Improving tenant services: Renewal of property management contracts

Improving tenant services: Renewal of property management contracts

October 26, 2007

Improving Tenant Services:
Renewal of Property Management Contracts

Providing tenants with better services is a key part of Toronto Community Housing�s Community Management Plan. Toronto Community Housing is now implementing a property management strategy that will help ensure that all tenants receive quality services no matter where they live. This includes:

  • Clean, well-maintained buildings;
  • High quality service;
  • Seamless service;
  • Informed and engaged tenants;
  • Operational efficiency.

Contract Management
Across Toronto Community Housing, 10,400 units in 43 buildings are managed by outside property management companies. Most of these buildings were under contract management when Toronto Community Housing was created in 2002. A few units were inherited from other landlords because their original owners could no longer manage them.

Toronto Community Housing currently has contracts with four property management companies. These companies do much of the same work that Toronto Community Housing�s employees do - calculate and collect rents, clean and maintain the buildings, and make repairs.

Toronto Community Housing spends $17.5 million annually on contracted property management services and $83 million for services provided directly by Toronto Community Housing staff.

Contract Management Review
The current property management contracts expire March 31, 2008. Over the past year, Toronto Community Housing carried out an analysis of the current contract management system as part of the contract renewal process. This work included consultation with 300 tenants and interviews with staff and property management firms. The review found that contract management does provide effective service but that there are also areas that require improvement.

Criteria for Contract-Managed Buildings
Based on the review, criteria were developed, and approved by Toronto Community Housing�s board, for selecting which buildings should be contract-managed. The criteria are:

  • Building must be in reasonable capital condition
  • Consider past experience with contract management
  • Create geographical groupings of contract-managed buildings
  • Building should not be undergoing revitalization or another major initiative
  • Ensure there is no major barrier to implementing contract management at the building
  • Keep operating costs similar to what they are now

In September, the board approved a list of buildings to be contract-managed. The number of contract-managed units/buildings remains virtually unchanged - 10,000 units in 44 buildings compared to the current 10,400 units in 43 buildings. Thirty-four of the 44 buildings are already under contract management. Nine buildings currently under contract management will become directly managed by Toronto Community Housing. Ten buildings now managed by Toronto Community Housing will move to contract management. There will be no impact on Toronto Community Housing�s overall operating budget.

Request for Proposals
At the end of October, Toronto Community Housing will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for contracted property management services. The RFP will include mandatory performance standards so that all tenants receive a comparable level of service. For example, all buildings will use Toronto Community Housing�s computerized building/site tracking system, EasyTrac. The companies with the best proposals � not just the lowest price � will enter into a three-year contract with Toronto Community Housing starting April 1, 2008. Tenants will have a say in the selection process.

Upholding Collective Agreements
Toronto Community Housing is committed to upholding all collective agreements. This is not about �contracting out� more services; the overall number of contract-managed properties is virtually unchanged. Some staff will be transferred to new buildings, but none will be laid off as a result of this plan.

Communications
Toronto Community Housing is ensuring that tenants, staff, union representatives, city councillors and community agencies know about the renewal of the contract management contracts and the new strategy. All affected tenants are being sent information packages and tenant meetings are being carried out in buildings that will see changes to how property services are managed.

 

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