Landlord making it easier for newcomers to rent a home in Calgary by waiving security deposits and credit checks
Riaz Mamdani arrived in Calgary as a Ugandan refugee in the 70s, eventually becoming a highly successful businessman making millions of dollars as a commercial real estate landlord.
Now, he wants to give back to newcomers choosing to call the city home.
“Welcoming newcomers to Canada is critical for our social and economic future,” the Strategic Group CEO says.
The Calgary-based real estate company has more than 2,000 residential apartments across Canada, with at least 1,300 of those located in Calgary.
Removing barriers for newcomers
Mamdani says the company is waiving security deposits and credit checks for all newcomers who rent from Strategic Group as a way to remove potential barriers for those trying to start their lives over in a new country.
“I think anything we can do for newcomers that eliminate[s] barriers to make things easier and less stressful is important,” Mamdani says, adding making their journey easier is a win-win for everyone involved.
“They’re going through an incredibly difficult transition into a new country with perhaps a new language or culture that they’re not entirely familiar with.”
Giving back after his own transition
Mandani credits the success of his family’s transition to having friends, family, and strangers who did what they could to empower them as they took their first steps as newcomers to this country.
That passion was sparked even more after a recent experience with a couple from Ukraine who tried to rent a downtown apartment but was unprepared to pay a security deposit, which is standard practice.
“When I learned about this situation, it caused me to reflect on my own values,” he says, adding that while it comes with a financial risk, it’s one worth taking.
“I appreciate that a security deposit or credit check can be unexpected barriers for a newcomer looking to rent a new home. It is more important to me that people who choose to live in our community are given that opportunity with as few barriers as possible.”
He hopes many newcomers take advantage of the initiative.
“I think that the more people that take us up on it, the more useful this initiative will be. I hope as many people that can possibly use it take advantage of it. We don’t have a limit that we’ve put on this initiative,” he says.
“Now, we are doing our part and I encourage other organizations to (take) similar actions.”
The new policy applies to newcomers who have arrived in Canada within a year of an application for an apartment.
Those interested can simply reach out to the company during their search to rent a home.