Nina and Len Ross have run a successful property management business in Muskoka for 20 years. They recently changed location and moved their office from Maplebranch Property Management Limited to the west end of Huntsville at 12 Main Street West.
On August 26, 2021, they officially opened their new location with Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano and Parry Sound-Muskoka MLA Scott Aitchison in attendance.
When they started their business, they worked from their home office, but eventually decided that greater visibility would be good for business. They opened an office opposite McDonald’s on King William Street and, indeed, the increased visibility helped their business grow.
Their core business is long-term rental. When COVID hit, people were more hesitant to leave their rental apartments, so there wasn’t as much turnover. Homeowners also started to take advantage of rising property values and started selling. As rental demand increased, rentals themselves declined. That meant it was time to hit the pavement and seek more business, Len said, as their business relies on the ability to rent properties.
“We are lucky to have acquired a lot of new business,” he noted. He said Huntsville is a vibrant and growing community and he is happy that 25 years ago Nina chose this community as the couple’s place to live and work.
Len said many investors are drawn to Huntsville not just as a place to invest, but also as a place to bring their families.
They’re grateful to their customers, but Len also had a warning. “We get paid to raise people’s rent, that’s our business,” he said. “At the same time, we are concerned about our ability to provide rental housing. We lead part of our population away.
With rising rents, affordability has become a factor for many people, especially those earning minimum wage, he said. “And then someone like me comes along and says, ‘Oh, this two-bedroom apartment is going to be $2,000 a month. It may create a crisis, but I don’t think you can blame the investor. In my view, it’s not just the investor’s job to worry about the lack of affordable housing,” he said.
Nina says the problem is urgent. That morning, at 8 a.m., they had received a call from an elderly lady who was desperately looking for accessible accommodation. They felt bad because all the rentals they manage were full. The need is very real, Len said.
Len said it wasn’t platitudes anymore, it was action that was needed. “I see a public-private partnership that not only recognizes the housing problem, but a working partnership that actually builds the apartments and houses needed.” Aitchison and Terziano agreed.
Nina and Len thanked Aitchison and Terziano for their efforts in trying to solve the affordable housing crisis in the community.
Aitchison praised the couple for their success, professionalism and community involvement.
Both Nina and Ross have volunteered for various organizations in the area including church groups, the Peninsula Lake Association, Hospice Huntsville and the Rotary Club of Huntsville.
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