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How to Change Property Management Companies in Calgary [+Checklist]

Poor communication, unmet quotes, unmet service delivery expectations. The decision is made that it’s time to change property management companies. But while it all seems like reason enough to fire them and move on, the management agreement has all but tied the Board of Directors’ hands. 

As it often happens in Calgary, changing Property Management companies shouldn’t be this hard, but it is often the case. 

We're here to help you know what you need to do before and after you’ve made that critical decision to change management companies, to help you get the service you deserve and to keep the transition as smooth as possible. 

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What to do before changing Property Management companies?

1.   Identify challenges with your current Property Manager

Despite a few challenges, all may not be lost, and there may still be an opportunity to turn it around.

It is important to know whether these issues are due to a lack of communication, follow-through, or personal issues with your current property manager, before you decide to take action.

a)   Make a list

Making a list will help you clearly identify your concerns and prepare you for a conversation or sit-down.

b)  Ask your Property Management company for a schedule of improvement

Get hold of your company ASAP and explain the situation to a senior representative or managing broker. Perhaps, they aren’t aware of the situation, or they may not understand all the details. 

Ask them to put together a schedule of improvement. Together you can capture all the issues that need to be resolved, try to reach an agreement, and create a timeline to have them fixed.

Be sure to check the auto-renewal date in your current management agreement, and the associated terms! When creating the timeline, consider setting evaluation milestones with regards to these terms, which stipulate: 

  • The auto-renewal clause 
    (Example: December 1st is the auto-renewal date)
     
  • Timeframe written notice must be provided 
    (Example: Notice must be provided 60-90 days prior to auto-renewal date) 

In other words, consider setting your evaluation milestones before the timeframe written notice must be provided prior to the auto-renewal date, so it leaves your Board ample time to consider the renewal or termination of the current agreement. 

c)   Track progress

Set deadlines to accomplish each of the tasks drawn up in the schedule of improvement.

Have you noticed an improvement? If yes, that's great! Make sure to monitor the situation closely and let the managing broker know of any issues moving forward.

If the situation hasn’t improved, it is time to take action. Give the heads-up for the agreement termination as soon as possible, but at minimum, the number of days stipulated in your current management agreement. Keep reading to know what to do to make the switch, and what to look for in a new property management company. 

2.  Put together a request for proposal (RFP) and encourage the new management company to visit the building

a)   Create a proposal

When looking for a new Property Manager, the first thing you need to do is to put together a request for proposal. Not only does this give potential property management companies in Calgary an idea of what your community is looking for, but it helps you and your Board to define and agree upon what you require. 

You should include:

  • Age of the building
  • Size of the building (number of units)
  • Number of meetings (how many board meetings and AGM)
  • Type of strata (residential, commercial, mixed-use, sections)
  • Any ongoing or anticipated projects
  • Availability for the property management company to visit your site

b)  Schedule a time for the Property Management company to visit your building or community

A site visit is essential because it will set the tone for your future relationship. Only then, will a property management company be able to understand the complexity of your community and what you are looking for.

Red flag: If a company is not interested in visiting a potential client, it’s a red flag in our book. Their attitude will likely not be any different after they’ve signed an agreement with you. You need a management company that cares. 

c)   Compile a list of questions to ask

When meeting new management candidates, have a list of questions prepared that will help you understand whether they are a good fit for your community. These questions will depend on your current situation, needs, demographics and more. 

Here are a few questions you should always ask, no matter what your community’s needs are:

  • During a management transition, do you meet with owners and/or offer assistance?
  • What does your termination clause look like?
  • How do you assign a Property Manager?
  • What is your standard response time and policy for communicating with the Board and owners/residents?
  • How long does it typically take to distribute minutes and letters?
  • How do you communicate with owners and what technology do you use?

d) Lastly, and possibly most importantly! Make sure that the management company’s philosophy is aligned with what you’re looking for.

Property management companies in Calgary are still very traditional, and not everyone has adapted to the current trends and needs in service, communication, and technology.  You’re looking for more than just a contractual relationship; you want a partner who has the same goals as you and is willing to go the extra mile.  

Tip: Ask about their company values! 

At Tribe, our values focus on collaboration, service, and gratitude. We are a tech, and a people-forward team of industry specialists focused on serving, caring for and building communities through supportive, timely and efficient practices. 

Our philosophy is simple, really…we love what we do, and we’re here for our clients, every step of the way.

Red flag: If a company is not interested in visiting a potential client, it’s a red flag in our book. Their attitude will likely not be any different after they’ve signed an agreement with you. You need a management company that cares. 

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3.    Ask for a management agreement

Once you meet the company and receive the proposal(s), ask for a copy of the management agreement that the company uses.

Tip: Take a close look at the termination, exclusivity, and non-competition clauses. 

4.    Approach your current company for termination

Once the decision has been made among the Board of Directors on a management company, it is time to approach your current company for termination. It is likely that your agreement is very restrictive regarding termination. Don’t worry! We’ve broken down step-by-step what you need to do:

  • Give notice to your current property management company for termination of your agreement
  • Sign your new agreement and give the new property management company authority to act.
  • During the notice period, your new management team can begin the transition process and request all the important records from your outgoing manager.

At Tribe, we manage all aspects of a transition with our new customers to ensure that the transition process goes smoothly while keeping the board and residents up-to-date at all times. Clear and effective communication is at the core of what we do.

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Conclusion

Changing Property Management companies in Calgary shouldn’t be a difficult task, but if it is, know that you will be prepared.

It is important to be clear about what you’re looking for, and that if the situation doesn’t change, that you will be looking for alternatives. Contact a few property management companies with an RFP, and have a list of questions ready. Remember, the new company must do a site visit to truly understand your needs and situation.

Once you have chosen a new company, it is time to act. Get your board aligned and approach your current company for termination; the new company should take care of the transition process.