“Toronto’s rental apartment vacancy rate climbed to a 50-year high of 5.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from real estate company Urbanation.”
At Tenantcube, we believe this vacancy rate was caused simply by the new-found freedom of not having to commute to work everyday. The pandemic required stringent physical distancing measures which influenced how we interact, how we shop and even where we live.
Demand in the last decade had been driving up rent at a record rate in large cities like Toronto. With offices and entertainment centers shut down, city-dwellers found themselves unconfined to the city. Bigger spaces and lower rent of the suburbs looked more attractive and practical. This led to a real estate boom in the areas surrounding Toronto and also a spike in demand for rental properties.
With a younger, more tech savvy city population moving to the smaller cities, landlords need to equip themselves with the right resources to cater to their demands. The pandemic caught small landlords unawares.
The Landlord Tenant Bureau suspended hearings in March 2020 at a time when there was also a spike in cases filed, with non-payment of rent to evictions. When the Bureau finally reopened in August they held virtual hearings on online platforms. Landlords were found scrambling to catch up with technology, however simple they may be.
Industry experts feel change was coming inevitable, and the pandemic all but accelerated the timeline. There are indeed a number of apps and services available for landlords and property managers to use, the most popular being listing sites, and credit and background check services.
“The shift from advertising vacancy in the Classifieds section of a newspaper to online listings did not happen that long ago. It has barely been four or five years since that became mainstream. Yet, there is a whole generation of tenants who only know of searching online for rental homes.”, says Andrews Moses, CEO of Tenantcube.
Andrews is also of the opinion that as more people get comfortable with using services like Amazon, Uber and Doordash there will be similar expectations from other industries too. Rental market may do well to catch the trend early.
Tenants and landlords can benefit greatly from adopting property management technology. It could seamlessly automate listing, screening applications, onboarding tenants and even property maintenance post leasing. It could simplify communication, improve quality of service, and enhance the overall renting experience.