Condominium or Rental – Which One to Choose

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
  • Condominiums
  • Daily routines
  • Waste management
  • Fixing things

Benefits you may receive such as;

  • Rent reduction
  • Working from home
  • Free parking, phones, cable, hydro,
  • Vacations
  • Stat holidays
  • Salaries
  • Dental

Once you have read CARETAKERS you will be ready to hit the job market.

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Condominium or Rental – The Difference is Clear

When Irma and I set out to become caretakers, we had no idea what a condominium was as we had grown up in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. There were no condominiums there and we had never seen an apartment building with more than 8 suites! After we were hired to be caretakers we were given our first rental building to manage.

It wasn’t long before we began to hear the word, condominium. So the question for us was, should we work in a condominium or rental?

Our first rental was about 25 or more years old. It was 11 stories high with small bachelor suites and was easy to manage. An English as a Second Language school was located just across the street that attracted many Asians who had never had the training to keep their rooms clean and tidy. This caused a good many turnovers as their classes ran only 3 months at a time. As the kitchen appliances were as old as the building, the refrigerators were not self-deicing and the door seals were worn out. When the residents vacated, they left 3 or 4 inches of ice in the freezer section.

We had a Caucasian lady up on the 10th floor who had purchased a long couch from a couple of renters on the first floor. These people were into drugs and the odors traveled up to her apartment. They moved out and she was not happy with the odours coming off the couch. She wanted to get rid of it but as hard as we tried it would not fit into the elevator. When we had first met her she was so polished and demure, but that was before the couch. Now, she was cursing and screaming like a banshee and we could hear her all over the building. Finally, she hired a fellow who had to take a hammer and saw to take it apart. We didn’t want to deal with all the drama in this building so after a couple of months, we decided we would search for another caretaking job.

We had heard the terms strata, strata-titled and condominium mentioned from another caretaker and found that condominiums were better to manage than rentals. We found this to be true sometimes, but not always. We met up with our training manager and we talked about the situation and he informed us that there was a job opening in a nice location in the city. He had been offered the job and he had decided not to take it. He put forward our names to the property manager.  The next day, our training manager changed his mind and decided to take the job. We then had a call from the property manager who explained they had an opening for caretakers in a new condominium that was under construction. We decided to take it after a quick visit to the site.

Condominium or Rental: The Differences

A developer will form a corporation under the Strata Act with the purpose being to construct a building or complex. The individual apartments will be sold to separate owners. The strata corporation will own the common areas such as the roof, exterior walls, parking area, grounds, pools and recreation areas; in other words, everything but the individual suites. The suite owners will own the inside walls of the suites. The developer will hire a property management company who will oversee the project.

The owners will pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the building as well as insurance, taxes, heating and management. They will be assessed based upon the square footage of their individual suites. These are called strata fees. Once the building is completed, a general meeting will be held and the corporation operation will be turned over to a group of the new owners who will be called the strata council. They will work with and be guided by a property manager.

A rental building will be constructed by an owner or corporation with the purpose of renting the suites to individuals or families for a profit. The landlord will be governed by the Residential Tenancy Act or some other governmental bureau depending upon the city or country of location. As a general rule, the landlord may employ a property manager who will direct the caretakers on a day-to-day basis.

So Again – Condominium or Rental – The Differences

First, the condominium. The owner who owns the suite is responsible for their unit and everything in it. If the sink plugs they must call a plumber or fix it themselves. If the walls need painting they must paint or call a painter. In other words, the caretaker of the building is not required to enter the suite except in the case of an emergency and then to stop damage to the building.

For instance, an owner is away from the suite after starting the dishwasher prior to leaving. A hose slips off the connection and water begins to pour down into the suite below. The caretaker would locate the water supply shutoff in the hallway first. He should call the property manager who would accompany you to the suite below to determine that the water has stopped leaking.

The caretaker’s only responsibility is the maintenance of the strata property.

The caretaker of the rental property is responsible for the entire building including the suites. In the above example, the caretaker will have a key in a secure key box and will enter the suite to determine the cause of the problem and take steps to stop further water damage to the suite and the suite below. He will have the property manager accompany him to survey the situation and schedule repairs to the suite and whatever damage there was to other suites in the building.

A renter may have a kitchen cabinet door come loose, a drip from the tap in the bathroom, a water stain in a window drape, or a circuit breaker trip in the suite — they will have the caretaker attend to these tasks.

There is a huge difference in duties for the caretaker when trying to choose between caretaking in the condominium or rental building but I will explain that in my next article, “Condominium or Rental – Why Choose The Condominium?”

16 years experience went into our book.

  • Writing your resume
  • Finding a job
  • Job interview
  • Rental buildings
  • Condominiums
  • Daily routines
  • Waste management
  • Fixing things

Benefits you may receive such as;

  • Rent reduction
  • Working from home
  • Free parking, phones, cable, hydro,
  • Vacations
  • Stat holidays
  • Salaries
  • Dental

Once you have read CARETAKERS you will be ready to hit the job market.

6.99