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Bored board members and anxious tenants during social distancing

“Flattening The Curve” for Property Management

Compared to last November to April 30th, 2020, Magnum York has seen an astounding 42% increase in emails coming into our office and a similar increase in phone calls.

As the fatigue of social distancing sets in, at Magnum York, we’ve noticed some trends in the property management business that we thought we’d share.

A 42% increase in service requests is something we have been managing very carefully. Our triage means that some items are prioritized more than others. For example, a flood that’s impacting several units in a building is more important than ensuring your neighbour picks up after their dog poops on the common area lawn.

We thank you for your patience as we work through the COVID-19 crisis together.

Message from Peter Best, CEO & Broker

During Alberta’s state of emergency, property management is considered an essential service. We’re proud that we’re taking care of over 750 properties across Alberta and positively impacting thousands of people lives. We’ve had only experienced minor service interruptions here at Magnum York. All of our data and systems are in the cloud and our team is following specific guidelines for safely conducting our duties.

Our #1 priority is the safety of our staff.

We’ve had one staff member with COVID-19 who was quarantined and has since recovered nicely, thankfully. We’ve had several other close calls testing negative. With so much in our hands, I’m sure you appreciate our diligence in this area.

With COVID-19, it takes more time to do … well, everything

Because of social distancing, safe practices and self-isolation, it takes longer:

  • to manage processes,
  • to communicate with & get answers from people,
  • to have our field staff manage move-in’s/move-out’s/showings in a social distance, safe hygenic way,
  • to work with and get quotes for vendors & trades,
  • to work with businesses who are closed or have reduced staff

Bored Boards? Interested Investment Owners?

We serve a number of clients, mostly condominium boards and apartment investment owners.

Clients who have had to pause their regular work during the state-of-emergency have more time on their hands. Some are viewing this time period as an “opportunity to clean up and move a lot more projects forward.”

The opposite should prevail.

We urge our clients to consider if the work they are requiring is putting others in danger needlessly.

Also, consider if optional deadlines can be stretched or deferred, so as to support the trades who have a much harder time doing their work with social distancing as well as reduced staff.

With extra time on their hands, we’re finding clients not realizing they are being more demanding and involved, and getting more frustrated in the process.

Some board members and investment owners are even taking self-initiative to move projects forward for which they have no experience … inadvertently causing a higher workload on your property management team, your vendors, and ultimately causing more delays to your projects.

We ask that you try to restrict your ongoing phone & email conversations with Property Managers and Property Administrators to critical items, and deal with smaller items during regularly scheduled meetings.

We also encourage boards to help manage condo owners, All complaints and service items are important of course, we get that. But there are some that just don’t need to be prioritized right now, and frankly, get in the way of us taking care of the critical items.

Use MYWebPortal as a Board Member or Investment Owner as a tool to keep current

MYWebPortal is an online tool available free to all Magnum York clients. It’s an essential tool for boards who want to have 24/7 access to the current status of their property.

For example, we’ve just add a Delinquency Report to MYWebPortal that allows board members to see the current status of Condo Fee collections, and investment owners to see the current status of their rent receivables.

If you’re not already set up with MYWebPortal, contact your Property Manager.

Anxious Tenants & Condo Owners

These are the toughest times we’ve lived together through, no question.

Our hearts go out to all Albertan’s. There is a lot of anxiety and unknowns. Many of our tenants and condo owners are at home, with more time on their hands.

Everyone is paying more attention to the space they live in, the situations they face, what their neighbours & their dogs are doing, and what the board is up to. Naturally, this has increased the number of non-emergency calls we have been getting (as well as increased pressure for Condo boards!).

At the same time, emergency calls have also been increasing. More people in more buildings means more things are breaking.

Not to mention the unprecedented ANGER we are experiencing.

Magnum York has 0% tolerance of abuse to our staff.

We know this is a frustrating time, but yelling at the people who are trying to do their best for your living situation doesn’t help anything.

We are doing everything possible within the guidelines of government regulations to help. Ask your Property Manager for strategies such as helping boards consider reserve fund study deferred payments as well as apartment Rent Deferral Payment Plans.

Peter Best, CEO & Broker

We need to have even more patience with trades & vendors

Trades are also considered essential services during the COVID crisis.

But it doesn’t mean they are working at full capacity.

Most trades have less staff than before, if they are even still open for business.

Trades are having a much harder time quoting jobs; it’s harder to get on site, it takes longer to gear up, be safe and follow social distancing rules. Check with each vendor to see what their COVID Response and Safety Plan covers.

Trades are having a much harder time doing jobs. In some cases, trades have refused to enter buildings or apartments to do work due to safety concerns.

More people with no jobs means changing crime trends

Unfortunately, those less fortunate than others are turning to crime to cope with the situation. A lot of crime has become more opportunistic. Vehicles are favorite targets as are building parkades, where we’ve seen some recent break-ins in our client properties and an increase of incidents.

Sadly, Calgary has seen a 30% increase in domestic conflict calls, caused by the density of people living at home.

We will get through this together.

Based on recent information from the Alberta government, stage 1 of “re-launch” is just around the corner, and we’re hopeful all Alberta will continue to put in the work to keep COVID-19 in check.

Whatever the outcomes, we will continue to keep our staff safe AND deliver above and beyond to protect our clients’ lifestyles, property, and investment value.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe!

Comments (2)

  • Laurie D Miller Reply

    Maybe if you had taken the time you used to write this scathing lecture to answer some of the concerns expressed by "those that employ your services", you would not need to suggest that "those that employ your service" have extra time on their hands. You state, "we’re finding clients not realizing they are being more demanding and involved, and getting more frustrated in the process." I state that you are wasting time lecturing to many when you should be talking to individuals personally. To state because of a 42% raise in complaints, is the fault of the complainer is not at all helpful or in any way calming the situation of high stress.

    July 8, 2020
    • Stephen King Reply

      Hi Laurie ... thanks for your thoughts. One of the biggest concerns we've had is asked by many people ... which is "why weren't you as responsive during lock-down as I'm used to from Magnum York?" I often write blogs as a communication tool for the company when a common issue or instructions or processes can be sent to many people all at once, vs. just one at a time, you know? Sorry if it appeared too tongue-in-cheek. Honestly, my viewpoint is that condo corps (board + owners) and Magnum York are all in this together. I *will* say this ... we've worked hard to establish much better processes, moving all data safely and securely to the cloud, establishing best-in-class working from home processes, and use technology to help us scale better. Our recent announcement of our MYCustomerCare Service Ticket Resolution Centre is part of those efforts, for sure. Thanks! ~Stephen King, Chief Customer Officer

      July 28, 2020

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