With build-to-rent now growing at a rapid rate, have you ever wondered if you have the right skill-set to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there for block managers? At LifebyRingley, our new build-to-rent brand, we constantly promote block management as a people business - with customer service right out front.
Anyone managing a long leasehold block is used to working first for the freeholder who employs us and second for the residents. Of course we all have flat owners? wellbeing in mind but our first consideration must be always to represent the best interests of our client. The big difference if you work in the in build-to-rent sector, is that the residents are your customers, so your ability to manage their expectations as well as their building, must be second-to-none.
Build-to-rent is all about the whole living experience; residents? expectations are extremely high and they require a first-class service. Unlike leaseholders, build-to-rent residents can easily vote with their feet. They will choose to live in another block with better facilities and higher service levels if they are not happy ? so we need to get it right first time.
Bringing competition into the mix means block managers need strong soft skills but they are also expected to take the day-to-day operation of the building to another level. This means ensuring rapid response times to maintenance issues ? vital for compliance with the lettings regulations ? and replying straight away to customer enquiries and complaints via telephone and email. Our customers need to feel we are actively working on their behalf; we must always be able to demonstrate that action is being taken to satisfy their requirements.
At LifebyRingley, our doors never close. Opening hours have to include weekends, Christmas and bank holidays in case our residents need us. And we are not only involved in managing the building but also in letting the apartments. Our role requires an understanding of sales, because we deal with prospective tenants? viewings. We also need a head for admin and finance as we are responsible for check-in and check-out reports and for dealing with deposits, including retaining any element of these monies required to restore the property back to its original state of repair.
The LifebyRingley team in Manchester includes people drawn from a number of different industries. Not everyone has a background in property. So if you are a block manager thinking of changing sector, the reality is that your skills may need a shake-up. There are courses out there to help you get your foot in the door, such as this one from the IRPM but you are likely to be competing in the job market with managers from retail, sales or hospitality. The good news is that by developing a portfolio of transferable skills, property management specialists can open up their options. And the even better news for our business is that not only does that give us as individuals, access to both build-to-rent and the more traditional leasehold market, it also means that best practice from each sector is transferable too.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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