News

19th July 2017
Firstport Announces First Acquisition
Firstport Announces First Acquisition

FirstPort is delighted to announce the acquisition of Pentland Estate Management, which was owned by Linden Homes and is their property management provider.  Linden Homes is owned by FTSE 250 construction and housebuilding company Galliford Try and this is the first acquisition since the launch of FirstPort in 2015.

 FirstPort Chief Executive, Nigel Howell said:

“FirstPort is already the largest residential property services manager in the UK, but complacency is not in our DNA – we are 100% committed to reaching our goal of becoming the UK’s leading residential property manager ‘as judged by others’.

 “We have innovative systems and processes in place to achieve this and are progressing well with our employees more engaged than ever and increasingly positive customer feedback being received. As our service and reputation improves, our retention rate strengthens and is currently standing at 97% and despite a stagnant housing market and uncertain economic and political environment, we are seeing record growth as more clients appoint us.

 “So it is exciting times and as part of our growth strategy, we are delighted to be bringing Pentland into the mix and welcoming their 12,000 customers to our business. Our mission is to make life easier for our customers: providing a local, trusted and responsive service for residents that delivers not just bricks and mortar - but a place they love to call home. We are looking forward to ensuring both colleagues and customers are able to enjoy the benefits that working for a company with our scale and scope can bring and ensuring we provide the best possible property management service to even more people across the country”

 Tom Nicholson, Divisional Chairman at Linden Homes continued “Linden Homes and Pentland Estate Management have always been committed to delivering a level of service to our customers that we can be proud of.  We were determined to ensure that any acquiring party would share these core values.  We are therefore delighted that Pentland Estate Management has been acquired by FirstPort and their commitment to continue to provide excellent service to our customers.”

 The companies will now be working closely together to ensure a robust and detailed transition plan is in place to aid as smooth a handover as possible for both companies’ staff, clients and customers. 

Permalink
15th July 2017
UK's Top Managing Agents Recognised
UK's Top Managing Agents Recognised

The winners of ARMA’s (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) inaugural ACE Awards were revealed at a glittering ceremony at Tobacco Dock in London’s east end on Friday 7th July 2017. Attended by more than 450 industry professionals, the Awards were introduced to 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.

The 13 winners were announced following a rigorous adjudicating process by a panel of independent judges. Tobacco Dock provided a stunning backdrop to a fun-packed evening of live music, fine dining and exciting entertainment.

Dr Nigel Glen, ARMA CEO, said: “The winners are a real credit to the industry and I know what a hard job the judges had in deciding who should go home with a trophy from so many outstanding finalists. The winning firms and team members are setting the standard for companies that wish to be recognised for achieving excellence and best practice in their field.”

The young people’s homeless charity, Centrepoint, was ARMA’s charity partner for the evening and a magnificent sum of £2,500 was raised for the cause.

Full list of winners:

  • Smaller Managing Agent of the Year - Plymouth Block Management
  • Medium Managing Agent of the Year - Realty Management
  • Larger Managing Agent of the Year - Rendall & Rittner
  • On-site Staff Member of the Year - Jamie Whalley, Braemar Estates
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Firm of the Year - Rendall & Rittner
  • Service Charge Accountant of the Year - Charlotte Perrott, FirstPort Bespoke Property Services
  • Apprentice of the Year - Oliver Fanthorpe, Michael Laurie Magar
  • Property Woman of the Year - Emily Orner, SPL Property Management
  • Customer Service Award - Rendall & Rittner
  • Unsung Hero - Tom Dugdale, Braemar Estates
  • Provider of the Year - Cleankill Pest Control
  • Service Charge Accountancy Firm of the Year - Haines Watts
  • Industry Supplier of the Year - Future Lighting

The Awards are open to ARMA members, associates, partners, affiliates and external suppliers to ARMA members and include several categories not covered by other awards. Entries into the 2018 Awards will open later in the year: www.awards.arma.org.uk

Permalink
13th July 2017
Resident joins the RICS Technology Affiliate Program
 Resident joins the RICS Technology Affiliate Program

Resident® is proud to announce that it has joined the RICS Technology Affiliate Program intended to increase awareness and adoption of technology in the Real Estate and Built Environment sectors, benefiting both RICS professionals and the wider market.

Director, Kate Boyes MRICS, who has been a member of the RICS since 2004 and whose firm Resident® is regulated by the RICS states "I have been a proud member of the RICS since qualifying in 2004 and my sales and lettings business became regulated by the RICS when I became a partner in 2007 as I have always been committed to promoting their standards and best practice throughout everything we do. I founded our proptech business, Resident®, in 2014 as I saw the impact technology was having on the industry, something that is gathering in pace everyday. I am therefore extremely proud to become a member of the Technology Affiliate Program to further promote RICS awareness and standards in the proptech world."

On the launch of the Tech Affiliate Program, Dan Hughes Director of Data and Information Product Management at the RICS commented "Data and technology has been used for many years across the built environment and has, to a degree, changed how we do things. However, more recently we have seen a faster pace of change in the built environment and how professionals carry out their roles.

In recognition of this change and the importance that technology companies have on our sector, we are delighted to launch the Tech Affiliate Program (TAP). The purpose of the program is to support awareness and thought leadership across the sector, specifically relating to the impact of technology, and to support professionals with the adoption of standards."

Further information on the RICS Technology Affiliate Program can be found on the RICS website

Permalink
28th June 2017
The Unsolvable 30 London Buildings Puzzle!
The Unsolvable 30 London Buildings Puzzle!

People are losing their minds over a simple collage competition that no one can solve.

Marketers at Vivacity London, a marketing consultancy for the property and construction sector, set about launching a simple ‘identify-the-London-buildings’ competition and discovered they’d created an unsolvable puzzle that has left participants “utterly addicted and committed to cracking it” – Matt Acton MRICS, Project Manager, Heriot-Watt University.

Choosing 30 iconic London buildings to create a beautiful, eye-catching collage, Jennifer Evans, Managing Director of Vivacity London, hoped to launch a pertinent competition for London’s challenge-loving Property and Construction sector…. only to find that literally no one can solve it.

“It’s clever, beautiful, and enraging all at once – I’m devoted to solving it, if I have to walk the width and breadth of London!” Julian Davies MRICS, Managing Director, Earl Kendrick Associates.

“I’ve been very close to throwing my laptop out of the window, it’s that infuriatingly complex and addictive…I won’t give up! Sarah Fisher, Director/Owner, MIH Ltd.

The proposal is simple, identify all 30 buildings for the chance to win a business consultancy package worth £7,300, but whether anyone wins it remains to be seen.

At first glance, you don't imagine it to be that hard as you immediately recognise such landmarks as The London Eye and Tower Bridge. However, as you tick off the first ten or so, it becomes harder to identify where in London you've seen that building before and what its name is.

Jennifer Evans, Managing Director of Vivacity London, says: we invite professionals from the sector to play it on their commute, during their lunch break or at home with the help of family and friends, with the chance of winning the deserved prize, but we also welcome everyone else who enjoys a challenge to participant just for fun.

Think you can solve the unsolvable puzzle? View the 30 Buildings collage and full competition details here: https://www.vivacitylondon.com/blog/30buildings

Email your entry to 30Buildings@vivacitylondon.com.
Closing Date: July 19th
Winners will be announced on the website: July 21st (if there are any)

“I pride myself on my knowledge of London and I’m pretty hacked off I can’t solve this one!” Laura Passey, Owner, Laura Passey Interiors

“It has me completely flummoxed!” David Graves MRICS, Managing Director, JCF Property Management.

 

Permalink
22nd June 2017
Safety checks on private residential blocks
Safety checks on private residential blocks

Letter from Melanie Dawes CB, Permanent Secretary Department for Communities and Local Government:

"Following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington last week, we want to ensure you are aware of help that is available in checking your buildings.

There has been much public concern and comment about potential flaws in the cladding that was on Grenfell Tower. While the exact reasons for the speed of the spread of fire have yet to be determined, we have concluded that there are additional tests that can be undertaken with regard to the cladding. We have asked local authorities and social housing providers to identify whether any panels used in new build or refurbishment of their own housing stock are a particular type of cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). These checks will be relevant to privately owned and managed residential buildings too, so please can you consider carrying out these checks on your buildings.

More details on how to identify this cladding are in Annex A attached. It is important to stress that ACM cladding is not of itself dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used. If you identify that cladding on any of your buildings is made of ACM, then a sample can be tested. This testing facility is also being made available to blocks that are privately owned, and your local authority may already have been in touch to make you aware of this.

The procedures for taking up this offer of testing, which will be paid for by DCLG, are set out in the annex. We are prioritising buildings over six storeys or 18 metres high. The offer is for the initial testing only and the cost of any remedial action will be the responsibility of the owner of the building. The information from the checks will be available to DCLG from BRE. "

Link to full letter and data form.  


Permalink
8th June 2017
Masterfix recruits Jonathan Channing
Masterfix recruits Jonathan Channing

Central London based property maintenance company, Masterfix, have announced the appointment of IRPM Fellow Jonathan Channing as Director.

Chris Ball, managing director, told us, “We are delighted to confirm that Jonathan has joined the senior management team at Masterfix. He brings with him two decades of property management experience and a highly respected track record of customer satisfaction, financial acumen and technical know-how which we are convinced will help us strengthen our links with the property management sector”.

Jonathan’s move from managing agent to maintenance and compliance contractor has raised some eyebrows. Chris explains, “In the years we’ve known Jonathan whilst at Farrar and Savills, it’s always been clear he has a passion for property management. He goes out of his way to promote talent in his industry so we’re grateful to have Jonathan promoting the good work that we do indirectly supporting the property managers he’s worked with throughout his career”.

In a notoriously frenetic industry that relies heavily on its supplier partners, Masterfix says it understands what managing agents have to contend with day to day and is therefore well placed to provide a bespoke service. Chris Ball adds, “As our understanding of the residential block management industry grows with Jonathan’s input, we see what a vital role IT has to play. Our proprietary software has been designed to give property managers the information they need to track jobs and communicate the status of maintenance and compliance work to their clients; we want to make maintenance and compliance easier for the property manager and deliver it as a support function as it has been in other sectors for many years”.

Masterfix is a multi-trade contractor covering plumbing to roofing, electrical to ex decs, insurance claim reinstatement to gas safety checks. It employs a 50 strong engineer workforce covering London and the south east from three offices. Jonathan can be reached on 07968 259905 or jonathan.channing@master-fix.com and Chris Ball on 07553 344 124 or chris.ball@master-fix.com

.

Permalink
8th June 2017
Introducing a new Sky Q solution for flats with a communal dish
Introducing a new Sky Q solution for flats with a communal dish

Sky today introduces a brand new, free-of-charge* solution making it even easier for residents to get Sky Q in their flat. The new Plug-In Adapter also makes the process quicker and simpler for Managing Agents by cutting out the need to reconfigure the existing communal TV system.

  • The installation process begins when the resident calls Sky to request Sky Q.
  • The resident will then contact the Managing Agent regarding access to the communal system.
  • Once access is granted, a Sky approved agent will add the small Plug-In Adapter between the communal system and the subscriber cables.
  •  The final step is for the Sky approved agent to install the Sky Q box into the resident’s home.

Chris Bull, Director of Marketing Projects at Sky, said: “This new approach puts residents in the driving seat and means the Managing Agent only needs to grant access to the communal system. The introduction of the new Plug-In Adapter is part of Sky’s commitment to make access to Sky Q as simple and seamless as possible for both the Managing Agent and the resident and reflects the importance of the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) market to Sky.”


*subject to customer’s standard install fee

Permalink
30th May 2017
Leasehold Solutions says Labour & Tory manifesto commitments to reform leasehold dont go far en
Leasehold Solutions says Labour & Tory manifesto commitments  to reform leasehold dont go far en

The Conservative and Labour party manifestos published last week include policies to reform certain leasehold practices, including high ground rents and the sale of leasehold houses. But Leasehold Solutions says the policies do not go far enough to tackle other major problems with the leasehold system.

Louie Burns, Managing Director of leading leasehold enfranchisement specialists, Leasehold Solutions, said: “It is encouraging to see that both the Conservatives and Labour are paying attention to some of the problems with leasehold, such as escalating ground rents and the sale of new-build houses as leasehold, particularly as neither party even mentioned leasehold in their 2015 manifestos. The policies outlined in the respective manifestos are a first step in the right direction, but they are insufficient to bring about the reforms needed to free home owners from unfair leasehold practices.”

The Conservative Party manifesto includes a commitment to “crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents.” However, although Prime Minister Theresa May previously stated in Parliament in March that she ‘doesn’t see why’ developers are selling new-build houses as leasehold, the Tory manifesto stops short of calling for policies to reform other aspects of the leasehold sector, such as banning the sale of new-build leasehold houses.

The Labour Party manifesto goes further, promising to give leaseholders “security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.” Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto makes no reference to leasehold reform.

Burns continued: “While the sale of new-build leasehold houses has garnered much media attention, the number of these properties is the tip of the iceberg when compared to the volume of leasehold flats coming onto the market in Britain. Many people are also unaware of the implications of letting their lease length fall, which can significantly increase the cost of a lease extension when the time remaining on the lease falls below 80 years.

“Even if onerous ground rent practices are curbed or outlawed, the owners of leasehold flats will still be stung by high fees when they need to extend their lease or purchase their freehold. A better solution would be to abolish the unfair leasehold system, but regrettably none of the major political parties looks to be considering such a reform at this stage.

“The issue of onerous ground rent clauses certainly also needs to be addressed, but it’s equally important that we look again at leasehold valuations, as the system works to the benefit of the freeholder. Under the current valuation methods, which are heavily weighted in favour of freeholders, leaseholders are required to pay inflated fees to extend their lease or purchase their freehold, which costs property owners millions of pounds in additional costs each year.

“We also need a better mechanism for holding errant developers to account; before the leasehold houses scandal, many home owners were unaware that their freehold had been sold out from under them to institutional ground rent investors. These leaseholders are now quoted fees in excess of £40,000 to purchase the freehold, or they are being offered unsatisfactory solutions like converting their 10-year doubling ground rent to one linked to the rate of inflation.

“These are not solutions that will enable the affected home owners to purchase their freehold outright or free themselves from having to pay unfair fees for permissions and licences attached to the lease. We hope the next government will enact legislation to help these people to take back ownership of their freehold at a fair and realistic price.”

Permalink
26th April 2017
Fixflo and Qube join forces on property maintenance platform
Fixflo and Qube join forces on property maintenance platform

Smart repair reporting software Fixflo is teaming up with Qube Global Software to allow letting agents and property managers to handle repairs more efficiently.

Qube Global Software launched its Qube Connect Partner Programme earlier this year, with the purpose of creating a network of software and service providers that will deliver better deals and improved service to customers.

Residential block managers who use the Qube Property Management product will now be able to access Fixflo software through a web app. Launched over three years ago, Fixflo is now used in more than 400,000 lettings units across the UK.

Using the service, which is available in 40 languages, tenants can report faults and issues as soon as they occur, receive instructions for handling emergency incidents and alert the relevant property manager. This brings operational efficiencies, improves asset protection by dealing with problems before they escalate and delivers enhanced customer service.

“With the Build to Rent sector set to grow rapidly over the next decade, our service will become a vital resource for property professionals keen to drive efficiency and deliver excellent customer service to tenants” claims Rajeev Nayyar, director at Fixflo.

“Tenants now expect to report a leak in their roof in the same way they report a problem with their Amazon delivery” according to Paul Manning, sales director at Qube.

About Fixflo

Fixflo is the market standard and market leading repair reporting software for the lettings industry. Fixflo’s online, picture-based system allows tenants to easily and accurately report repairs in their rented properties to their property manager. Fixflo guides tenants to accurately identify their problem, provides guided advice so they may solve small issues that are their responsibility themselves, and automatically prompts them to provide the information that will be needed by their property manager to resolve the issue.

Letting agencies and property management companies pay a monthly fee to have their own branded Fixflo website which allows them to communicate more effectively with their tenants, to enhance their service and to promote their brand. Fixflo is available to tenants in over 40 languages with repair requests being translated into English for resolution by a property manager.

Fixflo.com was launched in May 2013 and recently won the 2016 Sunday Times gold award for best supplier to the lettings industry.

Fixflo.com was founded by former property lawyer Rajeev Nayyar and former CTO of Friends Reunited Duncan Careless.

Permalink
12th April 2017
Earl Kendrick Associates and Finnegan Property Services to Join Forces
Earl Kendrick Associates and Finnegan Property Services to Join Forces

Earl Kendrick Associates (EKA) are delighted to announce they have taken over Finnegan Property Services (FPS) with effect from 6 April 2017. The FPS team will now join EKA, continuing to manage their former FPS clients to ensure continuity of service. The newly expanded EKA is now even better placed to serve the existing clients of both firms. Moreover, it now has the extra capacity needed to take on new ones.


FPS managing director Damien Finnegan approached EKA at the end of 2016, having identified them as the firm best suited to building on the success achieved by FPS so far and taking the team to the next level. Both firms have won awards in recent years, with EKA recently named Surveyor of the Year for the fourth year running at the Property Management Awards, while FPS have also been highly commended.


Damien Finnegan said: “I’m very proud of the business we’ve built at FPS over the past few years. I believe the team is now ready for a new phase, and rather than reinventing the wheel, it makes sense to join forces with a firm that is already innovating in terms of operations and support systems. Earl Kendrick have the same passion for excellent service that has always motivated FPS, and I’m confident that our clients will benefit from this joining of forces as much as our team will.”

EKA managing director Julian Davies said: “Finnegan Property Services is a fantastic business with an excellent team. There’s a definite affinity between our two firms, especially in terms of our focus on building relationships with clients and providing the best possible service at every stage. I look forward to welcoming the FPS team to Earl Kendrick, and offering the same great service to clients old and new.”

Strengthened by the addition of the FPS team, EKA will be able to build on their successes to date and continue to pursue their founding goal: not only to be the best, but to do so by putting people and their needs at the heart of the surveying business.

Permalink
« Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Next »