May 17, 2024

Property Management Tips, RYPM Resources


It is clear that effective management of multi-unit properties lies in good communication—especially in regard to the rules of conduct over shared spaces. As landlords, making sure tenants understand and follow common area policies is significant for the purpose of maintaining both a harmonious and functional living environment.

At Royal York Property Management, we strongly encourage the use of clear, comprehensive, and accessible modes of communication for engaging our tenants. In this blog, we highlight the best strategies on how to convey common area policies to tenants in order to keep them informed and compliant—a contributing factor to a positive community atmosphere.

What Are Common Areas in Multi-Unit Properties?

Common areas in multi-unit properties, as defined in Ontario, are any part of a building or a complex that is accessible to all tenants and, in some cases, their guests, other than the private domain of a single tenant. Common areas would normally be lobbies, hallways, laundry rooms, fitness centers, swimming pools, gardens, and rooftops. They may even include shared facilities like parking garages, elevators, or even outdoor recreational spaces.These areas are always critical because they determine a lot about the quality of life within the property and can be the deciding factor for a tenant to rent within the building. Maintaining proper upkeep, security, and accessibility of these common areas is a big responsibility, not only for the landlord but also for the property manager, since it includes the comfort and satisfaction of all the residents and the value and appeal of the property.

Legal Responsibilities for Landlords

Ontario landlords have some legal obligations when it comes to the upkeep of common areas and shared amenities in multi-unit properties. The main law that lays the foundation for such is the Residential Tenancies Act, which expects landlords to keep these spaces in a good state of repair, and in compliance with health, safety, and housing standards set out by law. Failure to care for properly and upkeep these premises properly can result in legal action by the tenant, and penalties from regulatory bodies can be serious; thus, keeping informed and diligent in meeting these obligations is of utmost importance to the landlord. Here at Royal York Property Management, we are always on top of the latest regulations and ensure all our properties are legal.

Significance of Regular Maintenance and Upkeep

These common areas require a systematic approach to maintenance to ensure that they are always clean, safe, and welcoming. Our maintenance program at Royal York Property Management includes routine cleaning, in-depth safety inspections, and seasonal maintenance according to the situation. Regular activities such as sweeping and garbage disposal keep the space clean, while regular safety inspections address potential hazards to ensure safety according to safety standards. Seasonal maintenance adjusts to the change of weather, be it snow removal or landscaping, to improve accessibility and appeal.

We document maintenance activities, meticulously keeping records of what maintenance has been carried out, when it was carried out, and by whom. Not only does this help us track compliance and efficiency, but also informs decisions on future maintenance to be taken so every action taken increases the value and longevity of the property. This organized approach assures a high standard of living for the tenants and preserves the value of the property.

Security Improvement in Common AreasSecurity would be one of the most prime concerns in the maintenance of common areas. We deploy adequate lighting, access-controlled systems, and CCTV systems where required. Such security measures prevent not only criminal activities but also ensure that the residents are fully assured of a safe and well-monitored environment of the communal area.

How Can Landlords Effectively Communicate with Tenants About Common Area Policies?

Common area policies can be communicated to tenants through clear, accessible means. First, including a full description of such policies within the lease agreement or welcome package allows landlords to guarantee that tenants are made fully aware of the rules from the outset. Regular information through newsletters by email, community bulletin boards, and tenant portals makes sure the information is available and up-to-date. For urgent information, direct notification and visible signage in common areas work well. In addition, organizing periodic tenant meetings provides a forum for an open discussion of questions and answers to resolve any ambiguities in the policies for fostering community compliance. A landlord with such a strategy is more likely to have an informed tenant base and a harmonious living environment.

Managing Tenant Disputes Over Common Area Use

Disputes over the use of common areas could be possible, and how such disputes are dealt with is essential for harmony on the property. We have a process of mediation and firm guidelines that will facilitate fair and timely conflict resolutions. It is part of our practice at Royal York Property Management to have a set of rules on the use of common areas and to be accessible to the owners in order to address and resolve such issues on time.

Upgrading and Adding Value to Shared Amenities

It is important to maintain competitiveness and attractiveness for which we also review and upgrade common amenities periodically. Be it the installation of energy-efficient lighting, updating gym equipment, or refurbishing community halls, such upgrade works keep our properties modern and attractive to both existing and prospective tenants.