CFAA Rental Housing Conference 2019 took place in downtown Toronto from May 13 to 15. The Conference included the Building Innovations Bus Tour, Networking and Awards Receptions, the CFAA Rental Housing Awards Dinner, and two full days of education sessions.

The 25 education sessions included over 60 speakers, who shared knowledge on various topics in order to help rental housing providers succeed. Here are descriptions are some of the education topics explored at CFAA-RHC 2019.

The Executive Round Table consisted of:

  • Kris Boyce, CEO at Greenwin Inc.
  • Todd Cook, President and CEO at Northview REIT
  • Alf Hendry, CEO at Homestead Land Holdings Limited
  • Tyler Seaman, Head of Hotels and Multi-Residential, North America at Oxford Properties Group

The panelists discussed the current rental environment and prospects for many different rental markets across Canada, as well the roadblocks that are standing in the way of rental development, and whether Ontario’s new Housing Action Supply Plan will clear away some of those roadblocks. The panelists also covered the current challenges to buying or selling apartment assets from the perspectives of REITs, institutions, and private companies; in what assets investors are looking for growth; what options are available when buying old and renovating; and the comparative advantages to buying new or developing. Panelists also commented on new construction techniques, including modular construction and crosslaminated timber, which speed up construction.

Delegates commented that the Round Table was “topical and informative”, offered “great insight and breadth of knowledge” and was “a great panel and discussion”.

CFAA’s main political goals are to improve tax policy and housing programs as they affect the rental housing industry. Using funds from
the expanded direct membership drive, we elevated our game by engaging consultant lobbyists on both tax and housing. In the first six months of 2019, we honed our messages to use the current housing supply crisis as a lead in, and met more than 30 key officials and politicians (of all three main parties).

What do these government meetings do for you as a rental housing provider? In the Influencing Government panel, government relations experts discussed what government relations is, some issues the rental industry faces, and what rental providers can do to make a meaningful impact on how the governments regulate the rental housing industry.

CFAA President, John Dickie, moderated that panel, which consisted of:

  • John Matheson, Principal and General Counsel at StrategyCorp
  • Robert McCreight, Consultant at The Capital Hill Group
  • Tony Irwin, President and CEO at FRPO

According to the panelists, government relations work best for an industry:

  • When it overcomes negative stereotypes or perceptions;
  • When it creates win-win solutions that address government goals (such as more affordable housing), while being positive for the industry; and
  • When the industry association’s membership is engaged, educated, and knows what lobbying approaches are needed to achieve the best results.

One delegate said, “Great background from all speakers. There was a lot of explanation of current issues and how they will affect each landlord and the industry.”

CFAA was pleased to welcome back Greg Millen to present a new talk on Leadership through Courage and Teamwork. He made use of his first-hand experiences with champions, trailblazers, and disruptive corporations, to share the key knowledge which today’s researchers have discovered about leadership.

Greg explored the vital roles that courage and teamwork play in effective leadership, and how those issues play out in the NHL. He also addressed how everyone can develop and use those traits in all endeavors and industries, including rental housing.

Delegates enjoyed Greg Millen’s message and delivery. One stated that that it had a “good message and take-aways to think about”. Another said Greg was a “great speaker who related with the audience and kept the talk very upbeat!”

Other sessions on Education Day 1 included the keynote economic update by Benjamin Tal, Artificial Intelligence, Energy and building retrofits, Tornado: One company’s response, Improving the public perception of landlords, Rental market reporting in Canada, Operations Roundtable, Corporate Social Responsibility by rental housing providers, and Rental market data in the US and reports available from the National Apartment Association (through CFAA’s new partnership with NAA).

Education Day 2 featured Developing a Strong Corporate Identity, Tenant selection, Benefits of new purpose-built rentals, Serving the tenants of today, Internet of Things, Planning – to get rental housing built, Digital Marketing Trends and Analytics, Steps to Success, CMHC support for private market affordable housing, Tenant services in today’s environment, Employment law update, and a plenary talk by Financial Post columnists Stephen Moranis and Murtaza Haider on the Economics and Politics of Rental Housing Development.

Many delegates took advantage of the many networking opportunities, including the CFAA Rental Housing Awards Dinner, honouring some of the leading people, developments and renovations in the rental housing industry.

Every delegate who provided feedback enjoyed CFAA-RHC 2019. Here are some sample comments:

Tracy Roth, of Wilstar Management, said:
“This is a great conference!”

John Loubser, of Timbercreek Communities, said:
“Thanks again for the fabulous conference!”

Speaking for himself and his wife, Anna Garnett, Jim Garnett, President of Canadian Tenant Inspection
Services, said:
“We felt that the function was very well organized and professionally run. It exceeded our expectations. We will definitely be in Halifax next year!”

CFAA thanks all sponsors, speakers, moderators and delegates, who made CFAA – Rental Housing Conference 2019 such a success. We especially thank Yardi Canada Inc, the Conference Principal Partner.