Finding a condo with a good property management company can make the difference between a great place to live and one you want to avoid at all costs, which is why it’s is an important factor when searching for Toronto condos. To give you sense of who’s out there, here’s an overview of 5 leading property management companies for condos in Toronto.
What is a property management company?
A property management company is an independent provider of a range of services for the maintenance and management of multi-unit residential properties, such as condos. Most property management companies offer a variety of services including concierge staffing, common area upkeep and repair, community website tools, financial accounting services, and more.
Can a condo fire the property management company?
Yes, absolutely. As you read this blog post, you’ll get a full sense of the range of service quality that property management companies can provide. Some can be crap, others can be pretty great. Condo boards make the decision whether to hire or fire property management companies. If you buy a condo and then discover that the property management is less than awesome, you’ll likely have to join your condo board in order to begin making any changes. Once on the board, you typically need an 80% majority vote to change any rules, such as hiring a new property management company.
One thing to remember is that your experience of a property management company, whether good or bad, is largely based on an individual person, your actual Property Manager and any staff who work for the company. You could go through all the condo board legwork to remove your property management company only to realize that the problem wasn’t the company but simply a lazy or incompetent Property Manager. The new company might have similar employees.
5 Property Management Companies for Condos in Toronto
1) Del Property Management
Average Maintenance fee $0.65
Del Property Management has operated since 1968. Originally working with Tridel condo buildings, Del now manages over 200 condo buildings in the GTA across a range of condo developers in Toronto. Del prides itself on the influence it carries in the industry, because of the size and scope of the management company. Del can command and receive bulk discounts, preferred pricing, and priority service to provide their clients with significant savings.
1.5 Stars on Google Reviews.
Based on the size of the company and the number of properties managed, it’s clear that condo corporations in Toronto like working with Del, likely due to the influence the company holds in the industry. The prominence of Del Property Management in the Toronto region correlates with their early relationship with Tridel, one of the 5 top condo developers in Toronto. Residents, however, have a different story to tell. The Google reviews of Del Property Management are pretty harsh, describing rude and unfriendly staff and a lack of professionalism. But, remember, it’s building to building.
2) Crossbridge Condominium Services
Average maintenance fee $0.65
In 2017, Crossbridge Condominium Services emerged as a rebranded version of Brookfield Condominium Services. The company is owned by Brookfield Business Partners, which trades on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges, as a public affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management. The company, pre and post rebranding, has been offering condominium management services for 40 years and currently services around 170 condo buildings in Toronto.
1.4 Stars on Google Reviews
Residents and owners have been very unkind in the reviews of Crossbridge. A lot of the negative reviews revolve around an individual Property Manager, and according to a Glassdoor business review about Property Management, there is a “Shortage of qualified candidates in marketplace. High turnover. High demand, fast pace, high stress. Hard to keep up with growth and very competitive.” In other words, maybe it’s harder than you’d expect to get above 1.4 Stars in a 1.4 Star industry.
3) FirstService Residential
Average maintenance fee: $0.61
First Service Residential is one of the largest property management companies in North America and claims a leadership role for the quality of its services. The company offers full-service high-rise property management in Toronto to roughly 150 condo buildings. Their service covers all aspects of building maintenance and operations, including a 24/7 Customer Care Centre telephone line.
1.9 Stars on Google Reviews
Anyone noticing a trend here? First Service Residential has a pretty rotten review ranking on Google Reviews, with a ton of 1-Star criticism of bad service. If you take a look at the opposite end of the reviews, the tone is more favourable and reasonable, such as: “I think property managers are real troopers and I am not saying all are fantastic, as this is relevant in any industry. I reside in a higrise bldg. managed by First Service and they have been great. Keep up the good work guys!”
4) Wilson Blanchard
Average maintenance fee $0.54
Wilson Blanchard is a full-service property management company in Toronto, Hamilton, and the Waterloo Region. As an affiliate company of Associa, America’s largest homeowners’ association, Wilson Blanchard provides budgeting and accounting for condo corporations, physical building maintenance and cleaning, staffing solutions and administration, investment planning, and more. They service roughly 140 condo buildings in the GTA.
2.3 Stars on Google Reviews
Woohoo, 2-full stars! Customer and resident reviews of Wilson Blanchard on Google Reviews are either great or terrible, so it should be fair to say that the quality of their service is a building by building issue.
5) Maple Ridge Community Management
Average maintenance fee $0.64
Established in 1984, Maple Ridge Community Management is also an Associa company with experience in all types of condominium living from new buildings, high-rise, and townhome communities. The company places a strong emphasis on accurate, timely financial reporting to ensure the condo corporation is operating as efficiently as possible. They currently service 120 condo buildings in the GTA.
3 Stars on Google Reviews!
The reviews of Maple Ridge Community Management are better (using that loosely) than the other four property management companies, but they still point at poor communication and slow response time on the part of building managers. And then you come across a review like this: “MRCM is in my opinion one of the top, if not THE TOP property management companies in Canada.”
Quality of Property Management Varies Building to Building
If you wind up buying a condo in Toronto, chances are you will deal with a property management company to some extent. Becoming a member of your Condo Board is one way for you to take action when it comes to dealing with property management companies, choosing the company, or addressing problems with the service.
As a general rule, the quality of property management companies varies building to building and manager to manager. Google reviews offer a useful insight into how the companies operate on the ground, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. One grumpy concierge doesn’t mean the whole company is crap.
There is industry talk that quality property managers in Toronto are in short supply against an increasing number of buildings, roughly 2,500 licensed condo managers for 11,300 condo corporations. The job is stressful, exhausting, usually unrewarding, and it doesn’t pay that well. It’s a labour of love.
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Cover photo courtesy of Nathalie De Boever