Guelph Named 3rd Best Canadian City to Raise a Family

familypicReader’s Digest has named Guelph the third best city for raising a family in the country. This does not come as a surprise to us, as we whole-heartedly agree! Many factors can contribute to your decision to move your family to a new City, including the cost of living, school rankings, crime rates and family care.

They ranked the family-friendliness of our provincial capitals and cities with a population of more than 80,000 to come up with the countdown of the best Canadian cities to raise a family. The rankings were determined by considering 11 of the most important factors to Canadian families.

Although there are plenty of influences worth considering when choosing where to start a home for your growing family, Reader’s Digest felt the following factors were the most popular/important for our country’s families:

  • Transit: With kids in tow, parents need to get around with minimum hassle.
  • Median age: A young population is one measure of a kid-friendly city.
  • Infant mortality: The best benchmark for the overall health of a region.
  • Mat leave: An extra couple of weeks can make a difference to a new mom.
  • Daycare: Parents want easy access to child care providers.
  • Cost of food: Getting healthy food into the mouths of children is a parent priority.
  • Mom groups: The more clubs and support groups for moms, the more welcoming the area for kids.
  • Intimate-partner violence: High rates of domestic abuse have far-reaching societal consequences.
  • Child and youth victims of crime: How dangerous will the streets be for your kids?
  • Libraries: Libraries are a good place to connect with others; and the closer by, the better.
  • Park space: Playing and picnics mean quality time for families.

We are very excited to share that Guelph was named the 3rd best place to raise a family in Canada, and truly believe that the City offers many benefits to families. Whether you are looking to purchase your home or rent a property, there are many options for you and your family within any budget. If you are considering a move for your family, the City of Guelph is worth considering.

For a complete list of the top cities in Canada to raise a family, visit:

Your 10 Item Unit Walk-Through Checklist

Handing over of final business contractWhen viewing a rental unit, it is easy to be swept up in the excitement of the unit and all of the bells and whistles the unit may offer. Often times, once a tenant secures a unit and visits the rental property for a second time, the unit looks completely different than they remember. Maybe that pantry magically appeared in the kitchen or a bedroom is suddenly carpeted a different colour. Did those changes actually occur or were you distracted by something else within the property that prevented you from digesting these features of the home during your initial walk through? Most likely it is the latter.

The same can be true regarding maintenance items. Most likely you didn’t notice a loose kitchen faucet or a leaky dishwasher at the time of your initial showing. Typically, we will suggest to tenants to make notes and take photos of anything they notice upon their move in and make the landlord aware of anything of concern immediately. Having these items recorded upon move in can help prevent tenants from being held responsible for items that were present upon their move in and make the landlord aware of some items that may have been missed during the landlord’s inspection. The landlord should then address the problem items within a timely manner and keep notes of any other less concerning items (i.e. chipped cabinet door, small stain in carpet) for their records to ensure the new tenants are not held responsible for previous tenant damage.

We have compiled a list of 10 items you should pay attention to during your walk through once possession of the rental is provided to you as a tenant.

  1. Windows and Screens – Check that all windows can open and close with minimal effort and there are no cracks in the glass. Screens should be attached to any windows that open and should not have any rips or holes present.
  2. Faucets and Drains – Ensure that all faucets are secure and check for any pipe leakage. If you see any major water stains present, this is important to bring to the landlord’s attention immediately. Run the water in your bathroom and kitchen sinks to see how easily they are draining. If these are slow to drain, there may be a build in the piping.
  3. Appliances – Check any appliances that have been included in your rental to ensure they are properly operating. This could include your stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, washer, dryer, etc.
  4. Locks – Ensure that all locks work smoothly without issues. If they do not, you can request for these to be lubricated or replaced. Double check that the keys provided to you work for all the corresponding doors. Double check your patio door latch and your window locks are all operational and inform your landlord if they are not.
  5. Doors – Open and close the doors within the unit and make note of any that do not close properly or appear to be off their hinges. Ensure all closet doors and patio doors are secure on their tracks and can open and close with minimal effort.
  6. Floors – If your flooring is carpeted, ensure to note any stains that are present. Take pictures to properly document these stains to make certain you are not held responsible. If your flooring is wood, document any discolouring, chips and scratches with photos and send to your landlord for their records.
  7. Ceilings – Check all ceilings within the unit for any water damage and discolouration. If water sports are present, this could mean something is leaking and your landlord should be notified immediately.
  8. Walls – Check all walls for any present holes, scrapes and marks. This is an important step as often times landlords will make tenants responsible for major holes and marks if patching and painting is required upon move out. Be diligent, take many pictures and write down notes. You do not want to be held responsible for any necessary painting after you vacate due to damage caused by a previous renter.
  9. Outlets and Breakers – Test all outlets throughout the unit to ensure they are all working. This is one of the most common aspects that are overlooked during a walk through and often times tenants notice an outlet isn’t working only when they need it most. Double check where the breaker box is to ensure if the breakers ever shut off, you know where to turn these back on.
  10. Heating and Cooling – Turn on your heating or cooling, depending on the time of year and ensure that there is hot or cold hair blowing from the vents. Check the thermostat and ensure it does not say low battery. If there is a low battery notification, make sure the battery is replaced. If your unit has baseboard heating, turn these on no matter what the time of year is. You will hear a creaking or clicking noise coming from the heaters as the metal starts to expand. This means they are functioning properly. If you do not hear this, notify your landlord and this will provide time to get these fixed in a timely manner.

Tenants do not want to be held financially responsible for someone else’s damage, so it is imperative to protect yourself. It is important to take the time upon move in to go through this check list and document anything that is necessary to help save you time and headaches throughout your tenancy.

WEBCON 2016/Rental Marketing Awards, Niagara Falls ON

Our company (Property Link Management Services) was fortunate enough to be invited to attend WEBCON 2016 in Niagara Falls, Ontario on May 9th and 10th.IMG_1555 WEBCON is a Marketing, Operations and Technology Conference for the Rental Housing Industry. Landlords, Property Managers and Service Providers were invited from across Canada and the United States.

Attendees were able to listen to inspiring key note speakers and sit in on mini sessions tailored to the rental industry throughout the two-day event. The conference was perfect for a company like ours, interested in the latest marketing trends and operational strategies, wanting to expand our knowledge in these areas.

The most exciting event at WEBCON 2016 was the Rental Marketing Awards (RMA’s) hosted by Landlord Web Solutions on the evening of May 9th. IMG_1572This year’s theme was “The Great Gatsby” and LWS was able to pull off this theme flawlessly throughout the entire evening, from the décor to the live band/music to the outfits.

Our Property Link Management Team is very proud of our two awards won at the RMA’s on Monday night. The first award was for “Best Corporate Website Managing Under 2500 Units” for our company’s website and the second award was for “Best Website for Single Building” for our student purpose-built complex Gordon Terrace’s website It was an honour to be recognized by experts in the industry across the country for the work we have put in to these two websites to make these as interactive, informative and user-friendly as possible.

Day two of WEBCON provided a great networking opportunity for us to connect with local and international companies/experts in the rental marketing field both throughout more sessions and the keynote speakers. Throughout the day, there was a tradeshow for many of the service suppliers to set up booths to inform and attract the industry attendees to the latest technology, services and trends. This was a great opportunity to make new connections and prepare for the future of the rental industry.

Overall, this was a wonderful team-building opportunity and inspirational experience for our company to grow in marketing, operations and technology. We are excited to implement many items we have learned from the conference this year and are looking forward to WEBCON 2017.


Family Day in Guelph

familyFamily Day is this Monday (February 15th). Most of us will get the day off to spend quality time with our loved ones.

Are you looking for ideas to spend your Family Day in Guelph?

If  you are in need of some Family Day inspiration, visit the City of Guelph’s website below offering a wide range of events happening around town.

We wish you and yours a wonderful Family Day long weekend!

Guelph’s Student Rental Market Seminar

Attention Investors

Do you have questions about Guelph’s student rental market and how this is changing?

Join our President, Mark Roberts, along with 5 additional local experts to get your answers on Tuesday, January 12th @ 7 pm.

Event is FREE but seating is limited. Register at

Investors: Be Prepared to Invest

PropertyLink-027Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Mark Roberts and I am the President of Property Link Management Services Inc., a local property management firm based out of Guelph with over 15 years of experience in the industry. My company manages a portfolio of approximately 300 rental properties in Guelph and surrounding cities, with just over 100 units being student-based rentals in the area.

In my experience, students begin their search as early as November for a tenancy beginning May 1st. That is six months in advance to their planned move in. Typically, the majority of our available rentals are secured by Reading Week (mid-February) and then the market begins to slow around early March.

Last year, we noticed a huge market shift specifically in March, where many landlords and investors began to panic. My phone was ringing off the hook at this time with investors wanting our company to help locate suitable tenants for May as they had been unsuccessful.

After walking through these units and meeting with these panicking landlords, I determined these were not properties we wanted to take on or add to our rental portfolio as there was a reason why they were struggling. Whether it be worn out carpets, a need for repaint, outdated kitchens/finishes or proximity to the University of Guelph, there was a reason these units were not renting and students were not interested. These investors were not prepared for the market shift that occurred in Guelph last year and did not understand the need to put money back into their property to attract these tenants going forward. These are not the type of investors that we want to work with.

As we are all aware, new construction has been occurring in the south-end of Guelph for the last few decades proving to be quite profitable for investors. Several mid-rise buildings offering 1-3 bedroom units at reasonable rental rates and complexes of starter-family homes/townhomes offering 3-4 bedrooms for the larger groups of students looking for a more home-like style of rental have all been popular with student tenants for many years. These units are all located directly on a bus route to the University, allowing students to make the decision to travel a bit further from campus for a tenancy in a newer property rather than the older homes located within walking distance.

However, as of this year, students no longer have to make the choice between proximity and quality of rentals. Guelph was introduced to multiple new student-purpose built rentals in the south-end within walking distance to campus. Our flagship property, the Gordon Terrace, located at 803/807 Gordon Street has 99 bedrooms all with ensuites to every bedroom, along with Solstice, located at 1291 Gordon Street, has approximately 600 bedrooms with an ensuite to every bedroom. Solstice II is currently under construction at 1211 Gordon Street and will include approximately 250 bedrooms. This complex is set to launch in September 2016. These complexes have been extremely attractive to the student market and has taken just under 1000 students out of the rental pool for other independent properties around Guelph.

With all of this new supply hitting the Guelph market in student rentals at a faster rate than students are enrolling in the University of Guelph, students are going to dictate this market as their standards increase for rental housing options. These new rental opportunities are all well-marketed and present higher quality than students have ever seen in Guelph all within walking distance to campus. We saw it last year and I believe will see it even more so in the near future where the demand for student homes further from campus with less amenities or older finishes decreases drastically. Rentals that are close to campus, shopping and transit should be able to sustain themselves as long as investors are willing to put money into updates. Units that are not in the most desirable locations or with landlords unwilling to invest money back into the property will see vacancy rates increase, rental rates decrease and the market will seriously affect their investment in the future.

My suggestion to investors in Guelph is to be prepared to invest in your investment. If you are not willing to put money into updating the unit to attract the student market’s higher expectations, your property will suffer and you will see less return on your investment.

If you have a student rental property that you would like advice on, please do not hesitate to contact me at Property Link Management Services Inc. by phone at 519-515-0411 x 230 or via email

Guelph’s Low Vacancy Rates Affecting Low Income Households

payingcashIn April, 2015, Guelph’s vacancy rate was the lowest seen in Ontario at an admirable 0.6 percent. Although this may seem to be great for investors and landlords in the area, many low income households  are suffering.

Typically, housing is deemed affordable by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) if the household is paying less than 30 percent of their income before taxes. The current range of available Guelph rental units does not meet these guidelines for affordable housing, according to a newly released City report.

Guelph’s rental market is in need of smaller rental units, meaning one bedroom or bachelor apartments, to account for a lower income household and Guelph’s reduction in the average number of persons per unit. This lack of available smaller housing is causing families to seek larger units with higher rental rates and spend beyond their affordable limit.

As affordable rental housing is becoming a large issue within Guelph, the City of Guelph is aiming to finalize an affordable housing strategy before the summer. You can read more about this issue and its effects in the Guelph Tribune’s article found below.

If you are searching for a 1 bedroom apartment, we currently have a few options for you. Please contact our office for further details about these units at 519-515-0411 x 228.

Low income families challenged by Guelph’s low vacancy rate

Housing stock not meeting all of city’s affodability needs

Guelph Tribune    By: Doug Hallett

Guelph’s extremely low rental vacancy rate is part of a challenging housing situation for low- and moderate-income households in the city, says a new city report.

Renting is generally more affordable than home ownership in Guelph, but renters are experiencing bigger challenges than homeowners, says the report, which is part of a city hall effort to finalize an affordable housing strategy before next summer.

“Rental households face a greater challenge in finding housing given the city’s vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent (as of April 2015), which is the lowest in Ontario and . . . well below a widely accepted balanced and healthy vacancy rate of three per cent,” the report says.

In general, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation considers housing to be affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s pre-tax income. While 20 per cent of ownership from front page households in Guelph have been spending over 30 per cent of their household income on housing, 41 per cent of rental households have been above the affordability threshold.

The report, which goes to council’s infrastructure, development and enterprise committee today (Oct. 6), says the range of housing options available in Guelph is not fully meeting the affordability needs of low- and moderate-income households.

“The potential involvement of the city in financially incenting the creation of affordable housing across the full continuum will be reviewed” next year once the affordable housing strategy is finalized, the report says.

The approaches that the city comes up with for “addressing affordable housing issues on the market end of the continuum” will complement non-market strategies contained in the approved Guelph and Wellington 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, it says. “This review will provide direction to the future of the city’s affordable housing reserve, which has historically been used to support the creation of affordable market and non-market housing.”

The local market hasn’t been produced enough smaller housing units – bachelor and one-bedroom units – to meet the needs of smaller households in Guelph, the report says.

One-person households have been the fastest growing household type in the city over the past 15 years, accounting for one-quarter of all household types and 43 per cent of all renter households. The number of persons per household is also shrinking in Guelph, furthering the need for smaller housing units.

“A comparison of the city’s current housing supply with the number of bedrooms required by a household shows an insufficient number of smaller units for today’s smaller households, which means households need to seek out larger units which may result in affordability challenges,” the report says.

On the non-market side, no new social housing units have been created locally since 1995, and, as of the end of 2014, there were 881 Guelph households on the rent-geared-to-income waiting list for social housing units, the report says. Social housing in Guelph and Wellington County is administered by the county and financed on a cost-sharing basis.

Within Guelph, about 96% of the housing supply is market housing – 65% ownership and 31% rental, the report says. This leaves four per cent as non-market housing, which includes social housing and subsidized market housing, as well as emergency shelters, transitional housing and supportive housing.

On the positive side, overcrowding and the state of repair of the overall housing stock are not significant problems, the report says. And although the city’s targets for affordable rental housing haven’t been met, its annual affordable housing target for ownership housing – set at 27% of new residential development – has been met over the past five years.

The rental market consists of “primary” market units and “secondary” market units, and it’s in the primary market that the city’s vacancy rate was down to 0.6% in April.

The primary rental market includes buildings containing three or more units specifically developed for the rental market, typically apartment and townhouse units.

Secondary rental market units include accessory apartments, rented condominiums and other housing units rented out by the owner of the unit.

In recent years, the city has generally exceeded its target for creation of at least 90 accessory apartments, which are generally created in houses by their owners.

An average of 117 registered accessory apartments were created since 1995, and that rose to an average of 145 accessory apartments being registered annually from 2009 to 2013, the report says.

The secondary rental market provides choice of affordable dwelling types, but the supply is “not as secure” as the primary rental market, the report says.

It says the secondary rental market accounts for about 45 per cent of Guelph’s rental housing stock.