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Switching Commercial Property Management Companies May be Easier Than You Thought!

November 01, 2021
switching companies

Whether you like it or not, winter is coming.

The most important factor to consider when staring down the barrel of at least 3 months of sub-zero temperatures is preparedness. Here are a few helpful tips that will keep you (and your property) on track and worry free as we move into the holiday season.

 

1. Know your roof’s maximum snow load

When it comes to the weight of snow, the type of snow is as important as the depth of the snow. Fresh powder snow is typically lighter than wet packed snow, and ice is heavier than snow.

There are several contributing factors to the acting load on your roof that include snow drifts from adjacent buildings or mechanical equipment, heavy rain on snow, and melting snow that refreezes.

If you don’t know your roof’s snow load, hire a structural engineer to verify the snow load threshold of the roofing system. This information will be important after an event when determining if there is too much snow on the roof.

 

2. Prevent plumbing from freezing

  • Inspect and seal or repair all cracks, holes, leaks, windows, doors, and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating the wall cavity.
  • Insulate and seal around attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electric and mechanical chases.
  • Make sure your pipes in hard-to-reach places like attics, crawl spaces, and along outside walls are insulated. Wrap pipes and faucets in unheated or minimally heated areas of the building.
  • Make sure your existing freeze-protection devices and alarms are in good working order.
  • Test freeze stats (low temperature sensing device) and valves before the weather gets cold.
  • Pipes leading to the exterior should be shut off and drained at the start of winter. If these exterior faucets do not have a shut-off valve inside the building, have one installed by a plumber.
  • Hire a licensed fire protection specialist to conduct routine maintenance on your sprinkler system. Discuss the systems exposure to winter weather and potential mitigation options.

 3. Winterize your landscaping and irrigation

  • Keep all bushes and trees trimmed and away from the building. Trees with branches near or hanging over your building can damage the roof cover, siding, and windows.
  • Pay particular attention to trees within falling distance of overhead power lines leading into the property. Avoiding a power outage can save a day or two of business interruption.
  • Shut off and drain irrigation systems and outdoor hoses.

 4. Maintain your HVAC system

  • Schedule preventative maintenance and make sure the system is operating properly and efficiently.  Be sure to change any air filters and check that exhaust gases are being ventilated properly.
  • Select a heating system repair service before an unexpected outage or maintenance issue arises mid-season. Loss of heat for even a few hours could significantly disrupt your business during a cold snap.
  • Have someone ready to come quickly – including after hours – and negotiate an emergency rate in advance.

5. Service your generator.

The time to maintain a generator is well before a major snowstorm or disaster strikes (when professional assistance may be unavailable, power lines are down, and access roads are blocked). Backup power can help maintain a consistent building temperature and reduce the risk of freezing pipes leading to business disruption and damage.

 Permanent:

  • Permanent generators should have a proper maintenance plan that includes weekly, monthly, and annual checks. See the manufacturer’s specifications for more information.
  • Run the unit weekly on its maintenance plan to ensure it is properly functioning in case of an emergency. Individual units may have a timer that allows a programmed test to be scheduled. Qualified personnel should oversee these scheduled weekly tests.
  • Check the generator enclosure for loose debris or other conditions that could cause the unit to not function properly.

Portable:

  • Store in a dry location.
  • Set up a maintenance schedule to include periodic test runs for the unit

6. Check your roof and gutters

    Water that does not properly drain off a roof has the potential to freeze, adding to snow load and creating ice dams. Ice dams can add significant additional loads to the roof and could cause interior water damage if left unattended. It is important for your team to maintain the roof drains and gutters.

    Low slope (flat) roofs:

    • Inspect roof and repair leaks before winter season.
    • Remove all debris and other items from roof and roof drainage systems that prevent drainage of water from the roof during the melting process.
    • Check that all flashing and seals are flush and secure.

    Steep slope roofs:

    • Inspect your roof and repair leaks before winter season.
    • Secure loose shingles.
    • Check roof-edge waterproofing and seal to prevent potential drafts.
    • Add extra insulation in your attic or surrounding areas.

    Gutters:

    • Inspect gutters and ensure they’re secured to the building. Replace any missing gutter fasteners.
    • Clean gutters and interior downspouts thoroughly, removing all debris and unclogging drains.
    • Run test of gutters and downspouts to be sure water does not back up. This can be done by using a hose.
    • Check downspouts to ensure they divert water away from the foundation.

     7. Create a business continuity plan

    • Have a plan for communicating with employees across multiple channels (text, email, phone).
    • Have an emergency/recovery plan that is communicated to employees, customers, clients, delivery, etc.
    • Create a snow and ice removal plan for all roofs and grounds.
    • Plan for emergency snow removal in event of heavy accumulation. Identify and supply proper equipment and check it in advance of predicted snow.
    • Some businesses rely on on-street parking, so develop a back-up plan for nearby off-street parking if the municipality imposes a parking ban on streets (for plows). This occurs more frequently in the north, even hours before snow is expected, so they can pre-treat the roads.
    • Purchase and be ready to add non-slip water absorption mats to all entrances for both your employees and customers to capture water and snow as they enter your business and to minimize slips and falls.
    • Test/practice the plan.

    8. Check your insurance coverage and inventory valuable equipment

    • Know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t
    • Keep your insurance agent’s contact in your phone
    • If you have a loss due to a winter-related event, you’ll have to itemize your losses for your insurance company. Take a complete inventory of your home and store it somewhere safely offsite.

    NOTE: Check in with tenants regarding any maintenance requests or building concerns they may have. Living or working in your commercial property means they are on constant alert to their surroundings. If they see, hear, or smell something, ask that they say something.

    Many investors believe that shifting the management of their commercial property to a new agency is either complicated, expensive or just plain hard. When you feel you aren’t getting the service you require from your commercial property manager, switching to a new team will often be your best option.

    Can I switch mid-lease?

    In most cases, you can terminate your estate agent’s management of your rental property, effective immediately, by written notice to the agent.

    There may be fees involved depending on your existing contract, but you can give this notice at any time – even in a fixed term contract.

    Let us take care of everything

    Servis Realty is happy to conduct the communications required with your previous service provider and will even assist with the drafting of the termination letter. Once the termination letter has been received we will arrange to collect the file from the agency containing all important and relevant information such as the tenants contact details, rental payment history, copies of lease documents, property condition reports, photos and details of outstanding maintenance items.
    After that, it is as simple as us contacting the tenant, setting up their payment schedule for rent and carrying out the first inspection.

    Is there a reason I should change agents?

    Sometimes there doesn’t appear to be a problem with your agent but if you were to ask yourself some of the following questions, would you still be satisfied to stay with your current agent?

    • Are your existing tenants ever in arrears?
    • Do you have 24/7 access to your rental property information?
    • For routine inspections, does your property manager conduct them regularly and are they documented in detail to ensure nothing is missed?
    • Are you happy with the efficiency and quality of maintenance repairs on your tenanted property?
    • Is your existing agency assessing the rent annually to ensure it stays in line with the current market?

    Why Servis Realty Inc?

    Servis is different because we are solely focused on you – 100% committed to managing your property with expemplary service and great results that exceed your expectations.

    How do we achieve this?

    You Have A Dedicated Property Manager
    Our property managers only do property management. Period. Because that’s all we do, our team are able to focus on providing a specific, specialist property management service – so you receive our prompt and efficient service every time. And the best part? You only ever have to deal with one point of contact – your personal property manager, no leasing consultant or assistants. Whatever your goals for your property; Servis Realty will make sure that happens.

    Your Priorities are Our Priorities
    It’s quite simple; you want a great service, good tenants and the best possible rent. In order to make that happen, we have created a team who love what they do and are dedicated to achieving your goals and meeting your expectations – we know this because we track it.

    Our property managers have daily performance indicators (KPIs) they must achieve. Their targets include client satisfaction, completed inspections, rent arrears and signed lease agreements. Servis Realty has tried and tested this method and it works – you’ll notice the difference!

    Your Payments When You Want Them
    Just like our property managers only manage properties; our Chartered Professional Accountant only does accounting. You don’t just get the default option of receiving the rent at the end of the month, you can be paid out as little or as often as you like – whatever works best for you and your business.

    Our all-inclusive Management Fee.

    Servis Realty Inc will only charge you ONE management fee which includes everything we need to manage your property. We don’t cap on the number of quotes we need to arrange, we don’t cap on re-inspections or insurance claims that need to be done; basically, we don’t cap on anything! We simply manage your property the way you would like it to be managed.

    As a minimum our management fee will include:

    • Weekly inspections
    • Property condition report
    • Attendance to check and investigate maintenance
    • Lease renewals
    • Statements and summaries
    • Arranging quotes and meeting tradespeople
    • Processing insurance claims
    • Postage and administration

    Why is this different?

    Traditional agencies will typically charge you for each day to day task separately and then throw in a miscellaneous fee for all the fees they haven’t thought of. In many agencies, even those property managers, who sign you up on an “all-inclusive” basis, will not include many things. We have everything covered under the one simple fee.

    Apart from our fee structure being simple, it is also very safe. Whenever we pay you the collected rent, you will always know exactly how much is going into your account. You have peace of mind in knowing how much there will be to pay the mortgage at all times– even if you go on holiday.

    Your Calls Are Always Returned

    We understand the frustration that clients feel when their phone calls aren’t returned. To us you are a priority and all your phone calls will be responded to within a reasonable time frame. How can we guarantee this you may ask? It’s simple. We always find the time to call you back because our property managers care about you and your property – and we’ve made sure they aren’t too busy managing other properties.

    You Have Access to the Managers and Owners of  Servis Realty Inc.
    We are an Edmonton based family-owned business and understand the value of integrity and quality customer service. We are confident our property managers will give you a top-quality service, but if you do ever need to speak with Geoff or Milka, they are only a phone call away.

    We Only Use Individual Tradesmen
    Too many property managers are opting to use all-inclusive trades companies because they don’t have the time to research and arrange maintenance with individual companies. These types of companies will then add an extra portion onto their bill which you will end up paying for. We only use individual tradesmen who can offer quality at reasonable prices with a personal service, so you and your tenants will be satisfied.

    Your property is our priority – and we love what we do.

    Want to discuss handing over the management of your property to our team?  Contact Servis Realty or visit our website to schedule your free consultation!

     

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