Condo Living

April 4, 2024 Published by Grand River Chapter - By Henry Jansen, Anthony Irwin

Welcome Back, Snow Birds!

Now that you’ve made it back from the southern climes; what to do? Before you spend the next few days unpacking and doing some laundry, there are a couple things we recommend you do.

Now that you’ve made it back from the southern climes; what to do? Before you spend the next few days unpacking and doing some laundry, there are a couple things we recommend you do.

If yours is a community with unit owners living elsewhere for part of the year, many of these owners may own a condominium in another part of the country, or another country altogether. These owners have experiences with how other condominium associations handle issues, which can be invaluable to you. To not take advantage of this resource, or not use this networking possibility with other boards, could be costly in lessons missed.

A “Welcome Back” social/business meeting will allow you to hear the experiences of your returning unit owners with their other associations. The positive stories can provide you with best practices that may be applicable within your own association. The negative anecdotes can serve to increase owners’ appreciation for how well you are managing their local association, and perhaps provide reinforcement of why it is important to stay the course in areas where necessary decisions may be unpopular.

Whether the association in question is a primary home for “snowbirds” before they head south, a vacation condo for summers in cottage country, or a weekend ski trip getaway, regular and consistent communication with absentee owners should be your number one priority.

Returning home to your condominium in Ontario after being away, especially if you’re a snowbird, can involve several important tasks to ensure a smooth transition and the safety of your property. Here’s a checklist of things you might consider:

Security Check: Before entering your condominium, walk around the exterior to ensure there are no signs of forced entry or damage. If you notice anything suspicious, contact the authorities immediately.

Utilities: Check that all utilities (water, electricity, gas) are functioning properly. Look for any signs of leaks or damage. If you suspect a problem, contact the respective utility company or a professional plumber/electrician.

Mail and Packages: Collect your mail and any packages that might have arrived during your absence. If you arranged for mail forwarding or had someone collect it for you, ensure that everything has been received as expected.

Cleaning: Give your condominium a thorough cleaning, including dusting, vacuuming, and mopping floors. Pay special attention to areas that may have accumulated dust or mold during your absence.

Pest Control: Check for signs of pests such as insects or rodents. If you notice any, consider hiring a professional pest control service to address the issue.

Air Quality: Open windows to let in fresh air and ventilate your condominium. Consider using air purifiers to improve indoor air quality if needed.

Appliance Check: Test all appliances (e.g., refrigerator, stove, dishwasher) to ensure they are working properly. Replace any expired food items in the pantry and refrigerator.

Security System: If you have a security system installed, ensure it is functioning correctly. Update any passwords or security codes if necessary.

Emergency Preparedness: Review emergency procedures and ensure that fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.

Home Insurance: Review your home insurance policy to ensure it is up to date and provides adequate coverage for your needs.

Neighbourhood Updates: Check for any updates or changes in your condominium complex or neighbourhood, such as new regulations or construction projects.

Garden and Outdoor Areas: If you have a balcony, patio, or garden, inspect these areas for any damage or signs of neglect. Remove any debris and consider pruning plants if necessary.

Vehicle Check: If you left a vehicle parked at your condominium, check its condition and ensure it is in working order.

Community Engagement: Reconnect with neighbours and get involved in any community activities or events that may be taking place.

Relax and Unwind: Finally, take some time to relax and unwind after your journey back home. Enjoy the comfort of your condominium and the familiar surroundings of your community.

By following this checklist, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free return home to your condominium in Ontario.

Henry Jansen, P.Eng., ACCI
Director of Operations
Keller Engineering

Anthony Irwin, RCM, OLCM
Director of Condominium Management
Onyx Property Group


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