What is a condominium property manager? More than you think

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Main photo: Registered Condominium Manager Kirsten Dale (with Cheddar), Operations Manager Don Klowak, President Debbie Dale (with Spike) and Property Manager Stephanie Piercey are the friendly people you’ll encounter at MCRS Property Management

When you think condominium property manager, what comes to mind?

You might think rule enforcer (that’s part of it, but in a more gentle way) or property maintenance (definitely not, though they can arrange for it) or maybe advisor (you’re getting closer). Condominium property management is a complex role, and an important one to understand if you own a condominium unit or are thinking about purchasing one.

First, what is a condominium?

Simply put, when you purchase a condominium, you are purchasing the interior of your unit—everything from the walls inward—as well as a share of all of the common elements of the development like recreational spaces, the roof and exterior walls, and even hallways and walkways. The maintenance of those common elements may be arranged by your condominium board or by a condominium property manager, paid for through a common fund that every owner contributes to through condominium fees.

A condominium could be a small, eight-unit apartment building, it could be an entire community of luxury villas, or it could be anything in between.

The Rosseau Estates in Port Carling (supplied)

A condominium is a corporation, usually overseen by a volunteer board comprised of residents. Like a business, there are laws that a condo corporation must abide by, and it will also have rules, policies, and guidelines specific to the property, most of which are for the benefit of everyone and that condominium owners will need to follow.

Those rules are in place to help everyone blend in to the community, says Debbie Dale, president of MCRS Property Management, and a condominium property manager can be an immensely helpful resource to help both owners and the board navigate the many regulations.

“We help them to understand what is required of them and why it’s important, without making them feel like they’re being dictated to or controlled,” says Debbie. “There are mechanisms in place that we are going to have to enforce if push comes to shove, but that’s always a very last resort. Our company philosophy is to communicate. And we feel that if we communicate effectively, people will generally have an ‘aha’ moment that makes the reasons to abide by those rules clear.”

The Clublink Lake Joseph Club Villas in Port Sandfield (supplied)

What is a condominium property manager?              

Part coach, part educator, part advisor, a condominium property manager works with the volunteer directors of a condominium board who are making decisions for the financial and physical health of that corporation. “It’s really our job to just help them understand what they are deciding on,” says Kirsten Dale, Registered Condominium Manager with MCRS. “We teach them about the relevant subjects that are coming up along their corporation’s life path.”

If you were part of a condominium board, would you know how to approach a parking lot replacement? Or how to select the best option for an elevator modernization project? Or how to ensure that your property is in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)? A condominium property manager can guide you and help you to make informed decisions, says Kirsten.

Condominium property management is a recently licensed profession, and that’s a good thing. “There’s so many new laws, there’s so many new regulations, you can’t just put up a sign and call yourself a condominium property manager,” says Kirsten. “And it can be overwhelming for a self-managed volunteer board to try to navigate the complexities of all of these government changes.”

Boards that don’t understand the laws can find themselves faced with an intense workload and potential liabilities, adds Debbie.

Part of being a condominium property manager entails keeping abreast of industry standards, and sharing those with the boards they work with. (See below for links where you can find more information on condominiums and condominium living.)

MCRS Property Management staff (from left) Kirsten Dale, Stephanie Piercey, Don Klowak (with Spike) and Debbie Dale treat their clients' homes like they are their own.

MCRS Property Management staff (from left) Kirsten Dale, Stephanie Piercey, Don Klowak (with Spike) and Debbie Dale treat their clients’ homes like they are their own.

And condominium property managers answer owners’ not-so-silly questions. “Most people when they first get into a condo, they don’t really understand what their fees go to. And they’ll be a little shy about asking ‘silly’ questions,” says Kirsten. “So a big part of what we do is draw those questions out. We try to create a really inviting atmosphere so that people are comfortable asking questions, because if you don’t ask then you can feel like an outsider in a community.”

Where can you find more information?

MCRS Property Management will be offering educational seminars for condo owners and Board Directors at their office space in Huntsville. These seminars have been well-received since the company offered its first, free local educational condo seminar seven years ago at the Waterloo Summit Centre. Watch their website or Facebook page for details.

For more information on condominiums and condominium living, check out these links:

Condo Authority of Ontario (CAO) – This is the government regulatory body established in late Fall 2017 for condos in Ontario.

The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) – This is the government regulatory body established in tandem with the CAO in the Fall of 2017 and its purpose is to administer and govern condominium manager licensing.

The Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) – A national, independent, non-profit organization formed in 1982 which deals exclusively with condominium issues.

CCI Huronia – The local chapter of CCI which services Muskoka condos. MCRS staff encourage condominium owners, directors, or people who are thinking about buying a condo to take advantage of the free lectures and seminars offered by the organization.

Who is MCRS Property Management?

MCRS was established in 2011 to service the needs of condominium boards and landlords and tenants throughout Muskoka. They’ve since expanded into Parry Sound and Orillia, but their mandate remains the same: easing the burden of volunteer condominium boards and landlords while helping to build inviting communities for those who live in them.

“We value team approaches within the firm and with our clients,” says Debbie.

MCRS oversees a variety of properties, from luxury and often largely seasonal communities like Ashworth Bay on the shores of Lake Vernon and the Villas at the Lake Joseph Club in Port Sandfield, to residential-style properties like Granite Trail in Gravenhurst, to resort suites at Deerhurst Resort.

MCRS President, Debbie Dale, is the current Vice President of the Board for CCI Huronia and frequently participates in many of their educational seminars offered in Muskoka, Barrie and North Bay. Debbie has also recently been appointed to the first CMRAO Advisory Committee, a prestigious two-year appointment.

Kirsten Dale, MCRS Registered Condominium Manager, recently accepted a position with a national subcommittee with CCI, specifically devoted to digital infrastructure. She is also is on the Board of Directors for the Muskoka Builders’ Association and recently received the organization’s Member of the Year award.

For more information about MCRS Property Management, visit mymcrs.com or stop in to their new Huntsville office at Unit 9, 133 Highway 60, by appointment or by chance.

This is a sponsored story paid for by the featured advertiser.

2 Comments

  1. I have a question We live in a condo community of bungalow units with common area in between. One owner wants to put on a new deck(at his expense), does he have to approach nearby neighbours for their approval and also show a sketch of his plans to neighbours and Board? We are afraid it will not be uniform to the other decks and will look out of place. I do not want to ask our own Board at this stage.
    I would appreciate your comments.
    Your article was very informative.

    • Hi Jean! The short answer is yes. There is a Section of the Condominium Act (Section 98) which applies to owner alterations to common elements (common elements include exclusive use areas like balconies in many cases). Happy to answer a few questions if you give us a call at the office!

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