Posted by - Jumie Omole -
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Today was no different,I had just completed signing a lease and welcoming our new tenants into their new Abode. So, I took a drive round the corner to a brand new rental condo building. Nothing was pre-planned; I didn't wear a wig, fake eyelashes or display anything but an authentic image as a 'prospective tenant' seeking info about available vacancies and possibly a viewing. For privacy reasons, I will not be using the original of the leasing consultants that attended to me. Here's what unfolded.
I'm in Uptown Toronto, standing in front of one of many such condo buildings under construction or recently completed. This project is intriguing because it's collaboration between 2 Jews and a seasoned builder; geared to bring luxury rentals to urban professionals, young couples, retirees, and even students.
I walked in and enquired on vacancies for a 1+den or 2 bdrm condo, the young timid lady aka Lily at the desk informed me they had both and I proceeded to ask for the pricing on them? What's included? What's not included? Then suddenly out of nowhere, a lady aka Nancy interjects our convo, looks me straight in the eye and said 'how may I help you''¦..I did a triple take (3 thoughts rang thru my mind such as how rude? heck no I'm not repeating myself to this lady, and I don't like when folks make an underling feel small-er in front of a stranger) so I proceeded to politely inform Nancy I was been taken care of by Lily.
Fast forward, the talking is over, time to see the units available, and the layouts, Nancy quickly dismissed Lily to fetch the unit layouts and decided to show me the units herself. I bet if you read their company's mission statement it will have buzz words like inclusive, team, collaborative, etc. I was shown 4 units, all under 900 sq. ft but nicely staged and inviting though the one thing that boggled my mind is 'why would they use big furniture pieces to stage' a small space under 900 sq ft. I guess we can ask the interior designers and stagers to help us understand this?
Despite the initial triple take with Nancy, we did chat about landlords, tenants, the landlord's tenancy act and of course the application process for the rentals. I'd like to share her comments on some of the questions I posed to her as a prospective tenant.
Q- I have a property manager assisting me in my search, do you cooperate with them?
A ' Yes we cooperate with real estate agents, it's actually in the best interest of tenants to never deal directly with a landlord. She proceeded to tell me why.
Q ' If I have a recent copy of my credit report can I just provide that to you to save you the hassle of running an enquiry and also save me the credit points lost through such enquiries?
A ' No, we'd still run the credit report as with the aid of Photoshop or editing software, fraudulent tenants can modify the credit report to reflect an entirely different story.
Q ' On the topic of the residential tenancies board, she explained her lack of faith in the process and from her experience they are biased towards landlords and their lawyers?
A- I found this interesting because if you were to take a poll; landlords and their lawyers would complain bitterly that the Act and the Board empowers tenants too often, and the act should be revised.
Though Nancy spoke from personal experience as a tenant, and as a witness for a case taken to the board, one cannot forget her present role of leasing agent- representing the interests of the landlords aka the condo owners. As it's often said, there are always 2 sides to a story.
Overall it was a positive experience for me, and I'd recommend their units for any prospective tenants that come my way because they do have some awesome incentives. But as a property manager it's amplified my awareness for tenant screening, and got me thinking about sustainable building amenities that truly have the 'tenant' in mind. For example, EZ shuttle bus to/from the train stations, the wet room, the wifi access, the external power outlets on balconies, the online concierge service for cabs, complimentary beverages in the party room. I like the innovative ideas, I like the fact these 2 Jews and a builder are doing things differently.
With head and heart,