Why Concert Got its Entire BC Rental Portfolio Quality-Certified
LandlordBC’s quality assurance program only launched last week and already Concert Properties has its entire BC portfolio certified. “We weren’t shy about stepping up and being an early adopter,” president Brian McCauley tells us.
That's Brian at the grill during a Concert-sponsored charity BBQ this summer. Concert owns over 2,500 apartment suites across Metro Vancouver. With vacancy rates under 1%, renting units out hasn’t been an issue. So why did Concert bother putting its built and managed properties through the Certified Rental Building program? “We can all talk about delivering high levels of customer service,” says Brian, “but this verifies for tenants we’re doing exactly what we set out to do: provide professionally managed buildings.”
Here’s a shot from last week’s launch event in North Vancouver for the CRB program, administered by LandlordBC, the province’s largest landlord professional industry association. At left is Allan Wasel, GM with Hollyburn Properties, the only other LandlordBC member-developer so far to have its Vancouver portfolio CRB-certified (38 rental communities, 2,500 units); along with Hollyburn director Paul Sander; area MLA Jane Thornthwaite; North Vancouver councillor Holly Back; Concert property manager Karen Rahal; LandlordBC CEO David Hutniak and member services rep Shona Athey.
First rolled out in Ontario in 2008, CRB is North America’s first and only quality assurance certification program for multi-unit residential apartment buildings. “We were an early adopter in Ontario, as well,” says Brian, noting all of Concert's rental properties in that province (like Jazz in Toronto, above) are certified. The program verifies via third-party audit by J.D. Power and Associates that properties meet mandatory requirements in resident management, human rights management, building management, financial management and insurance, energy conservation and sustainability (40% of Ontario’s multifamily buildings have been certified to date).
There are 50 CRB standards of practice to comply with, Brian notes. And while Concert performs a self-assessment of its buildings, including Cassiar Court in Vancouver (seen above), the CRB program is important because it “independently verifies” that the company is delivering top-level service, while also setting benchmarks for what customer expectations should be for any given rental property. “It’s a good checklist to determine whether you’re doing everything you think and say you’re doing."
Concert’s doing plenty development-wise. It starts construction in the new year on the first two buildings at The Creek in False Creek, and is pursuing permits for the next two. In North Vancouver, the company has received rezoning approval to include senior housing at its Harbourside community. And in Victoria, Concert is under construction on a rental building and the first office building at Capital Park, behind the BC legislature (above). The province has pre-leased 180k SF of the 235k SF of office space in two new buildings, says Brian, “and we’re confident given (the project's) location, that other government agencies will be keen to lease the balance."