So you are gaining as much information as you can find relating to starting life as a caretaker and you are trying to decide which job will be better, Condominium or rental.
As you can see in my previous article, Condominium or Rental – What’s The Difference?, I explained how they do differ. It is quite easy to see that the jobs are much different, but why do you choose?
Our First Job as Caretakers
When Irma and I started out, we took the first job we were offered. It was a trainee job with a company that owned 17 high-rise rental towers. We were on the job for only a couple of weeks and then we were given our own rental tower. We had two druggies who moved out and left a real mess with perhaps a pickup truck of junk spread all over the apartment. We had 7 or 8 moves each month as students who attended the ESL classes nearby came and went. We had a building with all appliances at least 25 years old. Eventually, we decided to move. We had heard a little information about condominiums and were offered a job as caretakers in a new complex that was under construction.
Over the next 15 years we were caretakers in 3 condominium buildings and 3 rental buildings. Each had their own advantages and disadvantages.
Condominium or Rental
Condominiums are run by Strata Councils. Generally about 6 residents will be elected to serve on the council changing every couple of years. Most will do a great job and are a pleasure to work with. Some residents will have an idea they want to change everything and cannot understand that things are done in a certain way and cannot be changed. Some who get on council by simply showing up and being available are elected without anyone knowing what they are all about.
We were hired as caretakers in a condo complex. A resident who was bordering on insanity somehow was elected to serve. He would arrive for a meeting and refused to sit with the rest of the council at the table. He would sit on a couch with a garbage bag full of hats. Every few minutes he would change hats, approximately 20 hats over an hour. At the end of the meeting he would begin to rant and rave about anything that came to mind. Finally, after this went on for a few meetings, he had to be banned from the council.
Who’s The Boss?
Strata councils are not to interfere in the operation of the complex. Some people simply cannot help themselves and will be a pain. They have no authority but they will try. The caretaker is managed by the property manager only.
Then there are real troublemakers. We were recruited by a property manager who hired us as caretakers in a twin-tower complex. Not long afterwards, a group of residents decided they would elect a new council by gathering up a whole bunch of proxies prior to the annual general meeting. Once they took over, they would fire the property management company and bring in another of their own choice. They did this and soon had to eat crow as the new property manager didn’t even have a proper office. Before too long $30,000 from the strata account went missing and was never found. So what about the condominium or rental question?
What of The Rentals?
We were hired as caretakers to manage 1 of the 5 towers in a rental complex. An elderly gentleman owned 8,000 rental units and was excellent to work for. He had been an owner for many years and everything was set up properly. We had a maintenance department who not only handled all of the in-suite problems which arose from time to time but they did suite makeovers on a regular basis. They had a cabinet shop as well. They had a team who repainted the suites, shampooed the carpets, replaced the drapes and painted the entire suite when required. We caretakers were free to simply maintain our jobs and collect the rent.
But, as with the good news, there comes the bad.
The office for the 5 buildings was located in one of the towers. It was managed by a lady who was very smart but over the many years she had been there, she had developed a terrible disposition. She really was unlikable. Prospective tenants would arrive and ask to view a suite. She reminded me of a disgruntled pit bull. Without a word she would call one of the caretakers who would show them around. We almost expected her to growl! We would take them to show a suite and no sooner that we would be out of sight or earshot they would ask why the company would keep such a person. She had an assistant who was very pleasant and a great worker but was treated like dirt by the manager.
Our apartment was very small and we had to put up with a huge desk in our living room. I got along well with the manager but we decided to check out the caretaker market as we didn’t expect things to get better. We had been there for less than a year.
We take a New Job
We checked out the classified pages in the local newspaper and saw an ad for a caretaker couple in a condominium. We were hired after a telephone interview and a quick visit to a very nice tower in a perfect area of the city.
The property management couple were very experienced and managed the three-tower complex from an on-site office. Each tower had a caretaker.
So, What is it to be, Condominium or Rental?
Every job has plusses and minuses, the good and the bad. It will be up to you to decide. I was never the type of person who could stand by and watch people be mean to each other such as in the above rental situation. I would rather move to another job than that. But putting things like that aside I would settle for a caretaker job than the rental. The deciding factor would be the infighting and politics of the condominium strata council.
16 years experience went into our book.
- Writing your resume
- Finding a job
- Job interview
- Rental buildings
- Daily routines
- Waste management
- Fixing things
Benefits you may receive such as;
- Rent reduction
- Working from home
- Free parking, phones, cable, hydro,
- Stat holidays
Once you have read CARETAKERS you will be ready to hit the job market.