Move Out Madness Program for Guelph Students

moveout

Are you moving out of a rental unit this month? Do you have bulky items that need to be disposed? The University of Guelph’s Off Campus Living (OCL) offers a Move Out Madness program that will assist you in disposing of your unwanted items.

Instead of leaving your items on the curb, why not help your community out and the next tenants moving into the rental? There are four types of service that this program provides: pick up of bulky items, clear the shelves, stuff swap and e-waste collection. OCL works alongside the City of Guelph, Habitat for Humanity, Guelph Restore, Guelph Food Bank, Meal Exchange Guelph and multiple groups at the University.

The program begins tomorrow (April 16, 2014) and runs until April 30. In order to participate, students must complete a registration form online. A link to the website is below.

http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2014/04/program_helps_students_move_out_responsibly.html

Happy Moving Everyone!

St. Patrick’s Day – Celebrate Responsibly

stpatricksWith St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, University of Guelph students and residents should note that the City of Guelph Police and Bylaw Officers will have a heavy presence on March 17th. The City is not discouraging celebrating for the occasion, but is reminding everyone to party responsibly.

Student Life Off Campus Living has sent out a newsletter we find may be helpful while preparing for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This newsletter is attached below.

Some tips to consider:

  • Limit the number of guests you invite to any parties
  • Be courteous and let your neighbors know ahead of time that you plan to have guests over
  • Remember noise bylaws will still be in effect (city bylaws, condo rules and regulations, etc.)
  • Have a designated driver if you plan to drive anywhere

Be warned! Below is a list of a few common fines the City of Bylaw can issue.

  • Public intoxication           $65
  • Open alcohol in public    $125
  • Noise                              $365
  • Nuisance party                $750

For a larger list of tips and common fines, please refer to the attached Student Life Off Campus Living Newsletter.

St.Patricks Day Notice – Off Campus Living

We wish everyone a fun, safe and responsible St. Patrick’s Day! Party smart!

Have You Tested Your Smoke Alarms Recently?

alarmIt is simple: smoke alarms save lives. We cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure that your smoke alarms are in working order. As a guide, you should test your smoke alarms once every month to ensure there are no issues or defects. Guelph’s Fire Code states that each residential dwelling must have smoke alarms on all levels of the unit and outside every sleeping area. Landlord, tenants and home owners each have responsibilities when it comes to smoke alarms. Do you know what your responsibilities are?

Homeowners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms. These alarms must meet the requirements of the Fire Code.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure each rental property conforms to the minimum Fire Code requirements. Zoning and Building regulations must also be followed. To ensure tenants understand their responsibilities and duties, landlords must provide their occupants instructions on how to test and maintain the alarms within their occupied dwelling.

And lastly, tenants are required to inform their landlords if any issues occur with the smoke alarms. Tenants are also responsible for ensuring that the batteries are not removed from the smoke alarms and that the alarms are not disconnected in any circumstance.

The Guelph Fire Department is promoting “Pushing The Button” beginning Monday, February 24th in hopes that all Guelph residents will test their smoke alarms to ensure they are all in working order. We are encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms and are stressing the importance of notifying your landlord immediately if any alarms are not functioning.

Read the City of Guelph’s article below:

“Guelph, On, February 19, 2014 – The Guelph Fire Department is partnering with TVOKids and the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management to raise awareness about the importance of early fire detection at home.

During the two week spring campaign—“Push the Button!”—families are encouraged to test the smoke alarms in their homes beginning February 24.

“Kids love pushing the button to hear if an alarm is working and this fun exercise provides an opportunity for parents to talk about fire safety in the home with their family,” says Kim Hodgson, chief fire prevention officer with the Guelph Fire Department, adding, “Our goal is to have as many smoke alarms tested in Guelph homes as possible during the campaign.”

In Ontario, the Fire Code requires all single family, semi-detached and town homes to have a working smoke alarm on every storey of the residence and outside all sleeping areas.

To make sure the alarms are working, push the test button for 10 seconds. If the alarm doesn’t sound, the battery or smoke alarm may need to be replaced.

“It’s very important that each home has working smoke alarms because they are the first line of defence in alerting everyone in the home there is a fire,” says Hodgson.

Once the smoke alarms have been tested, families can visit TVOKids.com and enter the number of smoke alarms tested at home. The number will be added to the “Push the Button!” counter.

The “Push the Button!” campaign runs until March 9.

Visit guelph.ca/fire for more fire safety information.”

Make it a New Year’s Resolution to Save Yourself Some Money

Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? Why not make one to save yourself some money? With some easy energy savings tips, you could significantly reduce your hydro bill. As a student, you have enough bills to pay – tuition, textbooks, rent and groceries – why spend more money on your hydro bill than necessary?

energyMany university students are first-time renters and may be paying for their utilities for the first time. Here are a few tips provided by Guelph Hydro to save some energy at home and lower your electricity bill each month.

First and foremost, you should read over your lease agreement to confirm whether you will be paying a flat fee each month to your landlord for your utility usage or if you will be billed separately for your utilities. If you are paying for your electricity yourself, it is important to get familiarized with the Time of Use rates in Guelph for electricity. This is a breakdown of the money charged per usage between certain hours throughout the day. You will find the lowest rates in the evenings and over the weekends.

If you stay in Guelph over the summer months, be wary of your air conditioning usage. Air conditioners use a lot of power. When possible, avoid the use of your air conditioner. Instead, open windows around the home to let in some fresh air.

Get in the habit of turning off lights when you leave the house, or even when you are just leaving the room.  This is a very easy way to stop spending unnecessary money on hydro costs.

Not all students have the newest TV’s. Many will be passed down an old TV from your parents or an older sibling. These older models will use a lot of energy. Try turning off the TV when you are not using it, or even better, unplug it. This is a good tip for any electronics that you are not using. Unplug electronics when not in use. Cellphones and laptops continue to consume power even when fully charged. What is even worse is the charge will consume power even when it is not plugged into a device.

In the winter months, try minimizing the use of electric heaters. These will use a lot of electricity. To preserve the heat, keep doors and windows closed, dress warmly, and consider hanging thick-lined curtains to keep heat in.

If your hot water is heated electronically, the long hot showers you love will be costing you more money. Shorten your showers to help save yourself some cash. If you have any leaking taps in your kitchen or bathrooms, be sure to notify your landlord. A leaky hot water tap can slowly increase your bill.

When doing laundry, always try to wash your clothes in cold water and do your loads in off peak hours when possible. Air drying your laundry can help save you a ton of energy. Even better, take them home to your parents, they always love that!

By switching out your currently light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights, this will significantly help reduce your energy consumption.

Follow these great energy saving tips and save yourself some cash this year. These savings can help you fund your textbooks for this semester, or your weekend plans, whatever you decide!

Concerned Landlord Writes Mayor Re: Licensing Rentals in Guelph

There has been much controversy over the proposed Licensing Program in Guelph. Many residents, tenants, landlords and property mangers have expressed their support and their concerns to the City over the last few months.

Below you will find a link to one of the letters sent to the Guelph Mayor and counsellors from two Guelph landlords outlining their concerns with the proposed licensing program.

Guelph Landlords’ Letter to Mayor – Dec 2013

 

Protect Your Floors Against the Effects of Winter

winterThe weather is changing whether we like it or not, and with winter fast approaching, building managers and landlords should be proactive in regard to floor care. This is highly important in building lobbies and common areas.

In order to counteract the damage that winter weather can cause on the flooring, property managers should take certain measures leading up to the season. By taking extra precautions now, building floors will be cleaner, safer and protected when it is most important.

First, a highly durable flooring finish should be applied to all common areas and entrances. Purchasing the more expensive products is worth it! High quality products will reduce cleaning costs and maintenance needs, ultimately paying for itself in the long run.

The second thing to consider is if enough layers of finish have been applied to the floors. In the summer, if the floors are shiny, this usually means that three to four coats of finish have been applied to the flooring. For the winter months, three to four coats will not be enough. Ideally, the flooring would have about five to six coats applied for protection against the snow and salt. These added coats will allow protect the floors against the increased cleaning that takes place over the colder months.

It is important to have a winter maintenance program in place at any buildings you manage. Make a schedule of how often the building will be vacuumed, swept, mopped, scrubbed and re-coated. The frequencies of these tasks will need to be increased during the winter. As part of this program, the building managers will need to install weather mats around the building. By installing mats, these will capture as much as 80 per cent of snow, salt and other soils. Mats should be place at all entrances, and around common areas of the building.

The last thing to consider is to strip and refinish the flooring during warmer months. Experts generally do not recommend stripping and refinishing flooring during colder months. This is mainly due to many finishes not adhering properly during the winter.

Keeping these tips in mind as the colder weather approaches will prove beneficial to the flooring in  your building. Winter is on its way!

Proposed Rental Licensing Meetings – Nov 19/21

Hello to all Guelph residents, and especially all parties concerned with the proposed Licensing Program for rental properties in Guelph. We attended the meeting held in the council chambers at City Hall on Tuesday night regarding this proposed licensing program in Guelph.

cityhallThere was a large crowd in attendance in the gallery, comprised mostly of landlords and residents. It appeared that there was an overwhelming lack of support for the proposal from Guelph landlords and residents, so it will be interesting to see what happens at tonight’s second open house!
For those of you who did not attend Tuesday’s open house, below you will find some notes we made from the presentation by the City:

  • The meeting involved a half an hour presentation by representatives from the City of Guelph
  • They notified everyone that there have been enhanced enforcement efforts in the City recently
  • A cost-benefit analysis was presented to council back in July and was briefly discussed
  • City says no decision has been made on licensing as of yet
  • A working group comprised of stakeholders will be held in January for landlords, tenants and residents
  • Another community meeting will be held in February
  • There are 5 proposed options for the licensing program in Guelph
  • A citizen advisory committee will be formed
  • Inspections would be done by the City and ESA under licensing , for zoning and building issues to each rental unit (excluded will be student residences, buildings with 3 units and more, social housing, and group homes)
  • City states they wish to inspect rentals at different times throughout the year in the first 2 proposals to ensure landlords are complying with the laws
  • Identified issues that will be addressed by licensing:  tenant health safety; neighbourhood destabilization; disruptive behaviour; lack of information about rental housing stock; enforcement challenges; funding implications
  • City may adopt a risk based approach. Only properties that pose a risk would need inspection. Risk factors could include previous complaints, observations etc.
  • Fees range from $132 per room per year annually to every second year for $90 per room per year
  • Self-certification options are an option, which would greatly reduce the costs of implementation

We encourage all interested parties to attend the meeting tonight (Thursday, November 21st) at 6:30pm at Guelph City Hall to give an opinion or just listen in. See you there!