Quality Assurance: How Caring for our Assets Means Caring for All Our Stakeholders
“Duty of Care is one of the pillars of our company,” says Aman Bhalla, Senior Vice President of Investment Management for Avenue Living. “Investing in multi-family residential means investing in homes, and it’s vital that we ensure those homes are safe, comfortable, and affordable.”
Avenue Living owns and operates approximately 500 class B and C multi-family properties in western Canada and the United States. We’ve focused on “investing in the everyday,” purchasing and revitalizing vintage buildings and providing affordable homes for many in the essential services. Our properties are home to more than 25,000 residents across the Prairies, who, on average, call our properties home for an excess of three years.
As stewards of capital, we make sure we look after those investments. We have a duty to our investors, our residents, and our employees to ensure our properties and customer service consistently meet a high standard. That’s why, in 2019, we implemented a rigorous program to ensure we continue to meet our standards. We’ve developed and implemented detailed quality assurance assessments that help us monitor the qualitative and quantitative elements of our business including building quality, maintenance requests, resident feedback, employee engagement and safety. The program gives us an accurate picture of current performance and helps us layout plans for continuous improvement. On top of that, it’s working.
Since the program’s launch we’ve seen an average improvement of three per cent every quarter. “Today, we have a 91 per cent success rate across the board. We’re really encouraged by the achievements from our operations team,” says Aman
A Dedicated Team
In each region, we have a robust team of maintenance, leasing, and operations specialists who are dedicated to making sure our residents’ homes are safe and comfortable, and the service they receive is of high quality. Our property management team has a maintenance budget and capital expenditure plan dedicated to maintaining and improving our assets.
The quality assurance program includes a detailed set of assessments which ensure quality assurance team assess properties in each portfolio according to the same criteria in order to adopt a standardized approach. Assessments look at every aspect of our operations, including:
Customer Service: We examine key performance indicators, how leasing agents are helping prospective residents find the home that meets their needs, and how regional teams are dealing with resident concerns. Measures include work order turn-around time, leasing conversion rates as well as interviews with residents.
Property: Our QA team conduct detailed assessments that capture the condition of our buildings down to the tiniest details. They examine common areas, exteriors, and vacant suites to ensure they’re in good condition. Their reports include photographs and clear notes for building maintenance teams.
Post-Assessment Meetings: Once an assessment is complete, we connect with the property managers to go over the findings. We talk about where we’re doing well and where we can improve and develop a plan to address any challenges that were discovered during the assessment. A continuous improvement mindset is essential to the success of the program, and our regional operations teams are empowered and supported to make improvements.
“This quality assurance program also demonstrates to our investors that we are dedicated to creating sustainability for our investments,” says Aman.
From a business perspective, investing in operations this way helps us retain residents, which in turn helps generate stable rental income. But this approach is also part of our triple-bottom-line philosophy: in taking care of our investments through regular maintenance and capital expenditures, we provide residents with a safe, comfortable place to live, and the surrounding community benefits, too. Residents who remain in place longer are more likely to be connected with the surrounding community, and the community benefits from affordable, well-maintained housing options — which benefits all of us.
This commentary and the information contained herein are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities or related financial instruments. This article may contain forward-looking statements. Readers should refer to information contained on our website at www.avenuelivingam.com for additional information regarding forward-looking statements and certain risks associated with them.