What To Know for Summer Vacation

What To Know for Summer Vacation

Thanks to the pandemic and generous payments from the federal government, Canadians have saved up quite the nest egg.

With the economy starting to rebound, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising vaccines for all by September, and a general optimism among Canadian residents, many people are already booking their summer rentals, far-flung vacations and, of course, backyard pools for a staycation with the kids.  

After a year that saw three million Canadians lose their jobs, and travel and socialization postponed indefinitely, spending plummeted at the same time that government checks increased disposable income, which many Canadians put into their savings accounts.

Now most Canadians are working again, and they have quite a bit of cash in their pockets. According to Reuters, The Bank of Canada estimates that Canadians have cumulatively saved up to $180 billion CAD.

As a result, rentals for summer vacations have become a hot commodity, in both Canada and the U.S. People have been pent up inside their homes for too long, and they’re ready to get out.

If you’re one of the many people looking for rentals for the summer, here’s a few suggestions to help you find what you’re looking for at a decent price.

Don’t Wait Any Longer

Start right now!

Summer rentals across North America are already booked out months ahead of time. Many rental sites and popular destinations are already seeing record numbers of reservations and fewer cancellations.

According to The New York Times, rentals are booming across the U.S. Toward the end of March, about 90 percent of vacation homes posted on Vrbo for Jersey Shore and Cape Cod were already booked for July. That’s a stark contrast from 2019, when 30 percent of those homes were still accepting rental bookings in March.

The article reported the same trend for the rental site Homes & Villas by Marriott International, where the booking lead time for summer stays reached 147 days this year. It was just 34 days last year.

The point is: Start looking now. Everyone else already is.

Prepare to Pay More

Yes, you can expect to pay more than almost any year in the past.

The competition is fierce, driven not only by the widespread desire to get out in the sun, but also by those who own more than one home. Many second-home buyers want to use their weekend houses, and have more time to stay because of the rise of remote work.

So there’s not just more competition, but also fewer available properties for renting. It’s not just big homes, either. All kinds of properties, from three-bedroom houses to studios and one-bedroom apartments, are already hot commodities for summer vacation.

Booking prices have risen as a result, a trend that will likely accelerate as we get closer to summer. According to Transparent, a vacation-rentals data company, the national average nightly rate for Airbnb rentals for July and August 2021 is around $220. That’s an increase from last year’s $194 and $185 in 2019.

Longer stays are the new normal

Last year saw an increase in longer stays at rentals in popular destinations, and that trend is expected to continue in 2021.

That could be month-long stays or multiple weekends booked back-to-back. It’s part of an emerging trend called “slow travel,” where travelers spend more time away from home, on average, than before the pandemic.

Final Thoughts

Everything about travel is more complicated right now, and no single article, including this one, can cover it all. 

Flights are more competitive, too. Traveling outside the country means learning and dealing with the various requirements for COVID-19 tests and quarantine that each country decides on their own.

There’s also a shortage of rental cars, and shifting recommendations from health care experts. This Forbes article has some great info on these aspects of travel.

Whatever you choose to do for the summer, remember to stay safe and smart!

Need for housing safety rises with COVID cases

Despite aggressive restrictions mandated by Toronto for more than 12 months now, recent news about the spread of COVID-19 suggests the need for a renewed focus on safety. 

As of April 5, Ontario health officials were reporting 6,000 new COVID-19 infections over the weekend, with ICU admissions reaching a record high. Government officials said that about 494 patients were receiving treatment for COVID-related illness in intensive care units. 

At the same time, the City of Toronto is postponing plans to clear homeless encampments in parks following an outbreak at a hotel being used for sheltering residents without homes. 

What these news stories make clear is the need for ongoing leadership among Toronto and Ontario businesses to ensure the safest possible environments for residents. 

At Alto Properties, we take that responsibility seriously — and we can prove it. 

Our multi-unit residential building at 859 Kennedy Road was recently evaluated by the city’s RentSafeTO program. The program, initially passed in 2017, is a “bylaw enforcement program that ensures apartment building owners comply with building maintenance standards,” according to the City of Toronto website. 

The program evaluates the safety and adherence to COVID-19 safety measures of apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units. RentSafeTO operates with a multi-tiered metric based on the building’s rating from the evaluation. 

Our building, 859 Kennedy Road, scored an 87 percent in a report released this January, placing it in the best possible category. Any score between 86 and 100 percent means the building doesn’t need a re-evaluation for three years. 

The evaluations include many categories for health and safety, upholding the highest apartment building standards. City inspectors look at a building’s elevators, security, water issues, guardrails, maintenance of garbage, cleanliness of floors and ceilings, exterior walkways, the presence of graffiti, and many others. Each category receives a score between 1 and 5. 

In the evaluation for Alto Properties’ 859 Kennedy Road, the building did not receive a score lower than 4 in a single category. 

Never before has the safety of residents been more important, and Alto Properties is committed to offering apartments with the highest standards of safety and hygiene. It’s exhausting enough worrying about your safety when you’re out in the world — we don’t think you should have to worry about it at home, too. 

Although RentSafeTO has existed for several years, the City of Toronto has already updated the program to reflect the needs of the pandemic, with a unanimous decision to expand safety measures. 

The new and improved safety measures will reduce the spread of COVID-19 by asking apartment building owners and operators to take additional steps to protect their residents. 

They include “providing hand sanitizer in common areas, keeping non-essential common areas closed as specified by provincial orders, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, and posting Toronto Public Health signage,” according to the City of Toronto website. 

Under the new measures, landlords of apartment buildings must:

  • Post all new information about fire code violations or pest management activities to their buildings’ tenant notification boards.
  • Give notice of RentSafeTO visits on notification boards at least 30 days prior to building audits with appropriate contact information for staff.
  • Post information on the tenant notification board about air-conditioned spaces in the building to include information about other places on the property that offer relief from uncomfortably warm indoor temperatures.
  • Develop and maintain a capital plan for each rental building that includes a comprehensive five-year forecast extending beyond major capital repairs.

For new and existing residents, these higher standards of safety do not currently apply to condos, townhomes or housing in private residences. If you encounter issues in that type of housing situation, you will have to contact the City of Toronto, which also asks that you first consult with your landlord.