News

17th December 2018
Leasehold Solutions mourns the death of founder Alex Greenslade
Leasehold Solutions mourns the death of founder Alex Greenslade

Leasehold Solutions is mourning the death of Alex Greenslade, who founded the project management company with his sister, Anna Bailey, in 2002.

Alex, 51, died suddenly at home on 12 December.

 

In the late 1990s, Alex was the owner of a leasehold flat with a relatively short lease. His landlord offered an extension, but with unfavourable terms. Not wanting to be bound to an unsatisfactory lease, Alex instead managed the freehold acquisition of his building on behalf of his neighbours.

Reflecting on how difficult the process was, Alex noticed a gap in the market and set up the first specialist leasehold enfranchisement project management company, working solely on behalf of leaseholders.

Alex was joined at Leasehold Solutions by his sister, Anna Bailey, and under their leadership, the company went from strength to strength. In 2007 Alex and Anna – in an effort to stop those ‘dabbling’ in the sector - went on to launch the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP). Following the success of Leasehold Solutions, Leasehold Valuers was established in 2013 and Leasehold Law in 2014. 

Louie Burns, Managing Director of the Leasehold Solutions group of companies, said: “Alex was a remarkable person who devoted his career to helping to improve the lives of leaseholders across the country. Thanks to his foresight and vision, Leasehold Solutions was born and has gone on to support thousands of leaseholders over the past 16 years.

“Alex's exceptional contribution to our companies, our sector, the wider property industry and our community cannot be overstated, and he will be gravely missed by all those who knew him. Our hearts are with Alex's family and loved ones at this tragic and difficult time.” 

A memorial service will be held in the New Year.

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14th December 2018
With great sadness we announce the death of ALEP co-founder Alex Greenslade.
With great sadness we announce the death of ALEP co-founder Alex Greenslade.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of ALEP co-founder and Director, Alex Greenslade.

Alex, 51, who founded the professional membership association with his sister, Anna Bailey, died suddenly at home on 12 December.

Alex had worked with leaseholders since 1998 and was also co-founder and Chairman of the Leasehold Group of companies. Alex was a regular in the NOTB Hot 100 and was presented with the ERMAs Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017.

Clare Grove is ALEP’s spokesperson.  “Alex was a professional, a stickler for detail, a mighty intellect and a stalwart of the enfranchisement sector.  Together with Anna, he founded our association with the aim of bringing together those with expertise in this niche field, to tackle the behaviour of those he always called the ‘dabblers’ and to provide a badge of assurance to both leaseholders and freeholders.  He will be much missed by all who had the pleasure of working with him over the years. Our thoughts are with Anna and Alex’s family at this time.”

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11th December 2018
Google Assistant Investments Program invests in UKs leading AI PM Platform, AskPorter
Google Assistant Investments Program invests in UKs leading AI PM Platform, AskPorter

Today, AskPorter has announced an investment from the Google Assistant Investments Program for the AI driven property management platform.

 At its heart sits ‘Porter,’ a digital artificial intelligence assistant for agents, property managers, and landlords that eliminates mundane tasks & delivers fast, efficient customer service.

 From one single platform, property & facilities managers, and landlords, can automate their workflows with AskPorter which over time learns and improves how they work in a completely customisable way. For tenants & occupants, Porter provides a 24/7 response accessible by text, voice & more providing them with a personal concierge.

 As part of the investment, AskPorter will have access to support and resources from Google’s technical, product, and business development teams. 

 Tom Shrive, Founder & CEO of AskPorter said: “We’re delighted to have been selected as the Google Assistant Investment Program’s first international investment. This is a very positive reflection on our product, our opportunity and our team. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to work with the experts at Google to improve the AI & machine learning technology that powers Porter.  We will be using the funds to attract more world-class talent into our team and build out product in preparation for our Series A early next year, for which we are seeing strong interest from investors.”

 AskPorter also today announces the launch of its ‘Porter Pioneers’ programme, a by application group of fifteen property agencies & institutional landlords across Residential, Commercial & other specialist property sectors.

Lasting for six months beginning January 2019, the AskPorter technical & property team will work closely with these agencies & property managers and landlords in automating their unique workflows & challenges, covering anything & everything involved with world class asset management: from qualifying potential leads & issuing bespoke AST’s, to collecting service charge payments, reconciling invoices & dealing with no heating.  

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10th December 2018
ALEP welcomes Law Commissions commonhold reform consultation
ALEP welcomes Law Commissions commonhold reform consultation

The Law Commission has today published its eagerly awaited Consultation Paper on commonhold reform. Titled ‘Reinvigorating commonhold: the alternative to leasehold ownership’ the consultation is now open until 10th March 2019. 

The government’s recent consultation 'Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market' raised many questions concerning the future of leasehold as a form of residential land tenure in the 21st Century. It also indicated that Commonhold should be reviewed as an alternative to the residential leasehold system. Commonhold has been on the statute books since 2004, when the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 came into force.   

The Consultation Paper published today details proposals to make commonhold work for homeowners, developers, mortgage lenders and across the wider property sector. Key proposals include ways in which to:  

  • Make it simpler for existing leaseholders to convert to commonhold and gain greater control over their properties. 
  • Enable commonhold to be used for larger, mixed-use developments which accommodate not only residential properties but also commercial and leisure facilities.  
  • Permit shared ownership leases and other forms of affordable housing to be included within commonhold. 

Last February, on the day the Law Commission published its Call for Evidence on Commonhold, ALEP held is first Lecture to debate the subject. The Lecture saw more than 150 professionals attend to learn more about and discuss Commonhold.  

Mark Chick, ALEP Director and Committee member, said: “ALEP welcomes the latest round of consultations concerning Commonhold. The topic was widely debated by our members earlier this year and commonhold reform is crucial not only to the leasehold sector, but the wider property sector and will have implications for us all. 

"This is a consultation not to be missed and ALEP encourages all members to respond by the deadline in March 2019.”  

For more information on the consultation please visit https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/commonhold/#commonhold-consultation  

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3rd December 2018
Principle appointed to look after exclusive retirement village
Principle appointed to look after exclusive retirement village

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to look after an exclusive retirement village set in the West Midlands countryside.

Albany Meadows Ltd has appointed Principle to manage Albany Meadows on Albany Lane in Balsall Common, a much sought-after rural location between Solihull and Coventry.

Albany Meadows is an over-55 retirement development made up of 23 two-bedroomed apartments, 12 two-bedroomed bungalows and four three-bedroomed houses.

The homes are set in attractive landscaping to create a spacious, tranquil village environment, with a residents’ lounge and central village green providing communal spaces.

Mike Leto, project director for Amber Infrastructure – the long-term investors in Albany Meadows – said: “We will continue to be active stakeholders in Albany Meadows and therefore it was vital to appoint a customer-focused managing agent with the professional capability to manage such a prestigious scheme.

“Getting Principle involved at the earliest possible stage allowed them to provide valuable input, highlighting long-term management issues and providing solutions at the outset.

“The scheme was built to the highest standards but we also needed to be mindful that ongoing service charge had to remain affordable and Principle’s experience and input was crucial in this area.

“We will continue to oversee the management of the completed development and feel that Principle will help support us in our objective to maintain high estate management standards at Albany Meadows for many years to come.”

Principle’s lead director on the contract is Joe Jobson, who joined the company earlier this year. He said: “Albany Meadows is going to be a fantastic scheme and one that Principle Estate Management is delighted to be involved in.

“We’re pleased that Amber has shown such faith in Principle, and we’re looking forward to working with owner-residents to make a great success of the development.”

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

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3rd December 2018
Double appointment at newly launched property consultancy
Double appointment at newly launched property consultancy

Weston-super-Mare property consultancy Mcilroy Smith has strengthened its South West team with a double appointment.

The firm will mark its first Christmas by expanding its team to serve a growing number of clients across the South West Region.

Experienced property manager Mark Neighbour joins from one of Bristol’s well-known property companies and will lead on Social Housing and retirement living.

Managing Director Andrew Simmonds said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be announcing these appointments today. It sets a key milestone for us as a business and highlights the ambition we have to become a major player in the local property scene.

“I have known Mark for a few years and always admired his ability to retain a harmonious relationship with all of his clients. He has always been at the top of my list of key appointments to make. Mark has more than five years’ experience in these sectors and will play a vital role as we develop the business.”

Mark is an Associate member of the Institute of Residential Property Managers and a member of both the National Federation of Property Professionals and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

“Crucially for us, he has a background in Residential Lettings, Residential Management, Commercial Management and Social Housing. Mark will not only take the lead on Social Housing and Retirement Living but also support the growing Residential services we are providing.”

Also joining the business will be Andrew’s wife Tracey, who has worked in the public sector for many years, including Local Government. Most recently she has been overseeing and coordinating property developments in the region.

Andrew Simmonds said: “Tracey has a great deal of experience overseeing refurbishment and construction projects, coordinating teams of sub-contractors, handling all aspects of health and safety compliance and liaising between contractor and client.”

Tracey is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and is an affiliate member of the Institute of Residential Property Management. Her role is to work closely with contractors and clients to co-ordinate maintenance matters.

Mcilroy Smith, has opened in Pastures Avenue, St Georges, Weston-super-Mare, alongside the M5 to enable it to service clients throughout the region.

Andrew Simmonds added: “We are aiming to provide a bespoke service that bigger property agencies aren’t able to offer. We have been called in by property owners who need help and support on many aspects of property management, from specific projects to long term portfolio handling.

“We are also working with developers and housing associations to help them get things right from the very start of a project as well as providing general and strategic advice to property owners and landlords.”

Mcilroy Smith is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and can be found at www.mcilroysmith.com or call 0333 050 8550.

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22nd November 2018
ALEPs first roadshow sees property professionals gather for enfranchisement enlightenment
ALEPs first roadshow sees property professionals gather for enfranchisement enlightenment

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) was proud to present a new-look regional event in Manchester on 7 November 2018. 

Presented by ALEP and hosted by law firm, Irwin Mitchell at its city-centre offices in St Peter’s Square, the event brought together more than 60 professionals from Manchester’s property scene including enfranchisement solicitors and valuers, managing agents, portfolio owners and developers.  

The common aim for all who attended was to learn more about forthcoming changes to legislation that will likely affect the leasehold enfranchisement sector over the coming months.  

The half-day session was presented by Jeremy Raj and Chris Baker, both Partners at Irwin Mitchell. The expert panel included:  

  • Leigh Shapiro, Partner at Irwin Mitchell, who provided a succinct and engaging round up on current consultations 
  • Mark Loveday, Barrister at Tanfield Chambers and ALEP Executive Committee Member who presented a recent case update 
  • Mike Tibbatts, Valuer and ALEP Executive Committee Member, who hosted a session on the roles of valuers and solicitors and highlighted the importance of working together as a team  

Leigh Shapiro commented: “The enfranchisement team at Irwin Mitchell were really pleased to be able to work with ALEP to host its first regional conference to take the conversation about leasehold matters outside of London, and particularly to the north of the country where the number of leasehold properties is particularly high. 

“From the feedback we have received, the importance of keeping up to date on both the current law and the radical proposed changes to the leasehold system tops the agenda of many involved in the leasehold sector. This was highlighted both by the number of attendees who joined us and the interest they showed in the presentations and debate which followed. 

“Indeed, the panel session confirmed there is an interesting discussion to be had about the future of the leasehold system, and that changes need to be considered carefully – what may seem like a good idea may have unforeseen consequences for both leaseholders and freeholders.”  

Anna Bailey, Co-Founder and Director of ALEP, said: “We are delighted with the success of this regional event. ALEP continues to be at the forefront of education, debate and discussion and we look forward to holding our next session in Bath in March 2019 and hosted by ALEP member, Royds Withy King..”  

For more information on ALEP and membership, please visit http://www.alep.org.uk/  

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14th November 2018
FirstPort announces senior appointments to Luxury and Build to Rent portfolios
FirstPort announces senior appointments to Luxury and Build to Rent portfolios

FirstPort has made senior appointments in two customer-focused areas of its business to continue to drive forward the highest standards of service for customers and clients.

Heidi Stephenson (LLB MSc) has joined FirstPort as Director of the Luxury portfolio. She brings with her 20 years’ experience in residential Property Management, 15 years of which were spent at one of the UK’s most luxury brands, Harrods. As Associate Director, she was part of the Senior Management Team for Harrods Estates Asset Management/PL Management, looking after some of the most prime, central and luxurious developments.

 Heidi’s experience spans all aspects of property management, new scheme consultancy and scheme mobilisation covering both customer and client engagement. This experience will be invaluable in assisting FirstPort to enhance its luxury offer.

 Speaking about her appointment, Heidi said:

 

“Customers living in a luxury development quite rightly demand a truly luxury service, and I am looking forward to using my experience of dealing with the most prestigious customers to define and deliver an exceptional level of service.  FirstPort is an extremely customer-focused business and I am keen to work with the team to provide our customers with an exemplary and market leading offer.”

 Lucinda Walker has been appointed as Director of Build to Rent, with the aim of providing expert focus to FirstPort’s proposition for both clients and customers in this emerging market.

 Lucinda has over 20 years’ senior operations and project management experience encompassing complex staff management, financial negotiations and strategic oversight, with a strong focus on exceptional customer service. She has delivered facilities and management services at some of the UK’s major sporting events, including the London Olympics 2012, Commonwealth Games 2014, and Wimbledon Championships. She has also held senior positions operationally, financially and strategically for international hotels whilst working for the highly regarded travel company, Mark Warner.

 Speaking about her appointment, Lucinda said:

“My aim is to create a service embedded with the highest and most innovative of standards that will appeal to a wide range of customers, whilst underpinning a financial mode that maximizes the return on investment for our clients. I look forward to using my experience of mobilising and delivering major events to ensure that our Build to Rent operation is slick, efficient and completely focused on the needs of customers as we strive for business excellence.

 “This exciting new market suits FirstPort’s size and capability and gives us the opportunity to work directly with clients from the early stage of planning to provide viable Build to Rent operational delivery. 

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7th November 2018
Hidden maintenance cost of north Somerset homes
Hidden maintenance cost of north Somerset homes

People living in North Somerset apartments with a view of the sea need to ensure landlords or managing agents make proper provision for the cost of damage from wind, sea salt and seagulls, according to Weston-super-Mare property specialists. 

Mcilroy Smith, Weston-super-Mare based boutique property management consultancy say the growing number of apartments in Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead come with a hidden maintenance cost. 

Managing Director Andrew Simmonds, who has 12 years’ experience of property management, said: “There are more and more purpose-built apartment blocks, or converted older buildings along the coast of North Somerset. Having a view of the sea is a fantastic attraction but those in charge of maintenance need to factor extra costs in. 

“Wind damage, taking tiles from roofs and damaging structures is quite common but the long-term effect of salt sea air getting into the stonework can lead to major maintenance problems in time. It is important that developers and those who convert buildings put proper treatment and maintenance regimes in place at the outset. 

“Then there is the menace of seagulls. Gulls regard high buildings as if they are a cliff face and they will come back again and again to next, causing disturbance, picking at refuse and causing more stone erosion through their droppings. 

“So often tenants of apartment blocks find that as part of their lease they have a responsibility for maintenance and either have to pay the landlord or a managing agent a fee. Timely and properly planned maintenance means there is no shock in the bills as time goes by.” 

With much of Portishead developed over a short time frame in the last decade Andrew Simmonds says the problems caused by sea air, wind and seagulls is just being felt by apartment owners and renters. Mcilroy Smith are managing a number of sea-facing blocks and supporting apartment owners through the issue.   

In Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare it is a slightly different situation with many Georgian and Edwardian buildings that were originally constructed for families or as commercial buildings now converted into multiple apartments with a number of different owners or tenants. 

Said Mr Simmonds: “When you have a number of tenants there is always an issue over ensuring that everyone pays their fair share. Someone on a lower floor may feel the roof isn’t really their responsibility when in fact if there is damage water can penetrate and cause problems for all. 

“It is vital that agreements are in place, that everyone understands what their responsibilities are and that buildings are properly managed. Those who live in buildings by the sea can do this themselves or jointly engage someone to run the building for them and take away the hard work.” 

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23rd October 2018
Smallman is latest director to join Principle Estate Management
Smallman is latest director to join Principle Estate Management

Ian Smallman has been named as the third former colleague to join Principle Estate Management in Birmingham.

He joins Principle founder Brett Williams and fellow director Joe Jobson who joined in the summer, and has been appointed as a board level director at the managing agent which opened for business in Spring 2018.

He will focus on the operations side for Principle’s growing client list of residential and mixed use property investors.

All three directors were formerly in the residential estate management division of CPBigwood.

Mr Smallman has specialised in private sector residential service charge management, ground rent collection and portfolio management nationally for nearly 30 years.

Brett Williams said: “Ian is a senior figure in the property management industry and is well known and well respected in the sector.

“I recruited him previously to head our property management operations and I am delighted to be able to do so again. Ian has a wealth of experience and will be a major asset to the business.

“He strengthens our team and will be integral to our future progress.”

His appointment comes as Principle approaches 1,000 units under management in just six months since the firm opened for business.

Mr Williams said: “With the number of instructions already secured in less than six months, we are delighted with the positive feedback we are receiving and our growing pipeline of instructions from clients who want a managing agent they can trust and rely on.

 “Our portfolio now stretches from Blackpool through Bristol to Portsmouth, across to Crawley to Basildon, and up to Peterborough and Manchester. We are also acting for a growing number of properties in London.”

Ian Smallman said: “This is a new challenge in a sector I know very well. It is important for me to be working within an organisation where the core values of integrity, transparency, professionalism, honesty and responsiveness are not just words on a strapline but embraced by all who work with the organisation.

 “I have worked with Brett and Joe previously and I am looking forward to playing my part in driving the business forward.”

Ian Smallman is actively involved in the Institute of Residential Property Managers and sits on the Leasehold Working Group.

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