Customer Service 2014: A Year End Review

Samantha Richardson,General Manager - Resident Services, Young London

Samantha Richardson, General Manager – Resident Services, Young London

In November 2013 the International Property Awards crowned Young London as the Best Lettings Agency UK 2013/14. This accolade instilled a lot of pride in the team – who work hard all year round – but it also meant that we entered 2014 with a challenge; to deliver a level of service that lived up to this honour.

To help us measure our success Young London continued to take the unique approach of encouraging our residents and landlords to provide detailed feedback on how the team is performing. This is undertaken at key points during the relationship (check-in, renewal and check-out) where they are contacted by the independent customer service specialists, RealService, and asked to rate our performance in key areas.

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Landlords find ‘going it alone’ stressful

Landlords find 'going it alone' stressful (Image by Firesam!)

Landlords find ‘going it alone’ stressful (Image by Firesam!)

A survey of 759 landlords found that 1 in 4 feel the whole experience of letting and managing their rental property was far more stressful than they had expected. A huge 67% of those questioned stated that they felt that their stress levels were higher than they were 12 months ago.

Unsurprisingly, expat landlords felt that they were under the most stress due the distance between them and their property, hampering their ability to properly manage it.

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Delivering The Largest Private Rented Sector Scheme

Alan Bates, Executive General Manager Lend Lease Construction

Alan Bates, Executive General Manager at  Lend Lease Construction

Since 2007 Lend Lease has been working on the development, design and delivery of the largest residential project in the UK.

The delivery of East Village for phased occupation from November 2013 builds on the success of delivering the best ever Athletes’ Village, that was occupied by up to 17,000 athletes during the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

After having completed all pre-Games works in time for LOCOG to apply the finishing touches we returned to the site, after the excitement of the Games, in November 2012.

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Supporting Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014

Yesterday the Gas Safe Register kicked off their annual ‘Gas Safety Week’, a nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness of gas safety for the UK’s 23 million gas fuelled homes.

Gas Safety Week 2014 will be backed up with national advertising and media coverage as well as various events throughout the week.

The campaign hopes to get across its gas safety message as September is the time when many people will be turning on their boilers for the first time in preparation for winter.

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In Conversation With… Phil Buckle

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

We are regularly in conversation with a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate. The purpose of this feature is to get them to discuss the topics and issues that are currently affecting the Private Rented Sector.

If you would like to take part in an In Conversation piece then please do get in touch with us.

Today we are in conversation with Phil Buckle, Director General at Electrical Safety First.

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Private Rented Sector Properties with Low EPC Rating to be Banned

Move to ban rental properties with low EPCs

Move to ban rental properties with low EPCs

In less than four years landlords will have to have made sure that all of their Private Rented Sector stock has been made energy efficient.

After April 1st 2018, as part of a requirement laid out in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s two consultations on the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations, a landlord will not be allowed to let out their property if it does not have a minimum EPC rating of an ‘E’.

The consultation also refers to April 1st 2016, from this date tenants will be able to request their landlord to carry out reasonable energy efficiency improvements to improve the properties EPC rating. The landlord can not refuse to carry out the necessary works if requested.

The consultation is currently seeking industry input on how to implement these regulations, which are part of the Government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions.

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Number of Amateur Landlords on the Increase

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

According to a new report the level of amateur (part time) landlords, those who use their investment property to supplement their other income, have reached the highest ever levels.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) claims that amateur landlords now make up more than 70% of the Private Rented Sector and that they typically own around four properties.

Due to the current strength of returns seen in the rental market 25% of these amateur landlords are intending to add to their property portfolio with 40% planning to use buy-to-let financing to fund their lettings portfolio.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Delivering A New Way Of Renting At East Village

Stuart Corbyn, Chairman, Get Living London

Stuart Corbyn, Chairman, Get Living London

As the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close it was hard to imagine that it had been nearly two years since the eyes of the world were on a corner of the East End during the London 2012 Games. And, while the spotlight on Stratford may have diminished since the summer of 2012, the level of work and regeneration in the area has only increased.

For us at East Village, the new neighbourhood at the former Athletes’ Village, the progress has been particularly significant. Over the past 18 months, what were beds for athletes have been transformed into new homes for Londoners and in November 2013 we welcomed our very first residents.

While the Olympic sports venues are making their own strides towards their post-Games use, having the first residents living in a brand new neighbourhood next to the Olympic Park is arguably the strongest legacy of the London Games so far.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Does Your Property Management & Accounting System Work For You?

Robert Horsford, Managing Director, CML Software

Robert Horsford,
Managing Director,
CML Software

Businesses within the Private Rented Sector (PRS) face the same fundamental challenge as those in every other sector;  the need to create, maintain and enhance shareholder value. It’s a tough challenge and the fundamentals of success lie in the management of business risk and increasing profits.

Part of the business toolkit is the Management Information System (MIS) and the role of the software provider to the PRS is to design, deploy and support a Property Management & Accounting System (PMAS) which supports management in the achievement of these critical business objectives.

The manager of a PRS portfolio requires an unusual blend of critical requirements for their businesses PMAS. Typically, there are several distinct professions operating within a PRS business, each with differing requirements for system functionality.

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Operating in the Private Rented Sector: An Introduction

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

Young Group’s latest biannual PRSupdate publication will be landing through letterboxes just in time for the Easter weekend.

The theme of this new PRSupdate publication is Operating In The Private Rented Sector; timely, since over the past six months my fellow Young Group Directors and I have seen a noticeable change in discussions about the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

No longer is the conversation dominated solely by talk of acquisition, whether land or existing stock.

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Is the Private Rented Sector finally coming of age?

Geeta Nanda

Geeta Nanda

The push for institutional investment in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has helped bring the barriers down and increase confidence in the market, with a number of players and partners leading the way.

Last month Fizzy Living, the wholly owned subsidiary of Thames Valley Housing (TVH), was successful in raising £200m of capital commitment from Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. This investor will have a significant shareholding in the Fizzy Group and, with TVH as a joint venture partner, grow the Fizzy PRS business and brand. TVH brings the expertise in acquisition and development of new homes and Fizzy brings the management expertise.

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Young London’s tips for a perfect spring clean

Young London’s tips for a perfect spring clean

Young London’s tips for a perfect spring clean

Spring has sprung and that means it is time to get the cleaning equipment out.

The Young London Property Management team have gathered some of the top tips we provide to our residents throughout the year to help them in their obligation to look after their home.

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In Conversation with… Harry Downes

Harry Downes

Harry Downes

There’s a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors who we’re regularly in conversation with, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate – and here we share more about them, their roles, priorities and backgrounds. If you would like to feature in this series, or to suggest someone who might, please get in touch through our contact us page or let us know on twitter.

Why not take a lucky dip into our In Conversation archives and discover:

Today we speak with Harry Downes (Director at FizzyLiving) who will be the ‘Focus Feature’ author in the March PRSupdate newsletter.

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Instructing contractors

How to deal with contractors

How to deal with contractors

Contractors, and any supplier who provides services on your behalf, will be seen as a representative of your company in the eyes of your customers. As such it is very important to make sure that they have been appropriately vetted and fully understand what is expected of them.

When instructing a contractor it is always best that they:

  • Have a clear idea of your company vision, standards and ethos
  • Have clear service-level agreements, turnaround times and a feedback processes
  • Have internal methods for checking quality of the works/services carried out
  • Know the penalties for non-delivery or substandard work
  • Attend regular meetings with you to review the relationship
  • Have established a robust payment procedure

A contractor should be willing to meet the above criteria as, after all, it’s not good business to employ someone who is unable or unwilling to meet the needs and standards of your business.

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The importance of a professional inventory & check-in report

Some landlords feel that the cost of instructing a professional inventory provider, to compile an inventory and check-in report, is not worth the cost. Some feel that they are better off drawing up a list of items in the property themselves and leaving it at that.

It is to these landlords that I urge to rethink as the benefits of having a professional inventory and check-in far outweigh the nominal cost involved.

Inventory

This itemises and details the property (fixtures, fittings, furnishings, etc.) and therefore, the inventory should not change much from tenancy to tenancy, unless the property has been refurbished/re-decorated.

Check-in report

This details the condition of the property, fixtures, fittings and furnishing on the date that a tenancy starts. It will include a schedule of condition that provides the landlord with a general overview of the property i.e. cleanliness, decorative condition etc.
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