PEKA Rental Agency
In 2011 we decided that we would rent the apartment and because we lived in the UK, it was sensible to use a rental agency as we could not easily manage the property ourselves. In Canmore there were 2 main rental agencies, PEKA and AssetWest. We chose PEKA since AssetWest didn’t reply to our enquiry. PEKA handle a lot of rental property in Canmore and from what we could gather, had a reasonable reputation. Charges were a $200 annual registration fee plus 10% of the rental income, both quite standard. For this PEKA handled all the Condominium documentation, all renter issues and the withholding tax requirements of the CRA. We had 3 renters over a 4½ year period and initially, for the first renters, PEKA sent us full details of applicants so we could chose but in later years as personal information protection Acts came into force, we were only given a name and occupation.
Generally speaking, things went reasonably well but with our first rental, though we specified no pets, PEKA allowed the renter to have weekend visits from his wife and dog without our total approval. PEKA oversaw the end-of-rental inspections and sign-offs which were fine apart from the last renter with whom we encountered problems and obfuscation on the part of PEKA. We had found PEKA personnel both helpful and friendly during our 4½ years with them apart from the completion on the last rental when we dealt with Mark Walker, their Rental Trust Manager. He was difficult to deal with, mainly we think because there were a number of issues that he just brushed aside and was irritated by the fact that we were annoyed that his final inspection was sloppy and were prepared to question him about that. He definitely took his eye off the ball and was not prepared to admit it, in his eyes the customer is not right. We think we deserved better. The issues that Mark Walker described “as very small potatoes” were as follows:-
- a). At the end of the rental it transpired that the renter’s son had also been living in the apartment. Mark Walker was apparently not aware of this as he should have been and because the additional person had not been declared to the Condominium, I would be liable and I could have been fined. Not only that, had we been aware of a second renter, we would have put the rental price up so in effect Mark Walker deprived us of extra income.
- b). The BBQ was left in a quite disgusting state, as you can see from the images, and should have been properly cleaned and inspected but Mark Walker did not do that. The BBQ was a gas unit and the gas supply was FOC. However, it looks very much as though the renter used coals to heat the BBQ, the aluminium casting of the body was badly bowed and there were large quantities of ash in the base of the unit. Also, the electrical supply cord for the spit motor was burnt through with the excessive heat. Mark Walker’s replied to the state of the BBQ as “simply turn on the BBQ on high for 10minutes and the items will burn off”. Also he commented “the rotary cord is worn but that is consistent with a BBQ that is left outdoors in a Canadian climate”.......it was actually burnt through!
- c). The renter walked off with 2 mattress protectors. In view of Mark Walker, who would want mattress protectors after 5 years but in actual facts that has been renewed at the start of the last rental and were not that old so we wanted them back to wash and replace on the beds. The renter lived in Red Deer so he could have gotten them back to us fairly promptly but Mark Walker wouldn’t go down that route so PEKA paid up for one new cover instead.
- d). The renter also walked of with a cutlery tray and 2 toilet brushes......why would he do that. Not major cost items but Mark Walker had a detailed inventory which he clearly did not check on end-of-rental day.
- e). The wooden step into the second bedroom had a large ding out of it, of which Mark Walker was well aware but decided not to charge the renter for a replacement.......why?
- f). All opening windows in the apartment had removable fly screens. Removal was enabled with 2 simple press clips. In the second bedroom the renter was not bright enough to realise that and had tried mecahnincal force instead leaving the fly screen frame quite distorted in places.
I should add that in a final e-mail from Mark Walker I received a threat that if I posted any of his e-mails on-line, I would face action from his legal team. However, if anyone would like to see the e-mails, please register your interest on the Registration form.
One of the basic aspects of living in a Condominium is that you must carry Condominium Property Protection and Premises Liability cover in addition to personal property, accidental damage, burglary etc. All services in the walls, floor and ceilings are the responsibility of the Condominium Corporation should any malfunction occur since the Condo Bylaws generally forbid the apartment owner from any disturbance to these. When the apartment is occupied, insurance is quite straightforward but when the apartment is left vacant, then this becomes a difficulty for insurance companies in Canada because of the risk of sewer back-up and water damage. This is because the cold weather in winter Canada can cause pipes to freeze and burst quickly and insurers generally apply this to all properties, including Condos. Despite the fact that our apartment was on the 3rd floor and sewer back-up would cause the floors below to be knee deep in it first, and the fact that all water lines into the apartment had their own shut-off valve and underfloor heating was always on in the winter, it made no difference to the insurers. We found this quite unreasonable since invariably a premium was required when the apartment was vacant for no good reason. Management were quite willing to organise weekly inspections but again this does not affect the insurance situation.