. Please see the Ministry’s message below for more information:

For questions, please refer to the link for frequently asked questions located near the end of the message or contact CMRAO

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has new continuing education requirements for certain condo managers to help ensure the sector has up-to-date knowledge of Ontario’s condo law changes.

Changes Effective October 18, 2018

Effective October 18, 2018, the Minister of Government and Consumer Services introduced new continuing education requirements for condo managers who were granted a General Licence and completed educational and examination requirements prior to November 1, 2017. These condo managers will be required to successfully complete new continuing education requirements in order to renew their General Licence in 2019.

  • The continuing education requirements can be accessed here.

  • More information on licence renewal from the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario can be accessed here.

Condo managers required to take the continuing education program would have completed their education requirements for a General Licence prior to courses being updated to reflect recent changes to Ontario’s condo laws. It is important that condo managers operating with a General Licence have up-to-date knowledge of the recent condo law changes and understand their new obligations and responsibilities as licensed condo managers.

The online continuing education program, entitled “Continuing Education for Condo Manager General Licence Renewal (2019)” is being delivered by the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario and can be accessed here.

Resources
Please click here for a Fast Facts information sheet regarding licensing and educational and exam requirements for condo managers, including new continuing education requirements for 2019 General Licence renewal.

Please click here for a Questions and Answers sheet on how educational and examination requirements, including continuing education, may apply to you as a condo manager.

With kind regards,

Audrey M. McGuire          Dean McCabe
ACMO President                ACMO Vice President

]]>
Choosing the Right Contractor http://acmo.org/choosing-right-contractor/ Wed, 31 Oct 2018 17:23:05 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=20964 We, as Condominium Managers, are often approached by seasoned sales professionals who offer a large range of new products and services to buildings.  Whether it is carpet cleaning, odour control, security, hvac or cleaning services – everyone wants to get your business and service your sites.  How do you determine which contractor is most suitable?  Read on to find out.

Check for required license and insurance

In Ontario, all contractors must be licensed and insured for their services rendered.  Before dealing with a contractor do ensure they are current on their Liability and WSIB insurance certificates; that they are fully licensed for services rendered i.e. electrical, plumbing, HVAC, fire systems and others; that the company is registered with and appears on the ACMO trades list.  By taking this step you are ensuring that the company you are dealing with has a clean track record, is reputable and reliable.  This way, the company will stand by their work and should an issue arise in the future, they will take ownership of the work completed and not disappear on you.

Ask the right questions

There is no such thing as a “free lunch”.  In other words, if you see a bid that is too good to be true – it often is.  Before engaging the contractor, ask the right questions to ensure there are no surprises down the road.  For example, is the contract a comprehensive contract or are service calls extra to the contract?  Are employees directly hired or are they subcontracted?  How much experience do employees bring to the table?  Are all materials and/or supplies included in the quotation?  Itemize the “extras” to the contract and put an annual/monthly price on this.   Is work supervision part of the contract?  Remember that contractors who try to get their foot in the door with a low price may have built an escalation clause into their proposal, which can negatively impact the building’s future cash flows.

Look for red flags

Be wary of contractors who are vague and have little knowledge of their scope of work.  Overused responses such as “we couldn’t identify the problem and will need to come back another day”, “we cannot be sure at this time and aren’t familiar with this system”  “we cannot read the building drawings”, or “we are not sure how to fix this” are red flags that are costing the building money.  Remember, time spent on investigation and identification of a problem is billable.  Always ensure that a contractor logbook is kept current at the site and all contractors are signing in and out.  Once an invoice is received, it is a good practice to check contractor invoices against their work orders and the contractor logbook to confirm the hours spent at the building by the trades are matching up.  Remember, the building hires a contractor for their skillset – if they don’t bring the knowledge and experience that you can rely on, then it’s time for a change.

Ask the experts

Be wary of contractors who cannot fix your equipment (whether its HVAC or Life Safety Systems) and have a track record of recommending upgrades or premature equipment replacement.  All buildings have a Reserve Fund prepared by qualified engineers and every time that money is taken out of the reserve prematurely it creates a hole in the fund.  Always consult with your building engineers about unplanned equipment replacements.  Engineers will work with the Board and Management to determine the cause of premature equipment failure, get to the bottom of the problem, make professional recommendations to resolve the issues and provide equipment replacement specifications if necessary.  To assist your engineers and minimize costs, do the preliminary research of cause and effect, speak to different trades/contractors about the issue and listen to their recommendations, try to get to the bottom of the issue first and then turn your findings over to the engineers.

Sounds simple right?  Just kidding.  We as Property Managers are always on the move, asking questions, looking for answers. When unsure get professional advice.

Oksana Dolotko, RCM, is Property Manager for Online Property Management.

]]>
Advocacy Update http://acmo.org/advocacy-update/ Wed, 03 Oct 2018 18:32:03 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=19399 ACMO strives to support the membership through advocacy and represent the collective voice of condominium managers in Ontario. We’ll provide periodic reports of the ways ACMO works on your behalf.

ACMO Leaders Meet with New Ministry Staff

As there is a new Minister of Government and Consumer Services, ACMO representatives introduced ourselves to members of the Minister’s staff to ensure they were aware they could reach out to ACMO for comment or feedback on ongoing regulatory changes. Audrey McGuire, Dean McCabe and Janice Schenk met on October 2nd with the Minister’s Director of Stakeholders and Director of Policy.

Dean McCabe Speaks to Zoomer Radio

If you were listening to Zoomer Radio on the morning of September 20, you would have heard the familiar voice of Dean McCabe, Vice President of ACMO’s Board of Directors. Dean, along with Denise Lash of Lash Condo Law, appeared on a call-in segment to take questions from condominium owners about the upcoming legalization of cannabis. He discussed the challenges from a manager’s perspective and provided strategies that various corporations are using to prepare for this major change in the condominium landscape.

]]>
Advice for New Condominium Managers http://acmo.org/advice-for-new-condominium-managers/ Tue, 21 Aug 2018 14:38:57 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=17259 Condominium Property Management can be an exciting and rewarding profession.  In a single day you can find yourself building relationships, organizing a complex construction project, and navigating human rights or other legal matters.

The challenges in this field also come from having so much variety – you need to be skilled in many different areas.  This does not mean however that you need to know everything to be successful!  Consider the following:

Get Organized

In a previous blog, we reviewed tips to successfully transition to a new condominium property.  As a manager entering the industry, you should appropriately introduce yourself, familiarize yourself with the governing documents of the Corporation, meet building staff and suppliers, review your action plans with the Board of Directors, and create a prioritized action list.

In addition to these tips, as a new manager it is important that you familiarize yourself with the various legal deadlines surrounding the Corporation’s year-end.  For example, ensure you know when you need to hold the AGM, prepare the budget for the Corporation, update the Reserve Fund Study, renew the insurance, and circulate periodic information certificates.

Be Responsive

As a property manager, you are not producing a tangible product for sale.  Your service is your product.  You’ll want to be known long-term as a manager that meets their obligations and provides service in a reasonable time-frame.

This means that phone calls and emails must be responded to promptly, but more importantly you must follow-up on unresolved matters to ensure they are completed to the client’s satisfaction.  There are many tips and tricks that can be used to make this happen; but an old-fashioned action list can be a powerful tool.

Know Your Strengths

Everyone has areas where they are strong and areas that they are weak.  Perhaps you have excellent mechanical knowledge, but lack computer skills.  Or you communicate better in person than through written correspondence.

In knowing what area(s) you might struggle with, you can better plan your time and effort.  Additionally, in being honest with yourself about areas requiring improvement you can develop your own personal improvement plan through education and experience.

Know Your Limits

It is important for a new manager to understand that they have an ethical obligation to ensure they are not providing advice that they are not qualified to give.

In this regard, a manager should never allow a client to rely on advice that they may provide if they lack the necessary education, credentials, or skill.  From time-to-time, it may be difficult to convince a Board to spend extra funds on an engineer when undertaking a major project (as an example).

It is sometimes easier to try and make the client happy by giving in – but this never pays off in the long run.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

With so much variety in our roles and in dealing with so many different people, condominium property management can be stressful.  In work, and life, it’s important to pick your battles and focus your energy where it’s really needed.

In my mind, this is the single most important piece of advice that can be given to someone entering this profession.  If you worry about the small things, you can find yourself without energy to fulfil the rest of your role.  Further, it can begin to have an impact on your personal life.

Pick and choose what you need to worry about wisely and do your best to leave the stress at the door when you head home after a long day.

Lyndsey McNally, R.C.M., is a Team Leader at Malvern Condominium Property Management.

]]>
Ontario Ends Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program http://acmo.org/ontario-ends-electric-vehicle-charging-incentive-program/ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 17:47:16 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=17166 The Ministry of Transportation has announced that the Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program is cancelled effective July 11, 2018.

According to the statement, charging stations purchased and/or installed before this date will be eligible to receive incentives if the application is submitted within 60 days of July 11.

You can read the full announcement below:

Statement from the Ministry of Transportation

We strive to keep you up to date on the latest industry news. Visit our News page on our website for updates.

]]>
Building a Kid-Friendly Condominium Community http://acmo.org/building-a-kid-friendly-condominium-community/ Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:55:36 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=16927 Much has been written recently on the growing number of families choosing to put down roots in condominium communities. Many developers are even beginning to design condominiums with families in mind by including special facilities and playgrounds from the planning stages.

But what do you do as the manager of an established condominium to respond to the needs of this growing demographic?

Meet with families and gather feedback

First find out who has children in the building. This could be done with a survey or by just speaking with owners who have families and getting feedback on what is nice about the corporation and property and what is problematic.

Often times getting feedback directly from people will give direction on what would be the best course of action or steps to take. Setting up a meeting or responding to feedback in a constructive way and giving some outline for what is being considered is important.

Be mindful of managing expectations. Some ideas and suggestions may never be possible because they might contravene a declaration and require 80% approval for the change, which is very challenging in the best circumstances.

Review potential play areas or unused space

Once you have some ideas and feedback to fuel some actions, review the spaces available in the corporation for various types of uses. Maybe there is a portion of the gym that is closed off or not in use frequently. Maybe a scheduled play time could be arranged.

What areas are families and children congregating at naturally?

Organize programs, events, and volunteer activities

For any successful extra curricular (extra from the day to day management and Board duties) activity, there needs to be community-minded individuals who are willing to make arrangements and coordinate volunteers.

The events may be weekly, monthly or even annually as a community BBQ with a few games. In either case there needs to be willing individuals to take on the work.

Boards should consider the various ways these events may affect the corporation and note any potential for risk or liability. Determine if there should be a committee formed for this purpose, or if due to the activity and nature of the events, that organization be managed in another way.

Make your property safe for children

We tend to think about adults when ensuring the property is safe. Obvious trip hazards and other concerns are quickly dealt with. Try to view the property from a child’s perspective. This coupled with the feedback from families should help to improve site safety.

Arrange information sessions with the Fire Department, Police Department or other organizations to teach families about safety.

Determine the corporation’s ability to be kid-friendly

The physical limitations of your Corporation will have a large impact on the overall kid friendliness. However, the decision to accommodate a kid-friendly community and atmosphere is ultimately up to the Board of Directors and volunteers in the community. If your community’s facilities are unable to provide space for children, consider other opportunities to serve your condominium’s smallest residents. For example, is there a traffic jam of families at the elevators before and after school? Perhaps adjustments could be made to the moving elevator’s availability during this time.


Darryl Fulton, RCM, is Division Manager – Condominiums at Goldview Property Management Ltd.

]]>
Building Trust with Your Condo Board http://acmo.org/building-trust-with-your-condo-board/ Tue, 05 Jun 2018 18:51:34 +0000 http://acmo.org/?p=16880 Trust is defined as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing; confidence.  A relationship with your clients built on trust is extremely important because, as a Condominium Property Manager, you are entrusted to manage what will often be the largest investment for an individual – their homes.

Developing a relationship based on trust is most easily accomplished through clear expectations, honesty, and integrity.  In working with a new Board, you may find they are hesitant to trust you based on negative experience in the past.  So where should you start?

Set Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are the foundation to successful relationships.  Your contract with the condominium corporation is a good place to start as it will define the Property Manager’s scope of authority.

Beyond that however, each Board will have different expectations of their Manager.  Some may wish to have weekly reporting on the Manager’s activities, while others only want to have reports from their Manager to review at their monthly Board meetings.

You also may have spending limits outlined within your management agreement, but does the Board wish for you to make discretionary expenditures within that limit, or necessary expenses only?

Having an upfront discussion about expectations will help to prevent disagreements about how you’ve implemented your scope of authority as the Manager.

Be Reliable

Showing up when you’re supposed to is a good start.  But reliability goes beyond just sitting in your office during business hours.

A reliable Property Manager proactively manages the assets of the Corporation through regular physical inspections, discussions with Residents, and Staff meetings.  Being an active, reliable member of the community will help you to advise the Board about what is uniquely right for their Condominium Corporation.  Being proactive makes you the first person aware of any issues that may arise, therefore, the Board will trust your leadership and advice.

Be Accountable

Occasionally, despite your best efforts or intentions things can go wrong.  You missed a deadline or provided advice that led your clients down the wrong path.  When this happens, the best way to move forward while maintaining a positive relationship is to acknowledge your part in the problem, apologize, and offer solutions.  Being upfront and honest in any relationship goes a long way to building and maintaining trust.

Address Facts not Rumours

Condominiums are communities, and so a little gossip between neighbours is normal and expected.  What’s important for a Property Manager is to not participate in gossip and rumours.  Mr. & Mrs. Jones’ divorce is no one’s business but their own.  If they are screaming in the halls at all hours of the night, then the Manager must take some action to ensure that behaviour stops. Otherwise, let people keep their personal business personal.

Getting wrapped up in the rumour mill makes you appear untrustworthy.  But also consider this – Mr. Jones might find himself on the Board one day.  Will he respect you for how you handled the gossip about his personal life?

Communicate

I can’t stress enough that communication is the key to maintaining trust in a relationship.  You need to make sure you communicate with the Board about your activities as they are the ones responsible for your actions while carrying out their delegated authority in managing the community.

But also consider that communication and building a trusting relationship goes beyond your relationship with the Board.  Individual unit owners need to trust you too.  Help the Board understand why communication about how money is spent is important.  The same holds true for communication about how projects are planned, access to records when required, or even just having an open door when they have questions.

Lyndsey McNally, RCM, is a Team Leader at Malvern Condominium Property Management.

]]>