News

26th March 2020
Property Industry Unites to 'do some good' for the NHS
Property Industry Unites to 'do some good' for the NHS

Property professionals from Greystar, SAY Consulting, deverellsmith, and Be Original have joined forces to create a central register where the real estate industry can pledge support to the NHS and healthcare workers to help these real-life superheroes fight Covid-19.

The initiative repurposes the Do Some Good platform, which launched earlier in the year when MIPIM 2020 was cancelled to encourage delegates to use the extra time from not attending the event for charitable endeavours. The website will now act as a one-stop shop for businesses to offer space, supplies, manpower and other resources that will help the NHS to tackle the outbreak.

The property industry and its supply chain can sign up and offer help through Do Some Good in three main ways:

  • Providing space, such as temporary beds for workers or car parking
  • Sourcing medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment
  • Offering operational support, such as logistics or facilities management

The Do Some Good team will consolidate the industry’s efforts to make the allocation of resources more efficient and is also interested in hearing from volunteers.

Adina David, founder of Ladies in Real Estate and director of Flexible Housing at Greystar, said: “Now more than ever the real estate industry must come together as a community to support the NHS. Real estate is a people-focused industry. It is vital to take care and give back to our heroes in the NHS and healthcare industry, who are working valiantly to look after us during this time. We must do our part as individuals and as an industry to ensure that healthcare workers on the frontline have the support required.”

Debra Yudolph, partner, SAY Consulting said: “I am delighted that the Do Some Good platform has been repurposed as a central register to enable the real estate industry to unite its efforts to suppose those in need at this time of unprecedented crisis. Today, we are focusing on the National Health Service, but as the situation changes we will find more ways to offer support and resources through Do Some Good with the assistance of the industry”

Andrew Deverell-Smith, founder and CEO, deverellsmith said: “The Real Estate industry has always had people at its heart - now is the time to make sure that the people on the frontline have the right resources and supplies to truly make a difference. Offering operational support, storage facilities and equipment where possible will play a crucial role in alleviating pressures on the NHS.”

Kyle McFadden, director of Business Operations, Greystar said: “Healthcare personnel are working tirelessly to care for people affected by Covid-19, but the situation could get worse so we need to do everything we can to support the NHS and cope with the crisis. The real estate industry must help the government and the services we are relying on through this difficult time to ensure that we have the capacity to meet our medical needs when the crisis peaks.”

If you or your organisation is looking to help, Do Some Good is looking to pool offers of assistance with the following:

Space (in support of the UKAA initiative):

  • Space for critical care beds
  • Space/ accommodation for NHS workers to self-isolate in (no individual flats)
  • Car parking spaces
  • Storage Space

Medical Supplies:

  • Medical-grade masks (e.g., n95 masks, existing PPE or 3D printed)
  • Single-use gloves
  • Face shields
  • Respirators
  • Other medical supplies

Operational Support & Other Supplies (For temporary accommodation for NHS workers):

  • Management of residential facilities
  • Management of logistics / storage
  • Furniture procurement
  • Cleaning & procurement of linen
  • Toiletries
  • Cooked Meals
  • • Food donations
  • • Other donations
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27th February 2020
Resident Groups and Industry Call for Government Action on Cladding
Resident Groups and Industry Call for Government Action on Cladding
  • New industry research suggests half a million people could be living in unsafe buildings
  • With government support limited to one specific type of cladding, these residents could be left with excessive bills to make their homes safe
  • Resident groups form an unprecedented coalition with managing agents and building owners to call on the new Chancellor to establish a fund to make these homes safe

Following new evidence that the scale of the cladding crisis may affect up to half a million people, cladding campaigners, residents, property managers and the UK’s largest freeholders have formed an unprecedented coalition to request a multibillion-pound fund to remediate unsafe buildings.

In an open letter to the new Chancellor, the group has called on the Government to step in following failures in the building safety regime that have dated back decades. Without support, leaseholders may be left having to pay the price, which is likely to run into the billions.

The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), which represents the largest property managers in the country, has conducted an analysis of apartment buildings in the UK and found that over half a million people may be living in unsafe buildings that passed building control when they were built. Materials now deemed to be unsafe include High Pressure Laminate (HPL) – which has been found to be at least as flammable as the ACM cladding that was used on Grenfell Tower – but the Government’s existing fund is limited to ACM cladding.

The freeholder signatories are coordinating remediation work on buildings with ACM cladding in every major city in the UK, but the process has revealed numerous additional safety issues and there are concerns that the cost of fixing these problems will fall on to residents unless the Government steps in.

Given the scale of the task, the group is calling for a multibillion-pound, government-backed fund to be established so that these buildings can be made safe as soon as possible.

Nigel Glen, Chief Executive Officer, The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) said:

“The Grenfell tragedy highlighted the dangers of ACM cladding, but it has also revealed a much wider building safety crisis which could affect over half a million people. These buildings are being fixed by building owners and managing agents as quickly as possible but, without Government support, the process could take decades and leave leaseholders with life-changing bills on top of the anxiety that has already been caused.”

Martin Boyd, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership said:

“Nearly 1,000 days after the Grenfell tragedy there is a huge amount of worry among leaseholders that the problems are getting worse, not better. The government must help find solutions rather than just telling everyone these are complex problems.”

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27th February 2020
Bishop & Sewell, Announces Two New Appointments to its Management Board
Bishop & Sewell, Announces Two New Appointments to its Management Board

Central London law firm, Bishop & Sewell, is pleased to announce two new appointments to its management board.

Mark Chick (pictured, left) takes over as Senior Partner and Michael Kashis is appointed as Managing Partner for Strategy and Implementation.

Founding Partner, Stephen Bishop, commented as follows: "We are delighted to announce these two board appointments, which are a key part of the delivery of our vision for Bishop & Sewell for 2020 and beyond. Michael has exceptional skills in the management arena and Mark has a comprehensive knowledge of the firm, having been key to its growth over the last ten years."

Michael Kashis joined Bishop & Sewell in 2014 as the Head of Corporate; he became a Partner in 2016 and an Equity Member in 2017. In the 14 years prior to joining Bishop & Sewell, he worked for international and multinational firms and institutions including one magic circle firm, one silver circle firm, the number one (for nine consecutive years) Global Mining Law Firm of the Year. Michael has also worked for the European Commission.

Originally specialising property litigation, Mark Chick joined Bishop & Sewell in 2001. He is now recognised as a leading UK authority in Leasehold Reform and heads the firm’s practice group in this area.

Mark has been a member of the partnership at Bishop & Sewell since 2006 and a member of its senior management team since 2011. In addition, he is a director and a founder committee member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) and regularly writes and speaks on leasehold issues.

Over the past ten years, Mark has developed Bishop & Sewell’s Landlord & Tenant practice to become one of the largest specialist teams in the UK. Under his direction, the department has flourished, and he now leads a growing team of highly experienced, specialist solicitors and property experts.

Mark Chick commented: “I am delighted to have the privilege of leading Bishop & Sewell as we move forward into our next phase of growth.

As a business, Bishop & Sewell has unique skills and attributes which have been developed over the years. The firm celebrated its 40-year milestone last year and we now have reached a hugely exciting point in our journey. I am honoured to be able to lead us into this next phase of our development and see Bishop & Sewell forge ahead as a leading Central London Law Firm.”

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27th February 2020
FirstPort Creates New Director Role for Build to Rent Division
FirstPort Creates New Director Role for Build to Rent Division

FirstPort, the residential property manager, has appointed Lee Richards as Director - Build to Rent. Lee joined FirstPort in July 2018 as Head of Property Standards and takes up his new appointment immediately.

Managing properties that investors are building specifically to rent (BTR) is emerging as the sector’s fastest growing commercial opportunity in 2020.

Prior to joining FirstPort Lee was Managing Director of a national property lettings business, managing large portfolios for clients such as the Ministry of Defence and Serco.

“There are currently some 40,000 occupiers of homes that were specifically built to rent in the UK,” comments Martin King, Director of Business Development, FirstPort Limited. “But there are another 100,000 currently under construction or in the planning pipeline. Lee’s appointment is part of our strategy to be the property manager of choice for these large scale institutional investments.”

Lee Richards, added: “There are numerous well documented barriers to new property ownership currently in the UK. Low mortgage multiples available for average earners, deposit sizes required, and rising property prices have all contributed to the rise in the age of first-time buyers to 33 in the UK, and 37 in London. 

“The demand for good quality rental property has never been greater as the private rental sector  expands to accommodate changing trends, with BTR being at the forefront of this growth.”


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27th February 2020
The Case of the Missing Freeholder - Annual ALEP Lecture to Consider Absentee Landlords
The Case of the Missing Freeholder - Annual ALEP Lecture to Consider Absentee Landlords

Freeholders going AWOL will be the subject of the next annual Lecture delivered by the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP).

 The Lecture is aimed at both surveyors and solicitors looking to get an insight into the issue of absentee landlords, and will take place on Thursday 5 March, at 30 Euston Square

 Cases with missing landlords can be disruptive for all parties involved in leasehold enfranchisement, and ALEP’s Lecture tackles this issue and aims to arm professionals with the practical advice they need should they encounter such a situation.

 John Midgley, ALEP Director and head of enfranchisement at Seddons, said: 

“Absent landlords raise numerous questions in practice and deciding on the correct course of action requires skill and insight. The Lecture will draw together relevant themes and points to consider assisting both solicitors and surveyors in developing a toolkit to deal with them.

Furthermore, the Lecture will include a review of current legislation, the role a valuer plays in these instances and advice on what to do when a missing landlord is a company, not an individual. 

We’re also delighted to have barrister, Nicola Muir, presenting an update on the latest from the Law Commission on their recommendations for reform.

In true ALEP style, the Lecture promises to be advice-led, insightful and practical for delegates.”

Indeed, a major part of ALEP’s work is education and discussion and this will be front and centre at the upcoming Lecture. Piers Harrison of Tanfield Chambers will chair what promises to be a lively open debate, presenting a fantastic opportunity for delegates to tackle the sector’s major talking points, such as valuation, and how any possible reform might be implemented, as well as its impact on the future of enfranchisement.

Following a networking lunch, the afternoon lecture starts at 1.30pm. Hosted by Damian Greenish, confirmed speakers include:

  • Sir Peter Bottomley, MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Leasehold Reform
  • Anna Favre, Cripps Pemberton Greenish
  • Mark Loveday, Nicola Muir and Piers Harrison, Tanfield Chambers
  • Henrietta Hammonds, Beckett and Kay
  • Mark Chick, Bishop & Sewell and ALEP

Please click here for more information.

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10th February 2020
ARMA ACE Awards - Bigger and even better than before!
ARMA ACE Awards - Bigger and even better than before!

ARMA (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) has today (10th February 2020) launched the fourth annual ARMA ACE Awards - WITH FOUR NEW CATEGORIES.

The Awards celebrate excellence and exceptional achievement by the UK's leading residential managing agents, their suppliers and the work of their people in improving the lives of over a million leaseholders across the country.

They are free to enter and are open to ARMA Members, Associates and Partners. There is also a category for external suppliers - firms who supply excellent products and services to ARMA Members.

ARMA recognises that the sector is all about people and has introduced several categories not covered elsewhere – there really is something for everyone! The new categories are People Manager of the Year, Best Leaseholder Engagement Project, Excellent Health & Safety Management and Insurance Broker of the Year.

The Awards Dinner will be held on Friday 26th June at a new venue - the fabulous riverside surroundings of Old Billingsgate, on the River Thames with unrivalled views of Tower Bridge, City Hall, The Shard and London Bridge.

Entries are now open at www.awards.arma.org.uk and close on 17th April. ARMA’s charity partner for the year is CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably): www.thecalmzone.net

New for 2020, the Awards have been accredited to the Gold Awards Trust Mark, the highest standard of awards accreditation. The Awards Trust Mark scheme is a not-for-profit accreditation programme run by The Independent Awards Standards Council with the goal of enhancing trust between those entering awards schemes, and the organisations running them https://awardstrustmark.org

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20th November 2019
Principle wins contract to manage old silk warehouse in central London
Principle wins contract to manage old silk warehouse in central London

A former warehouse for exotic silks and textiles that’s now used as a restaurant and wine bar with 14 apartments above is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The Tapestry Building at 16 New Street, opposite Liverpool Street Station in London, was formerly known as the Old Bengal Warehouse, and dates back to the 18 th century.

The property is part of the landmark Devonshire Square development, a collection of historic buildings that now forms a popular social, trading and residential development.

The high-profile new contract has come from Simarc Property Management Ltd, the expanding management arm of the Wallace Group, which now owns 106,000 leasehold properties.

Simarc has already appointed Principle Estate Management to manage multiple developments, including hundreds of flats in London, the West Midlands and south England.

The new contract comes after unhappy residents requested new management for the building.

Natalie Chambers, director at Simarc, said: “We wanted an independent agent with flexibility and wide a ranging skillset to look after buildings like this for us and our leaseholders.

“Due to the circumstances, this one is moving at very short notice and we know that Principle will be able to get mobilised quickly, making contact with all relevant parties.

“We know from our existing relationship with Principle that they take their role seriously and will get quality resolution to issues quickly and efficiently.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “This is a special building which has a complicated management structure and we were appointed because of our experience in high value, mixed tenure and mixed use buildings.

“I met with a residents’ working group prior to appointment and we are already dealing with a number of inherited issues which require resolution via detailed liaison between residents, the freeholder and their agent.

“Taking over historical buildings is becoming a bit of a theme for us, as they need special attention and an individual approach.

“I became a surveyor because I loved buildings from an early age, and while most of my work is actually dealing with people rather than buildings, there are some that make you feel proud to be associated with and The Tapestry Building is certainly one of them.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in 2018 by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham, and a past-chairman of ARMA.

It is now the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management business 18 months after its launch, with well over 150 developments across the country.

Principle is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

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31st October 2019
Colchester Property Management Company gains government certification to protect client data
Colchester Property Management Company gains government certification to protect client data
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30th October 2019
EV charge points: commonhold is not the answer, says leading provider
EV charge points: commonhold is not the answer, says leading provider

If flat owners want to install EV charge points in their blocks, they face an array of problems. These include restrictions on development or modifications within building leases, who pays for charge point installation, and how costs should be allocated among residents. But George Freeman MP, Minister of State for the Future of Transport has stated in a letter to leading EV charge point provider Future Fuel, that commonhold is the answer to leaseholders’  problems. 

Director Jamie Willsdon disagrees. He approached the Department of Transport last month in the wake of the government’s consultation on proposed changes to the building regulations that aim to give every new residential building with a parking space, an EV charge point. Existing blocks have been excluded from the proposals and Jamie wants to know why. 

Responding to Jamie’s questions, Mr Freeman says “With regard to ensuring leaseholders are not denied the right to install charging infrastructure, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are working to make commonhold more widely used in which, unlike the leasehold system, the individual has absolute ownership over the property. We are also working with industry to ensure guidance is available to allow landlords to understand and have confidence in the installation of charge points at their properties”.

However, Jamie believes the government has “fundamentally misunderstood” the nature of commonhold and its likely impact on the many questions around EV charging raised by leasehold property. The communal areas of commonhold property are still owned by a separate entity to the unit owners – known as a ‘commonhold association’ - and as such an individual still needs permission to install EV charging infrastructure, he says. 

Jamie is determined to continue his campaign on behalf of flat owners and will be following up on the Minister’s pledge to ensure that effective guidance around EV installation is made available to landlords.

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29th October 2019
Alex Jones appointed as Regional Manager by FirstPort Property Services
Alex Jones appointed as Regional Manager by FirstPort Property Services

FirstPort the residential property management company has appointed Alex Jones as Regional Manager of London and the Home Counties. She joins the business having spent 21 years at Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants in a variety of related roles.

Managing a portfolio of approximately 150 developments, with a team of ten Property Managers, the role encompasses the delivery of excellent services to the customer, financial and strategic planning. Regional Managers ensure the success and retention of the company portfolio, communication with FirstPort’s internal and external stakeholders and customers, in particular.

Commenting on her appointment Phil Johns, Director FirstPort Property Services said:

“Supporting the customer is at the heart of everything we do, delivering future strategies and commercial projects whilst managing people and delivering team engagement. Whilst at Whitbread Alex had a mission to make the company the UK’s most loved hospitality company, FirstPort is looking to deliver its own journey to become the UK’s favourite property manager.”

Alex Jones, Regional Manager, FirstPort, said: “FirstPort has a genuine desire to look after its customers and each other. From day one I have experienced passionate people looking to deliver to the highest standards, whilst supporting each other, too. My initial conversations about a possible career at FirstPort were held with a team that has such passion and excitement for the business it was infectious. They understand people and want the best results for the customer, the business and the team. They made me feel so valued from the initial conversations and continue to do so.”

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