An article written by our Chairman - David Clark
The growing influence of build to rent on the residential property management industry cannot be overstressed. The impact of tech-led, real time, customer feedback and genuine community engagement is pushing managers to come up with new and exciting delivery models that put the customer at the front and centre of their activities. And this is not only in terms of communications and transparency but now in genuine placemaking roles, creating activities and events that add a further dimension to the environment.
Despite significant reforms making their way into the leasehold sector, managing agents still retain the important role that should see them acting not only as guardian of the asset and overseer of compliance and risk, but as the genuine glue that brings people together and requires a collective buy in. That must be a good thing for both customers, who have long been deserving of better, and property managers, whose role now incorporates the very important function of bringing communities together and really listening.
A wide mix of tenures, from leasehold, shared ownership, market rented and social or fair rented, the manager increasingly juggles a huge range of differing expectations. Can these be brought together with strong community and partnership values? I think they can and I think the best site based teams are already demonstrating coherent strategies to run complex mixed schemes and raise the inherent value of life on those properties. I am, of course, talking about larger regeneration schemes – but there is no doubt that changes at this level have always trickled down to smaller developments eventually.
We must see our role as more akin to running an excellent hotel. All of the gritty hard and soft Facilities Management activity continues in the background and for customers this as a given – so long as it represents fair value. It is the added value front of house roles that offer important differentiators. They are changing the industry and driving interest in successful schemes.
The future is likely to see us dealing with an even wider range of tenure types but our management will be valued through branded living destinations, with the very best creating a loyalty and positive feedback that reduces voids, has longer tenancies and creates real customer loyalty.