BDC Magazine 2016 - Keepmoat Freemont Property Managers - Page 3

Freemont.qxp_feature 2 17/03/2015 11:01 Page 127 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: FREEMONT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT he property management market is changing, according to Freemont Property Managers’ Chairman Nigel Bannister, who says: “Landlords have been very controlling in this marketplace up to now but are actually much more open in allowing their leaseholders to select property managers. It works for us because we’re a people based business, we have relations with landlords and developers, and we know what is needed to operate these schemes on a day-to-day basis dealing with the individuals on site.” T PEOPLE FOCUSED That, he adds, fits in well with the way the company works: “We really focus on the people working for us, who we have worked with for many years. So we trust them and know they’re like-minded people. But we also take a slightly different slant, really looking at the residents and leaseholders we act for. Although we may be appointed by landlords or developers, our great focus is going to be on the people in the business and the leaseholders and residents in the schemes, whether they’re retirement schemes or general.” The business has been established less than a year but already has 1,500 residential units under management or contracted, 300 of which are retirement units and the rest mostly in apartment blocks. It’s been achieved through the knowledge and experience of management and staff, particularly in retirement housing, long-standing relationships with landlords and developers, and the approach the company takes. That approach is largely based on trust in the team of advisors and the supply chain, most of whom are known to the directors and have worked successfully with them for a long time. It’s also based on providing a high level of customer service to everyone that Freemont deals with. “Our customers are our residents, the house builders and the landlords,” remarks Nigel. “They’re all the same effectively; they’re all customers to us. COMMON SENSE RELATIONSHIPS “What we try to do is bring some common sense into relationships between landlords and leaseholders, and to establish a relationship with a house builder whilst they’re planning a development. We can then have some input about what, in our opinion, works for the end product. They can develop the most wonderful block of flats in the world but they have to work for the people in them and the required services have to be provided at an economical cost. They have to be run properly and efficiently, which is what we’re all about.” The approach starts before a new property is taken on, generally ensuring there are funds in place to deal with refurbishment and renewal as well as looking at issues and why the change of property manager is being made. Nigel says: “Any work we undertake has to be a combination of us and the residents at the property. If we decide we can’t bring anything to it and there’s something that stops us doing our job, we won’t take it on. There has to be desire on the part of the leaseholders to work with us and for us to agree what needs to be done. On new developments, we talk to the house builders to get things right during the construction process and for existing developments we find out what needs to be done and why people want to change.” That applied at the firm’s first appointment, the 96-unit Aqua development on the waterfront in BUILDING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION MAGAZINE 127