A Day in the Life of a Property Manager: The Lease

Just another Day in the Life of a Property Manager. This time it’s a tricky situation involving a broken lease and written notice!
Nicholas Meyer of Downtown Suites explains the ins and outs of leasing in Vancouver. Good info for both landlords and tenants.

Leaks, Liabilities, Insurance
Here’s a tale: In one building, someone on the seventh floor put kitty litter in the toilet. As you can imagine, the toilet solidified like concrete, and basically just blew up. The leak traveled vertically down through connected suites. On the second floor, our tenant lost many valuables, including designer clothes. In this instance we settled with her as nicely as possible and within a half-hour had a restoration company in there.

At Downtown Suites we contact emergency restoration as soon as any such incident happens. We understand that with leaks there can be so much humidity with conventional carpets it is necessary to move all furniture out asap, before the moisture gets to the wood and warps it. Even in a concrete building the dampness can cause mould from the absorption of moisture. However, an immediate call to a restoration company can avoid much of the water damage.

Insurance is essential, for tenants and landlords, as well as strata corporations. Recently, insurance has become complicated, as some companies have a cap on the deductable per suite, rather than per occurrence. In the per occurrence scenario, imagine 15 claims at $5000 deductable per claim. This is where the owner’s insurance comes in, paying the deductable if it is a building claim.

Usually, the tenant’s alternate place to stay isn’t covered by that insurance, which is one reason why the tenant would need to have his own. In normal circumstances, the deductable would be the owner’s responsibility, rather than the tenant’s.

Of course, liability is a big issue, and as property managers we help both owners and tenants understand which areas are their responsibilities in such circumstances.

(This is an important Evergreen Resource article, revisited from our archives.)

Not 1 but 2 Month’s Notice

At Downtown Suites we manage all End of Tenancy Notice in an atmosphere of trust, tact and timeliness. Today, I’d like to share more with you on the fine points of the BC Residential Tenancy Act.

When a rental unit requires extensive renovations or repairs, so extensive that the place would have to be vacant, the landlord may give notice to the tenant. In this situation, the requirement is not one but two months’ notice. These renovations would also need all the legally relevant permits and approvals before notice could be given. As well, the Residential Tenancy Act says that the landlord needs to intend these repairs “in good faith”, to ensure that this is an actual renovation/repair and not simply a ruse to remove the tenant. In addition, the landlord needs to be aware that the tenant could give ten days’ notice after receiving this two month notice, with a potential loss of revenue to the landlord.

There are many reasons why an owner might need to give a resident tenant notice to vacate, and landlords should be familiar with the Residential Tenancy Act to understand which of these require two months’ notice.

Such as: the conversion of the residential property to strata lots, or conversion into a not-for-profit housing coop. Of course, in both of these situations all legal permits must be in place.

Or: if a rental unit needs to be made available for a residential building’s caretaker or manager, two months’ notice can be given to the tenant of that suite, to make room for the caretaker.

Other permitted reasons for notice include the demolition of the rental unit, and the conversion of the rental unit to another non-residential use. In earlier posts, I’ve gone over the situations related to notice for the purposes of sale.

The 10 days’ notice scenario:
A tenant receives two months’ notice. He turns around and gives the landlord 10 days’ written notice for an earlier move-out date. Along with this notice, he pays rent to the landlord, covering the time of notice to the move-out date. However, the landlord has the tenant’s previously paid rent (for a period after that effective date) such as a post-dated cheque for the full month and future months. She must return these funds to the tenant. (Please note that this scenario doesn’t apply to a fixed term tenancy.)

Confusing? As experienced residential property managers, we can help you with the ins and outs of these and other tenant situations. Contact us at Downtown Suites.

(This is an important Evergreen Resource article, revisited from our archives.)

End of Tenancy: About Notice

At Downtown Suites, we always act with compassion and empathy to the tenants when delivering an end of tenancy notice on behalf of an owner. At the same time, we want to ensure everything happens without any loss to the property owners if at all possible. An important factor is making sure we have timely delivery of any End of Tenancy Notice, according to the BC Residential Tenancy Act’s stipulations.

Notice is not always considered “received” on the date is it sent, depending on the way this notice is delivered.

Received on the day of delivery: When a copy of the notice is left directly with the tenant, or left with an adult who apparently lives with the tenant, the notice is deemed to be received on the day it is left.

Received in three days: It is important to know that when a copy is left in a mailbox (or mail slot) where the tenant lives, the notice is not deemed to be received until three days after the day it was left. If the notice is faxed to a number provided by the tenant, it is deemed to be received on the third day after faxing. Similarly, if notice is posted on the door or other noticeable place at the address where the tenant lives, it is deemed as received on the third day after this posting.

Received in five days: When a copy has been sent by regular mail or registered mail to the address where the tenant lives, notice is deemed to be received on the fifth day after mailing.

Many owners following these regulations are surprised to discover that, through no fault of the tenant, the notice was not actually received. Unless the notice is directly handed to the tenant, it is wise to have confirmation of receipt. At Downtown Suites, as soon as we hear from an owner that notice must be given, we send it out by registered mail.

(This is an important Evergreen Resource article, revisited from our archives.)

Warning Before Termination

Many years ago when travelling in Egypt, I was staying in the home of a devout Coptic Christian in Luxor. My travel companion was a woman, a completely platonic friend. When the Coptic gentleman had to go on a journey, he kindly let us stay alone in his home, but he was quite concerned, surprisingly, not for any of his possessions but that we might defile the place by an illicit sexual act.  Of course we assured him of our chaste relationship and he left trusting us.

At the time his attitude seemed quaint, but all these years later it now makes much more sense to me. In our modern hectic life, there is so little understanding of energy, and the reactions the various forces have on our lives.

I recalled that time in Luxor yesterday when I had the unfortunate duty of serving a breach notice to a tenant. Our senior Property Manager, and I met with the tenant to warn her that an outbreak of disorderly conduct in the suite by her new husband’s friends was cause for termination.

On behalf of our clients, we do not tolerate any infractions or unreasonable conduct. We believe, however, that everyone deserves a warning before termination of the tenancy so I personally went to the suite to talk with the woman. It was an embarrassing and unfortunate moment for us all. While we talked the TV blared on in the background and her cell phone rang several times.

We didn’t talk only of regulations. I reminded her that her home was really her sanctuary and her place of refuge. I felt she understood, even though I must have sounded as old fashioned to her as the generous Copt in Luxor had sounded to me, years ago.

Remembering Luxor
Remembering Luxor
Current State of the Market: Nov. 2008

Nicholas Meyer discusses the current status of the real estate rental market in Vancouver BC.

Please contact us at Downtown Suites for more information, and if you have any comments, please add them below.