Top build to rent performance is built behind the scenes

Lesley Roberts Build to Rent

The Grenfell tragedy and Dame Judith Hackitt’s review on building regulations and fire safety highlight the responsibilities of landlords and the importance of good management.

As the number of build to rent (BTR) developments increases, ‘good management’ will continue to draw focus. But how does good property management add value to schemes?

Letting and property management is, by nature, extremely complex, demanding experience and skill from its practitioners. Every aspect of property management carries with it an element of risk – which property managers are responsible for mitigating.

Protecting people and assets is the core function of the property manager and getting it right must always be the top priority. However, in the competitive and service-driven BTR sector, savvy consumers have high expectations and demand far more than the minimum management standard.

A decade ago we saw an explosion of Gordon Ramsay-style TV shows and the kitchen shenanigans of high-end restaurants. This behind-the-scenes looked at what is involved in Michelin-star food preparation and gave us an insight into how much effort goes into what might

be deemed ‘the edible art experience’.

Who would have thought that a blowtorch, paintbrush and chisel could create such magical food? And those who value this are willing to pay for it.

Comparable, although not nearly as glamorous, is high-quality resident service for BTR developments, which also requires skill, seamless technology and infinite planning behind the scenes. The customer experiences the end result exactly as they should, without knowing (or needing to know) what happens to deliver such excellence. And residents who value this, will also pay for it.

The best property managers use their resident service expertise, enhanced by technology, to help maximise occupancy and minimise voids, ensuring that income streams meet investor expectation.

However, arguably more important than any of these factors is the creation of the right culture. In order to create the appropriate culture, we have to understand the individual property managers, not just their function but why they do what they do.

In my opinion, long-term BTR success is built on people and their emotional ownership of what they do. To care about what you do and how you do it allows you to stand out from the crowd, especially in what could soon become a homogeneous rental product.

Creating a fit-for-purpose culture of ownership and inclusion is imperative. Skills and technical knowledge can be learned and gained, as can experience, but personal values are ingrained and a key ingredient of how people perform on a day-to-day basis. BTR operations are made up of 100 daily actions, 1,000 weekly tasks and a million annual decisions and every single one has the capacity to make a difference to the performance and experience of a property and its people. It is this that makes the difference and is where property management truly adds value.

BTR operations are made up of 100 daily actions, 1,000 weekly tasks and a million annual decisions