Case Study: Property Transition Failure

 

10 multi-residential/mixed use buildings, Toronto, Ontario

Background

Transition Management FailureLaurence Weizel of Kendal Management was invited to submit a proposal to provide third party management services to an extensive family-held portfolio (several other companies were also invited to make proposals). Over the course of sixty years the patriarch had accumulated, using a disciplined investment approach, an impressive array of small, low maintenance buildings. The owner had always managed the buildings himself. There was not a single mortgage or encumbrance of any kind on any of the properties – a true testament to the owner’s business acumen.

However, even with advancing age he did not take anyone into his confidence. On his passing, the properties went to his son and daughter, both in their late 40’s. The siblings were not close to their father or to each other. Neither one had ever worked in the family business. Both had had successful high-profile careers, but both had fallen on hard times.

The only point of agreement between the siblings was that neither wanted the other to have control over the family affairs.

Actions Taken

  • Laurence Weizel met separately with each sibling and their advisors to try to discern their short and long term goals
  • Laurence obtained a list of all properties and then inspected each one
  • Several superintendents expressed their concerns about the future of the company and the perceived lack of direction from the head office
  • Kendal Management prepared a report on the condition of each building, as well as an assessment of the overall portfolio and key on-site personnel
  • Kendal devised a framework for the continuation of the company, one that would provide for the needs of each owner without overburdening the properties and without lowering the quality of the upkeep and maintenance
  • By all accounts, the report was well received by each owner

Results

  • The siblings were unable to reach an agreement on any significant issues
  • No one was hired to run the portfolio
  • Within a year of Mr. Weizel’s initial report to the owners the two largest buildings in the portfolio had been put up for sale
  • It is Mr. Weizel’s understanding that the siblings had “gutted” the properties in order to maintain their own lifestyles and that the decision to sell the buildings had been made for the owners by various personal creditors
  • An impressive collection of properties than had taken almost sixty years to put together was starting to be taken apart less than two years after the death of the founder
  • Another “Canadian Dream” had failed to beat the odds

If the siblings would have engaged Kendal Management to help with this transition or manage the properties, they would have still been receiving a regular income from the properties plus benefiting from the increases in property values in the Toronto market.