Landlords pivot to capitalize on changing demands of Ottawa-area tenants


A growing population, rapidly rising home prices and shifting demographics are radically reshaping the rental market in Ottawa and eastern Ontario – opening up new opportunities for property owners who can cater to this new cohort of tenants.

Several studies have shown home ownership rates slipping among young people who are struggling to enter a hot real estate market in the face of rising interest rates and stricter mortgage rules.

At the other end of the spectrum, many Baby Boomers are looking to downsize and are no longer interested in the headaches that often come with home maintenance.

But in both cases, much of the current stock of rental housing is ill-suited to meet the demands of these growing pools of tenants, particularly in highgrowth secondary markets outside central Ottawa.

"There’s a trend to more high-end rentals in Ottawa and in outlying communities like Kanata, Richmond, Stittsville, Pembroke, and Kemptville."

Savvy investors are quickly appreciating this dynamic and are moving in to meet the demand.

“There’s a trend to more high-end rentals in Ottawa and in outlying communities like Kanata, Richmond, Stittsville, Pembroke, and Kemptville,” says Conrad Pool, the president of Sleepwell Property Management. “Renting has become a desirable and deliberate lifestyle and economic choice for many people.”

Higher expectations  

As one of the largest third-party property managers in the region, Sleepwell is helping real estate developers and investors tap into this new, affluent pool of tenants while maximizing returns for property owners.

In recent years, Sleepwell has expanded its portfolio to include more properties in the rapidly growing communities on Ottawa’s outskirts as residents look for opportunities to move into more spacious properties at reasonable prices. Many of these neighbourhoods have traditionally lacked high-quality rental properties, creating new opportunities to upgrade the existing stock as well as build new purpose-built communities geared towards this new wave of tenants.

Richmond property
Samara Square, Richmond, ON

In Richmond, for example, Sleepwell was tasked with marketing a newly constructed 35- unit senior’s lifestyle development.

The project, Samara Square, illustrates the changing demands of tenants. With the region’s purpose-built rental stock rapidly aging, Sleepwell is able to assist builders and investors to position their properties to capture the growing demand from tenants who are willing to pay more for well-maintained homes with premium finishes.

With its large portfolio of managed properties, Pool says he’s seen this shift in tenant preferences first-hand and has been able to advise landlords on how to capitalize on the opportunity.

“What we have been seeing is landlords investing more into appliances and services for their tenants, who have come to expect a higher standard of living,” says Pool. “So there may be higher up-front costs for the landlords, but on the flip side, they’re getting a lot more rent.”

For a full list of services that Sleepwell offers property owners, and what neighbourhoods they reach, visit them at