20 August 2020
The role of a Property Manager is busy and varied; as busy and as varied as the many different types of developments they’re responsible for. No two hours are the same, let alone two days. And client relationships are key, especially when you’re supporting Residents’ Management Companies and their Directors.
Meet Kirsty Taylor, one of our Associate Directors and a Property Manager for the last seven years. She’s responsible for our luxury portfolio and personally manages a number of exclusive developments in London.
Kirsty recently gave us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her world, talking us through one of her days. We may have spoken to her during lockdown, but you’ll see from her day below that it didn’t slow her down.
Reviewing a set of year end service charge accounts
My day began with a call with one of our service charge accountants to review the annual expenditure for one of my developments in East London. During the call, we made sure all of the costs had been allocated correctly and identified any differences between the budget and actual expenditure.
As soon as the call was over, I created a report for the Residents’ Management Company (RMC) Director, so that they had a high-level summary of what we’d just discussed.
Meeting to review service charge budget
I hosted a ‘Teams’ (virtual) meeting with one of our RMC Directors and some of my colleagues in accounts to discuss the budget for the year ahead for one of my developments in Victoria, London. I’m often involved in these types of meetings, particularly when it’s coming up to year end.
Usually these meetings would be done in person but with the current Covid-19 restrictions, we have started hosting meetings virtually. It’s great that FirstPort has the right tools to support us to transition smoothly into this way of working.
Catch-up with one of my RMC Director clients
Lockdown or no lockdown, keeping in touch with my clients is extremely important to me, so I had a virtual cup of coffee with one of my clients over Zoom. Meetings don’t have to always be formal with an agenda. I find some of the most productive discussions come from a chat over a coffee.
We used the time to catch-up, as well as discuss key updates, including current staffing matters, planned and on-going work and development finances.
Discussing summer flower arrangements on-site
Due to the lockdown, I’d arranged a socially distanced walkthrough with Peter, who’s the gardener at one of my developments in Westminster.
We chatted about the flowers for the site and managed to choose the colours and varieties for the new season. We also discussed installing some new planters, which I had already accounted for within this year’s budget. I love making our developments look nice for our customers. Anything I can do to make their home welcoming and somewhere they can be proud of is a job well done.
Video conference call with the Surveying and Major Works teams
One of my developments in Victoria is currently being refurbished. We’d already checked the lease to make sure everything was in order and used this call to further discuss the client’s requirements and approve the plan for the work going forward.
When a development is having major works carried out, it’s really important that we communicate with customers regularly so that they know how things are going. Having specialist in-house teams that manage these projects is really beneficial from my perspective as I can get updates quickly which I can then share with residents.
Talking to Health and Safety about routine fire safety guidance
I’ve been working with one of our Health and Safety Managers to complete a routine fire risk assessment at another of my developments in Victoria. The health and safety of our residents, clients and partners is FirstPort’s number one priority and a really important part of my job is to make sure my developments comply with all of the relevant health and safety requirements.
I spoke to the manager straight after the assessment about the actions that needed to be carried out at this particular development. This mainly involved routine measures, such as issuing residents with guidance relating to housekeeping checks for apartment doors, which I sorted immediately after the call.
Interviewing for a Concierge position
One of my developments in East London has a Concierge vacancy, which had attracted a lot of candidates that had been whittled down by Response, our in-house recruitment team, to a shortlist of four.
I would usually carry out these interviews in person, but due to the lockdown, I held Zoom interviews instead and am pleased to say I managed to find a brilliant person for the job.
It’s really important for me to find the right colleagues for my developments to make sure we deliver a great experience for our customers. This particular person has really strong communication skills and a great understanding our business values. I am confident they will fit right in and make a real difference for our customers.
Meeting with an RMC Director and a solicitor about a breach of lease
I’m helping one of my RMC Director clients manage a breach of lease at one of my developments near Oxford Circus. This is around structural alterations to a flat where the owner doesn’t have the right permissions. Without the correct permissions, it’s illegal work and has the potential to cause serious damage to the building and could harm residents, so it’s important we deal with it swiftly.
I called our solicitor to arrange for contact to be made with the owner to advise them that they were in breach of their lease. The aim is that we can work with the customer to resolve this. I then rang my client to talk through the next steps.
Looking through carpet samples
As well as taking care of the more complex financial and legal aspects of managing properties, my time is also spent making sure my customers’ homes look and feel great.
The carpets are due to be replaced at one of my developments in East London, so I took a look through the samples that I’d requested earlier in the week following discussions with the Residents’ Association, and chose one based on quality, durability and the development’s existing colour scheme.
EVENING (AND INTO THE WEEKEND):
Calling the insurers following a burst boiler room pipe
When a pipe in the boiler room at one of my developments in Westminster burst and flooded part of the basement car park, I worked with the emergency contractors and our Customer Service team to get everything under control within a few hours.
I co-ordinated the repair work and raised the purchase orders for the contractors and out-of-hours team, as work had to be carried out over the weekend. I also put in calls to the insurance company and affected parties to update them in relation to the claims for damages.
And that is just one day in the life of one of our dedicated Property Managers…
As you can see, there’s plenty of variety and so many different relationships to be maintained, which is one of the main things people person, Kirsty, really enjoys about the role.
As for the secret to constantly staying on top of all of the different tasks? Kirsty puts it down to reviewing her developments’ Four Pillars performance stats first thing, forward planning for any health and safety and asset compliance actions and always making sure there are no unacknowledged emails before she logs off.
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We understand the pressures and complexities that property management creates for a Residents’ Management Company – we’re here to help you. With over 40 years’ experience, we work with RMC Directors to help them meet their management and legal obligations, whilst delivering a high quality service for their leaseholders.
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