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Aurora Village Co‑operative Incorporated

Good Practices in Avoiding Vacancy Loss

"We’re always looking at how we can do better."

Who We Are

Aurora Village is a 122-unit housing co‑op located in Aurora, Ontario, north of Toronto. The co‑op consists of one and two bedroom apartments, garden homes and townhouses. It was first occupied in 1982.

Our Story

Our co‑op knows that providing good value and good member service is fundamental to keeping units full. We conduct exit interviews whenever anyone leaves the co‑op to find out why they are leaving. Over the past eight years, with mortgage rates low, we noticed that most of the people leaving the co‑op were young families leaving to purchase a home.

Our co‑op has a vacancy rate that is lower than rates for similar rental accommodations in the area. We maintain this by making sure the co‑op has good curb appeal and that the units are freshly painted and repaired, with polished floors, before showing them to prospective members.

We have a number of approaches to finding potential members to fill vacancies. Advertising the units in the community paper has worked well for us. The co‑op also offers a $250 incentive to any member who recommends a person who becomes a member. At the end of 2011, we found ourselves in the unusual position of having four units to fill at one time. We contracted with a real estate agent to list the units on their MLS (multiple listing service) and agreed to pay a $1,000 fee for each unit filled. We managed to fill one of the units that way and the others were filled through our traditional methods.

We have a 24-hour turnaround from the time of application to acceptance. Membership committee members are available to show the units, staff conduct credit and landlord checks immediately, and Board members are telephoned to approve the membership application. While the co‑op is scrupulous about doing credit and landlord checks, any responsible person will be approved for membership. The co‑op has never had to evict a member.

Vacancy Loss Percentage Year by Year

    2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
As a percentage of housing revenue   0.1% 0.1% 0.4% 0.3% 0%

In 2013, the average vacancy rate for similar rental housing in the area was 1.5%.

How Could We Have Done Better?

  • We would like to talk to new members after they move in, and get their ideas on how to improve the process.
  • We surveyed members about their satisfaction with living in the co‑op a few years ago. Now we plan to interview all members about what they like and don’t like about the co‑op.

What Others Can Learn from the Aurora Village Story

  • We really try to provide good value and good member service, in order to keep members. We are always trying to find ways to improve service to members. For example, we recently installed Wi-Fi service in our common areas. We also installed some computer workstations and are offering computer training for members.
  • Good maintenance helps keep the co‑op looking attractive and easy to market.
  • We are cautious about who we take in and always look for good credit checks and landlord references.
  • Turnaround time in processing applications is critical to finding new members.


Co‑op name: Aurora Village
Location: Aurora, ON
Program: Section 95
Number of Units: 122
Unit Type: Townhouses and Apartments
Date of Occupancy: 1982
Management Model: Staff