Is a Career in Residential Property Management Right for You?

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If you’re considering a career in property management or looking to advance your current career in the field, this article is for you!

Quick Facts

  • Property Managers in Canada can make up to $75K a year, or more
  • 30% of new constructions in Quebec are condos
  • 27% of buildings in Montreal are condos
  • $6.9 Billion: Annual revenue in Canada in 2017 for property management
  • A property manager may deal with anything from maintenance management to property law


Quebec’s residential property scene has been hit with major transformations in the past several years, leaving condo associations, real estate investors and residential property managers with a broad range of new challenges. With the sweeping changes brought to the Civil Code by the adoption of Bill 141, new provincial regulations regarding short-term rentals (think Airbnb), and even new rules regarding the sustainability of renovations, the traditional practice by property management companies of hiring business, accounting and finance grads may be falling out of favour. Now, property managers need a specialized skill set.

Things are even more complex when we consider the province’s aging infrastructure and the growing tendency among developers to build mixed-use properties (a combination of owned condos, rented units and commercial spaces, all of which are governed by different types of rules). The demands on property managers are more stringent than ever.

These changes couldn’t come at a more auspicious time for the profession. As the industry grows and demand for property managers increases, opportunities for career growth and income potential in the industry are plentiful. But what exactly is a residential property manager, how much training do they need, and what is the career and income potential in the field? If you’re considering a career in property management or looking to advance your current career in the field, this article is for you!


What is a residential property or condo manager and what are their responsibilities?

Sometimes a property owner will choose to manage his or her own property or properties. Often though, an owner of multiple properties may decide to hire a manager to handle the operations of his or her building or buildings. Condo associations may also hire managers to oversee the operations of their building. The managers hired may be independent professionals or they may work for a property management firm the owners of the building have contracted.

These managers must be equipped to handle everything from administrative and technical issues to legal and financial matters. This means they need to understand the fundamentals of property law, manage budgets, deal with maintenance issues, screen tenants, and ensure rent is collected. They also must ensure their clients respect municipal and provincial laws and regulations and are also tasked with helping the owner get more value from the building by generating dealing with issues of property damage, working to reduce energy costs, creating new streams of revenue, and ensuring the criteria are met to obtain tax credits.


Program Image - two professionals standing in front of a modern condominium - McGill's Professional Development Certificate in Residential Property and Condominium Management


What is the difference between a real estate broker and a residential property manager?

Unlike a residential property manager, a real estate broker—previously called a real estate agent— deals with the ins and outs of arranging the sale, purchase or rental of property. A real estate agent may focus on residential real estate, including homes, apartments or condos, or commercial real estate, including land for development, commercial buildings, or rental space for offices. Usually paid by commission, brokers tend to represent their clients throughout the process, helping to find and meeting with potential buyers or tenants, negotiating and ensuring all pertinent laws and regulations are respected. In the province of Quebec, the profession is regulated by the OACIQ, or Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec.


Why is having a skilled property manager so important?

Due to the new level of complexity of property management in Quebec, property owners, real estate investors and condo associations may want to rethink their approach to the management of their buildings. Despite backgrounds in business, real estate or finance, owners and investors who manage their properties on their own may no longer be skilled enough to meet the multifaceted legal and regulatory demands they now face.

Additionally, property management firms that have traditionally hired business, finance and accounting graduates may find that candidates for employment are lacking essential skills necessary to perform their duties effectively. They may not have the required knowledge and skills to choose the right tenants, assure rent is paid on time, and ensure laws and regulations are followed to prevent fines or other infractions. They also may not have yet acquired the skills to manage property damage or other issues to prevent legal or insurance disputes and manage the property in a way that ensures their clients’ investments are protected.

Property managers today are also expected to fulfil additional responsibilities. Besides merely managingthe operations of a building, they are tasked with adding value to the property— clients expect them toensure the value of their asset grows over time. When you have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a property, you want to ensure your investment is protected and that is appreciates in value over time. This means that property managers are responsible for such objectives as:

  • Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings to decrease costs
  • Creating new revenue streams beyond rent (for example, adding a commercial element like a convenience store)
  • Managing those newly created revenue streams
  • Helping building owners take advantage of new tax credits available in the province.
  • These are all outcomes that require specialized knowledge and skills.

So why do clients hire property managers? To protect their massive investment and ensure that investment in appreciates in value over time. This skills set is only going to be more and more in demand in the coming years.


Course image - professional woman standing in front of condo - Fondements du droit immobilier et de la copropriété au Québec


What is the market like for property managers?

Property management in Canada is a $6.14 B market. 60% of that, or $4.14 B, is residential property management. That is a massive market. Add to this that in Canada, demand for property management professionals in the country is on the rise. In 2017, demand was up by 2.5% according to data from IBIS world, and these figures show no sign of slowing down.

Typically, residential property managers are responsible for properties such as traditional single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses, multi-family homes, and co-ops. However, new opportunities are also popping up with regard to the types of properties a property manager might oversee. For instance, with Canada’s rising elderly population, increasing numbers of retirement homes and healthcare facilities will be in need of skilled property managers. Additionally, as developers in Quebec continue to build mixed-use properties, property managers with the required knowledge and skills to manage such properties will set themselves apart from other candidates.

Salaries for residential property managers can reach upwards of $75,000 a year, though this figure may increase as demand for property management grows. Property managers who want to maximize their salaries will need the right training and qualifications to be able to add indispensable value to their clients’ properties—value clients will be willing to pay for. With the right skillset, a strong educational background in property management, and an understanding of the market and its regulations, property manager will open the doors to better opportunities and higher earnings.


What does it take to become a residential property manager or condo manager?

Traditionally, property management companies have hired business, accounting and finance graduates, or individuals with a background in real estate, and provided on the job training for some of the more specialized tasks and responsibilities. While it may still be possible to find employment as a property manager without specific property management training, it’s an industry practice that may soon change. Several US states already require property managers to have specialized training, hold a real estate license or obtain certification. While no such requirements exist in Canada yet, specialized training may soon be a necessity to get hired and succeed in the profession.

While some colleges and universities offer programs or degrees in topics such as property management or real estate and housing, no such programs exist in Quebec. Despite the rising number of people entering rental agreements in Quebec on a year-to-year basis, increasing condo sales, and considering the recent changes to the province’s Civil Code, academic options in Quebec are still limited for those seeking to strengthen or develop their knowledge in the residential property industry.

To accommodate this growing need for skilled property managers, McGill’s University’s School of Continuing Studies has launched a newly revised and updated Professional Development Certificate in Residential and Condominium Property Management to reflect these new realities of the industry in Quebec. Taught by experienced practitioners who bridge the gap between theory and practice, the courses cover crucial topics like residential property management and administration, property finance and accounting, maintenance management, Quebec property law, and other practical aspects of condo managements. The program is also the only one in Canada to focus exclusively on property management for residential and condominium properties.

Learn more about McGill’s Professional Development Certificate in Residential and Condominium Property Management at


Program Image - two professionals standing in front of a modern condominium - McGill's Professional Development Certificate in Residential Property and Condominium Management




Jessica Romera

Jessica Romera has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Concordia University and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Translation at the McGill School of Continuing Studies. She has written for several publications including the Montreal Gazette and Montreal Families Magazine and is fluent in English, Spanish and French. A self-proclaimed bookworm and concert junkie, you will likely find her with her nose stuck in a novel or in the middle of a crowded music venue!

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