Whether you are a property investor, a house builder, resident management company, right to manage company or a residents’ association, property management has never been more important.
As more and more people choose to rent or buy leasehold, their expectations of the service they receive are getting higher – and rightly so. There are plenty of new technologies around to help with this, but someone needs to know how to use them. And day-to-day considerations such as health and safety are also at the front of people’s minds. A good property manager will deal with all of this and more, taking much of the stress out of running an apartment building. But what should you look out for when it comes to choosing yours?
A good track record
Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (KFH) was founded as a property management specialist in 1977, and today it manages 16,000 flats, or around 130 blocks within London. This covers buildings from three storeys to 42, and from properties where the only common area is a staircase to complexes with swimming pools, cinemas and residents’ lounges. We haven’t acquired any other companies – a rarity in the highly competitive property management industry – so that growth has come solely from client recommendations. For example, we started managing our first building on Wapping High Street ten years ago, and now we have the largest market share in that area as well as managing a one-mile stretch on the South Bank opposite. Most of that is down to property owners telling their neighbours about us.
Block management technology has really come on in the last few years, and is helping our staff to do their jobs more efficiently. We use an app to track property inspections, which is bespoke to each building so it knows all the areas that must be checked. Property managers can record information and add photographs, and a tailor-made report is produced for the client. Residents can pay service charges, view tenancy documents and receive communications from us online and direct to their email, for example if we need to let them know when their windows are being cleaned. Technology is also helping to streamline processes in important areas such as health and safety. Whereas property owners would traditionally receive separate reports for a fire risk assessment, an electrical assessment and so forth, today that is all consolidated online so everything is trackable. The property managers are also reminded in advance when reports are due. Records of meetings are kept online, and both KFH and the property owners receive alerts when a new document is added, with a 24/7 availability on all management matters.
A personal approach
The property management industry is fast-moving. That is why at KFH we pride ourselves on having property managers who really get to know our portfolio and forge long-standing relationships with our clients. Many of our clients are looking for a medium-sized, privately-owned management company, with longevity, so that they get this kind of personalised approach. All of our agents are either IRPM or RICS accredited, and many have degrees in estate management. This quality is also reflected in our back-office team which is why we invite prospective clients to come and see what goes on behind the scenes too.
If you would like to discuss how we could work with you, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Benson is Managing Director, Block and Portfolio Management at Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward