Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2021
2020 was a year where a walk around the block, be it a high rise or a residential estate, was the highlight of the day, and one thing that has risen from those uncertain times is businesses that are set up to deal with future legislation and regulation are more likely to survive in 2021 and beyond. Group CEO Niall McGann states: “People are starting to understand the type of infrastructure and professional services that will be a requirement from their managing agent in order to manage a building effectively.”
Last year’s relaxation in the UK planning system enabled investors and developers to reposition their assets and create transition in the Permitted Development Rights (PDR) environment such as office to residential conversions. This being an important factor in the growth of home-based working means more properties to manage, good news for agents, but with this uplift comes greater expectations on delivery; our clients want and need more from us.
Chris March, Crabtree’s MD says: “With ever-increasing demands legislation puts on the property management sector, it’s vital that clients choose a managing agent with the right mix of scalable services to keep business compliant. As a group, our in-house teams provide much-needed resources that smaller agents simply cannot, and we foresee a lot of these agents dropping off in the coming months or even years, so it is important to our clients that we maintain this level of expertise to offer them.”
It’s not just about maintenance. Face-to-face matters even more so now that we are able to meet up - albeit with a digital handshake still. It’s about looking after people, being visible, and adapting to the way property managers and clients relate to each other. A combination of providing a personal experience, that aids in providing clarity and transparency around service charges and how funds are handled.
Having the right tech and systems is a wise investment. Residents expect speed and ease, and a resident portal is now essential for both agents and customers. As Niall McGann states: “For us using data for safety and compliance is key, there is regulation coming down the track to have a stronger digital thread of the information behind each building, from how it was constructed to the present day. We will need to be able to lay our hands on the relevant information much more quickly.”
Service is a secret weapon!
This year, customer service has been the most critical factor for the industry’s business growth. It comes with a fresh culture of understanding and flexibility and getting creative with resident engagement to rethink what used to be ‘normal’ social activities. To keep the momentum, we’re ramping up training across the board for every staff member. Property managers need to engage with the residents more than they ever have before. The way Remus is set up with regional offices covering England and Wales means that each area is handled very differently. Central London is very different from Plymouth and so there will be slight deviations to suit.
Value for money
Mike Brown, Bellharbour’s Director of Property Management adds: “Many agents do alright and keep ticking over but nobody goes that extra mile with a truly bespoke, luxury service for the residents. Having spoken to residents, it’s been quite clear that there’s a desire from residents to pay for extra services that would add value to their property.”
In what can only be described as a tumultuous couple of years for the industry our property managers say that they have never felt more valuable in the work that they do. It’s therefore vital that staff welfare and wellbeing remain a business focus across the group, and companies less equipped to cater for this will undoubtedly struggle.