It’s the condo board’s job to ensure that newcomers to the building feel welcome. For the sake of both the newcomer and the community-based atmosphere of a condo building, condo boards are responsible for ensuring that new residents are well-settled and aware of the buildings rules and regulations. A great way to receive new residents is to prepare a welcome package that shares valuable building and community information with the new addition to your condo family. What goes in an effective welcome package and what information should property management companies in Toronto share?
We’ve highlighted the key documents and words of wisdom to share with incoming residents, so they know what to expect from your building and neighbourhood.
1.Condo Rules and Governing Documents:
Property management companies in Toronto should ensure that your board provides incoming condo members with a complete set of building rules and regulations. While this information may be available online on your condo website, having a hard copy of the rules provides incoming residents the information in one place.
Since not every resident is tech-savvy, there is no guarantee that they will go looking on your website for the information. Since approximately 60% of adults say they like to read information in the form of a manual or hard copy rather than seek it out online, it makes sense to give residents a physical copy.
You want to make sure the information is easily-accessible to all residents and for some, that means a printed out copy rather than a digital one. Of course, you can include a reference to the website as well and provide them with a link where they can find a digital copy but it’s best practice as a Toronto property management company to include a hard copy of condo rules in the welcome package.
TIP: It’s great to include rules and regulations along with a welcome note from the property manager. A handwritten, personalized note to start off your welcome package is something all residents appreciate when they’re moving in.
2.Forms To Collect Relevant Resident Information:
While it’s important to give your resident information with regards to the condo building and association, it’s also important that you provide incoming residents with a hard copy of any forms you need them to submit back to you. You may have some information on new resident’s from the status certificate request or lease, but it’s important that you have their email address, as well as home and cell phone numbers on file in case of an emergency.
If you have an emergency contact info form, or other registration forms required by the condo association’s by-laws, including pet registration forms and car/parking registration, those are the type of forms you want to include in your welcome package.
While these forms may be available online, if you give residents the forms in the welcome package, it’s less work for them to simply fill out and return them. Nine percent of Canadians do not have internet at home and if your resident is one that falls into this category, they may not have access to these forms online. Since it is information you need from your resident, it’s best if you make it easier for them so that they can get back to you with this information as soon as possible.
TIP: Try and gather as much information and forms earlier on in the moving process, while you’re still interacting with residents. This ensures you get all the relevant information right away and aren’t waiting on any additional documents.
3.Contact Information Sheet:
A contact information sheet with everything from your Toronto property management company’s information to a phone number for a local poison control center can be useful for incoming residents. This is especially true for residents if they’re new to the neighbourhood or new to the city.
Beyond including a list of phone numbers or websites for the City of Toronto, Crime Stoppers, the local transit system, and hospitals, you can really show them around the neighbourhood by adding a map in your information sheet. This map can highlight the closest grocery store, nearby restaurants, entertainment venues, and other useful locations in the neighbourhood that newcomers may not know about. This will save them a google search and show them that you care.
4.Newsletters and Board Meeting Minutes:
It’s a great idea to pass on the condo board’s most recent newsletter in the welcome package to build a sense of community and show what your condo building is all about. This is a great way to update newcomers on any recent information you may have forgotten to mention or any proposed changes to condo rules and other news.
TIP: It could be worth a quick review before you add the newsletter to the welcome package to make sure that none of the information in the newsletter contradicts what you’ve told incoming residents. For example, if you’ve told the resident that they are not allowed more than one pet and the previous newsletter reflects a pet article on old condo rules, you don’t want to confuse incoming residents with old information so just make sure the information in your welcome package is consistent with what the resident knows.
While you may have discussed additional fees or monthly charges with incoming residents, it’s best practice to include a list of monthly charges and how they are expected to be paid. This may be information incoming residents know, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them.
Sharing this information in the welcome package just clearly outlines what residents should expect to pay and transparency at this stage just avoids future issues or questions in regards to any additional costs not included in rent.
What floor is the condominium gym on? Is the pool indoor or outdoor? Your condo building property manager may have shown new residents around the building during their tour, but it’s great to have a reference for where things are within the building. If you’ve got a gym, running track, theatre room, or any condo perks, it’s great to include a list of locations, operational hours, and rules for your building amenities.
TIP: If your condo building has monthly socials, this is something you can include in the amenities section as well. This is a great way to showcase the wonderful benefits of living in the building.
Other important information to include in your welcome package:
- Fire Safety Information
- Intercom System Setup
- Moving and Delivery Information
- Concierge Hours
- Visitor and Parking Information
- Garbage and Recycling
- Air Conditioning and Heating Information
- Preventative Maintenance Tips when on Vacation
- Real Estate Sales and Open Houses
- Maintenance and Repairs
- Emergency Protocols
- Coupons for nearest grocery store or restaurants
Along with the useful information in regards to the building, many property management companies in Toronto like to add extra goodies in their welcome package. This could be anything from a gift certificate to a neighbourhood restaurant or a bottle of wine.
As a property management company in Toronto, it is up to you to determine what goodies to include in your package but another great way to show that you care about incoming residents is to deliver these welcome packages in person. The condo board president or property manager are great representatives to pay a visit to newcomers. This helps new residents put a face to the building representative and encourages a sense of community and understanding between both parties.
If you’re uncertain how to welcome guests or create a sense of community and culture within your building, it might be worth consulting with a property management company in Toronto. ICC Property Management has been in the business of managing condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area since 1992. Consult with one of our property managers if you’re looking for representatives who value community, communication and transparency in all of our management practices.