Real Estate Management Companies: Tips on How To Avoid the Worst Property Management Companies in Toronto

If you’re looking for the best property management company in North York, East York, Etobicoke, or any other part of the Greater Toronto Area, you’ve come to the right place. Buttonwood Property Management is the best property management company in Toronto and the surrounding areas, including Vaughan, Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Mississauga.

We know what it takes to succeed in your real estate investment. Buttonwood Property Management team provides quality services on all kinds of property. We are your one-stop shop for Toronto property management, offering everything you need for your investment property, from accounting and financial management with regular financial reports to administrative services, tenant screening, placement of new tenants, tenant management, and more.

Our dedicated team will ensure that everything is taken care of in a timely manner. We understand how important it is for property owners to maximize their annual rental revenue on their real estate, a valuable investment that should pay sizable dividends for many years to come.

Whether you’ve got a single rental unit or many pieces of real estate, we understand that a rental business is just that business. As the property owner, you don’t need the stress of cash flow issues, but the right property management company will prevent such issues.

Local and international investors alike have plenty of property management companies to choose from, but every property management company is not created equal. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a property manager for your Toronto-area commercial or residential properties.

Superior Property Management Services in Toronto

Owning investment property requires a good property management company that goes above and beyond your expectations. After all, collecting rent payments is only a small part of the business.

The best Toronto property management company will perform numerous functions, ensuring that property owners don’t have to worry about a thing. The best property management companies will serve landlords and tenants alike.

Here are just some of the services you should expect from the best property management companies in the Toronto area, including Markham, Mimico, York Mills, and Bayview Village.

  • Tenant Selection

    The tenant screening process is an essential part of property management services. After all, a landlord can only see the maximum payments on their rental property if they have the right tenants. The best property management companies will not only find tenants who pay rent on time every month but also wish to stay in the rental property for quite some time. The less often you have to find new tenants, the more stable your rental property will be, and the best property management companies know and understand this.

  • Real Estate Consulting

    Rental management encompasses the entire process, from tenant screening to collecting rental payments and handling maintenance issues. However, you can’t reach any of those tasks until you own property where you can offer competitive pricing for each unit, and this is where a real estate consultant comes in.

    Property management companies that also serve as real estate consultants use their expertise to recommend areas in which to buy or develop property. After all, many investors know they want to own rental properties, but they might not know the best areas in which to look for attractive properties.

    International investors might not know which parts of the world are worth investing in, and even local investors might be unaware of the best communities in their area.

    If you’re looking in the Toronto area, some of the best communities to look for rental properties include North York, East York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, Vaughan, Thornhill, Mississauga, and Richmond Hill.

  • 24/7 Support

    A successful property management company offers a wide array of services, including 24/7 support for both the property owner and their tenants. They handle maintenance issues that come up for every rental property, including those that occur outside of business hours.

    Many property managers offer an online portal to assist them with managing properties. The online portal allows for easy rent collection and online bill payments, property maintenance requests, and other tasks involved in rental management, such as financial reporting.

  • Tenant Relations

    Tenant screening and tenant placement are only small parts of what a property management company does. Of course, finding the right tenants is an important piece of the puzzle, but there is much more to property management than that.

    In addition to rent collection, a property management company also offers maintenance management and every other service required in rental management for your real estate investment.

    Property management companies in Toronto also deal with the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is tasked with resolving disputes between residential landlords and their tenants and handling eviction applications filed by non-profit housing cooperatives. The Landlord and Tenant Board also offers a website where property owners and renters can learn about their rights, what is expected of them, and almost anything else involved in owning or renting a property in Toronto and, more broadly, Ontario. Property management companies in Toronto know all the ins and outs of dealing with provincial governing bodies.

  • Reporting

    There is also a lot of paperwork involved in property management. Managing properties involves financial reporting, which allows landlords to see what their cash flows look like and how much in rent collection they’re getting every month.

    Property owners will also be able to catch any hidden fees their property management company might charge them. The best property management companies in Toronto are very transparent about the fees they charge so that owners are not surprised when they get their regular statements or reports.

  • Marketing

    Management companies should also handle the marketing associated with all properties. The account manager should know all the best places to list your units where the ideal tenants will see them. Marketing units is an essential part of rental management because it is virtually the only way high-quality tenants will be able to find your properties.

Looking for the Best Property Management Company in the GTA?

We know there are many property management companies in Toronto covering a significant part of the area, from North York and East York to Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Markham. Property management services should cover every aspect of owning units for rent, from property inspections to providing an online portal that makes it easy for renters to pay their monthly rent on time every month.

Your management team should know the ins and outs of every neighbourhood and community in the Greater Toronto Area. As an owner, you probably have already realized how much there is to know when it comes to property management.

Aside from the geographical expertise and basic services, the property management firm should also be well-versed in serving tenants. After all, you want their needs to be taken care of as well.

For example, sometimes tenants have emergencies outside of business hours, so you need a firm that has an answering service that can alert them when there is any kind of emergency overnight. Additionally, property management firms should have regular office hours so that tenants can go to their local offices and take care of any business they might have, whether that’s paying rent in person instead of online or making a request for maintenance or repair services on any part of their unit.

Regular inspections should also be standard with your property management firm. This enables the manager to anticipate your tenants’ needs, keep everything in the unit in good working order, and check up on your tenants to ensure that they haven’t trashed the unit. Of course, if the property management firm has done its job correctly, a high-quality tenant should be in place, so that shouldn’t a concern. However, it’s always a good idea to keep tabs on each of your units to ensure that they are always up to code.

Residential Property Management

property management service

It’s always a good idea to select a property management firm that specializes in the kinds of units you own. You may want to retain a company that specializes in all kinds of property in case you ever want to expand your business by adding other types of units.

Here are the different kinds of residential units you might consider purchasing:

  • Single-Family Home

    There are advantages and disadvantages to owning a single-family home that you put up for rent. One factor happens to be both: the fact that it’s a single unit. This can make your job much easier because you aren’t dealing with multiple tenants, but you might not make as much money on a single unit. On the other hand, rent prices for single-family homes continue to go up, so you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds: a higher monthly payment while only having to deal with a single tenant.

  • Duplex

    There are also advantages and disadvantages to owning a duplex. Once again, these properties are easy to manage because they house only two tenants instead of a large number.

    Depending on how the rental rates in the neighbourhood look, you might be able to make more total rent every month than you would be able to make on a single-family home. Of course, there is an additional component associated with selecting tenants to live in a duplex as they live in closer quarters with their neighbours than renters of single-family homes do.

  • Triplex

    Similar to a duplex, a triplex can also be a good idea because you’re only dealing with three tenants instead of a large number. Reputable, high-quality property management firms know how to maximize your monthly income on all property types, including triplexes.

  • Up To 10 Units per Property

    If you’ve owned and rented out property for years, or you have a property management firm that’s always on top of everything, you might consider a building with up to 10 individual condo units.

    One of the greatest benefits of owning buildings with many units is the ability to rake in significant amounts of income every month. Once again, a property management firm will help you maximize your monthly income.

    If you own buildings with a large number of units, you will especially find yourself in need of a high-quality property management firm — even if you have been managing single-family homes or duplexes on your own for yours.

    Property management firms hold regular office hours, making it easy for your tenants to pay their rent on time every month or touch base on any potential maintenance issues. Just having someone in place to handle all of these issues during regular office hours will make a huge difference in the quality of care and service you can provide to your renters.

    After-hours calls are another reason you might want to hire a property management firm for multi-unit buildings if you haven’t already. The manager will have an answering service in place to handle all those after-hours calls, ensuring that your renters can always reach someone who can handle their emergency issues that occur outside regular office hours. This also keeps you from losing significant amounts of sleep because you have to deal with a large number of overnight problems.

Condo Property Management

Many investors also find that condos make great investments in some parts of the Greater Toronto Area, like the various Mississauga communities, including Square One, Meadowvale, Streetsville, Mineola and Port Credit.

  • Condo Townhome. A condo townhome can be a great investment for investors because such properties often require minimal upkeep, especially compared to single-family homes. Additionally, condo townhomes can be inexpensive compared to how much you will be able to charge in rent every month.
  • Freehold Townhome. Similarly, freehold townhomes can also be wise investments. It’s important for investors who live outside Canada to realize that the term “townhome” can mean a different kind of property than what it means in some other parts of the world. Freehold townhomes are houses that are attached on both sides but have the same features offered by detached houses. The benefit of this type of property is that there are no additional management fees, no common areas to keep up with, and no association fees. In Canada, you can own an entire freehold townhouse, which some investors may better understand to be a row or attached house. On the other hand, condo investors own the interior of the structure, while the condo corporation owns the common areas and exterior of the building.

Commercial Property Management

If you don’t like the idea of owning residential property, you might find better opportunities in commercial property. In fact, some commercial units can be significantly more lucrative for landlords than residential units.

However, it’s important to realize that commercial tenants have different and oftentimes more specialized needs than residential tenants. For example, commercial tenants will generally require more frequent updates to their units. After all, if they aren’t making enough money while in your space, they will move somewhere else or shut down completely, leaving you without income on that unit.

There are also some critical differences between commercial and residential leases. Residential leases are aimed at providing property rights associated with daily living. On the other hand, commercial leases generally outline the types of business that may be conducted in the space. They also contain fewer protections for the tenant and are often subject to more strenuous negotiations with each tenant.

Additionally, commercial landlords tend to be more hands-off when it comes to dealing with their tenants and more involved when dealing with residential tenants. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need a property management firm. In fact, you may find that your need for help managing commercial units is even greater than it is for smaller residential properties like single-family homes.

Just like with residential units, signing on with a property management firm for your commercial property should enable you to maximize your profits on each unit through proper tenant selection, pricing, and other factors. They should also be available to commercial tenants around the clock so that you don’t have to.

Finally, property management firms should handle all aspects of managing each unit, from maintenance and repairs to leasing, placements, renovations, evictions, marketing the property, and handling every other related task.

How to Avoid the Worst Property Management Companies in Toronto

Finding the right property management company can be a challenge, whether you are in Burlington, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham or any other part of the Greater Toronto Area.

With all these available property management companies in Toronto, it’s a good idea to be aware of these things so that you can avoid the worse companies and hold out for the best. You may want to interview at least three managers, watching out for each of these issues so that you can avoid problematic managers.

1. Unprofessional Behavior

The first thing to remember is that you and your tenants will have to deal with the company on a regular basis. Chances are if you don’t like working with the manager, your tenants probably won’t either. You can pick up some critical clues during your introductory interview with the manager. Look at how they treat the other members of their staff for clues about how they would treat you and your tenants.

2. Limited Office Hours

Property management firms should be available to their tenants around the clock. While they should have regular office hours, they should also have an after-hours number so that they can take care of any emergencies that pop up. Additionally, you’ll want a manager that remains open over the weekend because this is when most prospective tenants will want to view your properties.

3. Being Unresponsive

You can learn a lot about a manager by keeping an eye on the amount of time that passes before they respond to your calls. Additionally, it shouldn’t be very difficult to get a hold of them. While they are probably managing multiple properties with multiple landlords and tenants, they should have adequate staff in place to ensure that everything is taken care of in a timely fashion. Remember, if they don’t respond to your calls quickly, they won’t respond to your tenants either. It’s also a good idea to call their after-hours phone number for tenants to see how quickly you get a response back. You don’t want to worry that your tenants won’t be able to get a hold of someone after hours when they have an emergency.

4. Lack of References

Another big red flag is if the manager is unwilling to provide references. You might even consider this to be a deal-breaker when considering multiple managers. After all, if they don’t have any clients who will give them glowing references, they probably aren’t worth your time.

5. Unethical or Illegal Behavior or Lack of Transparency

This last one should be obvious, but you should avoid any managers who don’t comply with all federal, provincial and local regulations. If they withhold information from you or lie to you, it’s time to get rid of them as soon as possible.

One clue about this behaviour relates to transparency about their fees. If they aren’t clear about what they will charge you and you discover a long list of hidden fees on your statements, you should be concerned about what else they might be hiding.


What Are Three Duties of a Property Manager?

Three duties of a property management firm include timely communication with you and your tenants, performing a property inspection on each unit regularly, and anything else associated with project management for each of your units.

Aside from those responsibilities, perhaps the most important duties have to do with collecting and managing rents. After all, your profit margins are everything when it comes to owning and renting out properties.

Final Thoughts

There is much to consider when looking for someone to manage your properties. As a result, you won’t want to make any such decision quickly. With some time and effort, you can uncover the best company to manage your property in Toronto.

Sabine Ghali
Sabine Ghali
Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.