What do you do when you're a rental real estate developer who has a specific, locked-in vision for how property management can be approached in today’s market?

You start up your own management company, of course.

It's a simple solution — albeit one that takes an incredible amount of work, organization, and know-how — and it's one that the brains behind Toronto-based Pinemount Developments decided to take on.

Pinemount builds high-density, multi-family residential communities across Southern Ontario, and with many hundreds of rental units in their portfolio needing an attentive property manager, the idea for their management company, Holt Meadow, was born.

"We started thinking, if we're going to build these buildings to such a high quality, and implement our own ideas on how to approach purpose-built rental in these markets, why are we handing it off to someone else who might not align with that mindset?" explains Oren Turkienicz, CEO of Holt Meadow.

With a few new projects in the Pinemount pipeline, they decided to assemble a team so that they could manage their own buildings starting from the pre-occupancy phase, and things just grew from there, going from an internal operation to a contracted-out property management offering.

"I'm sure other people — especially now with where rental's going — are going to be running into the same issue. They're going to want somebody who has a mindset for innovation to maximize return and maximize revenue, so why not offer this as a third party?" Turkienicz reflects.

Now with a growing team, specializing in everything from operations to accounting to business development, Holt Meadow has made it a priority to not only implement innovative ideas to help landlords thrive, but to give tenants the smoothest experience possible.

What sets Holt Meadow apart from other rental management companies, Turkienicz says, is that they're able to approach the business from a development perspective, with a thorough understanding of how each building is put together. For builders wanting to take advantage of new financial programs and offerings, Holt Meadow is able to advise on the implementation of sustainability efforts and ways to make buildings more efficient.

As well, increasing the sustainability of a building often has the added benefit of reducing operating costs for landlords, helping them to save more dollars.

Details as small as the keys for each door are carefully considered. And, as it turns out, keys won’t always be found in Holt Meadow buildings — well, not physically, anyway. Instead, they regularly implement a keyless, app-based lock system with smart technology, which is not only convenient for tenants, saving them from digging through their bags trying to find their keys, but can also help a landlord's bottom line.

"The cost of changing keys annually can add up, especially for larger buildings,” Turkienicz explains. "So, the option of approaching this element on a computer or on an app... when a tenant moves out, it’s an easy update. There’s nothing wrong with keys, but some landlords may prefer a tech-centered approach.”

Keeping up with the innovate-technology approach, Holt Meadow-managed buildings also implement an app-based tenant request portal, easily accessed by QR codes placed throughout the building.

"If somebody hears or sees something that [makes them] think 'Okay, we're going to tell the management about this,' they scan the QR code. It automatically directs you to a maintenance request or maintenance submission; you can take a picture of the problem, give a little comment, and submit it," Turkienicz says. "It comes directly to our maintenance team and they're directed to that location."

READ: Pinemount Taps Into Guelph’s Purpose-Built Rental Market With Oakley Ridge

Tenant satisfaction is at the core of Holt Meadow's model, and it's something they see as needing to become a priority with all property managers, especially in today's market where rental development is making a comeback. It's not just basic rentals from decades past that are making a return; there are high-end (ie. expensive) rentals rising in major cities, where tenants will expect high-end services.

"Ten years ago, rental wasn’t as sought-after as it is today," Turkienicz explains. "There wasn't really much in terms of new supply, so tenants would say, 'Well, if I'm in a rental, it is what it is.' And that was sort of the same mindset for management, the same mindset from landlords, but it's changing. Ownership now, with interest rates where they are, is not the main focus, and there are new rentals with large amenities and attractive locations, so it's changing to a more customer-service focus."

Having reliable management, where tenants know that problems will be addressed quickly, is critical, and will help buildings develop a good reputation. Which, in turn, attracts future tenants.

"It's important for our brand to ensure that the overall tenant experience is fantastic, and that they love the building that they're living in," Turkienicz said. "Whether it's a Pinemount building or it's a third party's building, they will be treated the same."


This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.