Property Manager Blog – Laura McGill

It is a well-known fact that the Property Management industry has grown considerably in recent years and along with it, the role of the Property Manager has had to adapt and change. From the outside looking in, our jobs probably look easy – that we just arrange maintenance or collect rent but this industry to those within it has become so much more than just these simple tasks.

We often have to consider social issues; financial issues, safety issues and recognise our responsibilities in all of these areas, which also now equate to legal requirements in some instances.

One area of our job that I find is not looked at in any great detail is the historical issues that we face. This subject splits into two areas, the first being historical buildings and the importance of maintaining their features to retain the value and aesthetic impact. The second being historic issues where this has not always happened.

From a young age, I have always had an interest in historic locations and buildings. I have two parents who recognised the importance of preserving our history and a way of introducing that to the next generation was to do day trips to historically significant buildings and places.

As an adult now working in the property sector, I recognise that we are dealing with people’s homes and communities. Therefore, the historical buildings within those areas need to be nurtured and maintained in keeping with their aesthetic value and to retain its heart and soul, which means so much to the people who have purchased homes within then and around them.

Unfortunately, the impact of someone who does not appreciate these factors, completing maintenance can be detrimental.

Town & City manage a 1930’s purpose-built block of flats in North West London. The building has a number of wonderful period features that help it to maintain its charm and character, whilst fitting in perfectly with the other properties in the community.

Prior to Town & City’s management, a project was undertaken to fit a new communal heating system into the building.

The presence of an efficient heating system would undoubtedly increase the value of any apartment building, however in this instance the project manager did not pay any attention to the aesthetic content of the building which resulted in modern, heavy heating pipes being fitted into small communal hallways with period aesthetics.

The effect on not only on the look and feel of the building but the financial value and mental health of the residents has been astronomical. It has also made our job, as the current property managers much more difficult as we are currently undertaking a external and internal refurbishment project here, where we have had to implement meticulous planning to cover these pipes, whilst ensuring the maintenance of the period features and trying not to impact the residents any further by blocking light etc, where the pipes have also been allowed to drop down over windows.

This has made me realise that this is a subject which is often not considered or discussed enough with Property Managers, which could be detrimental in areas where we hold the responsibility for completing maintenance and construction projects. There should be formal CPD training which enables Property Managers to recognise and appropriately plan to maintain these features.

Without it, I fear that we will be setting a new generation of Property Manager’s up to make the same mistakes.

At Town & City, we pride ourselves on being able to offer a personable, tailored service to the buildings under our management. As such, we will be making a commitment to discuss this matter further with our industry peers and look to provide all our staff with the bespoke training required to continue their professionalism in this regard.

Roupell Street, Waterloo, London

In the heart of London, a short walk from Waterloo station, lies the Roupell Street conservation area which consists of Roupell Street, Cornwall Road, Windmill Walk, Theed Street and Whittlesley Street. Walking through this area is like being part of a time capsule into 19th century London.

The fact that these streets have survived the London Blitz and the rapid development of schemes near-by is encouraging that there are still people out there who recognise historic significance of residential premises. I hope that the owners of the houses and the immediate community will be able to thrive for years to come for future generations to enjoy.

The streets have been used as frequent film and TV locations (including Call the Midwife, Mr Selfridge and the Kray twins biopic “Legend”) and you will often find a London walking tour telling eager tourists the story of Emma Whintle who died (aged 20) at the local pub (the Kings Arms) from consuming a large quantity of arsenic.

The Roupell Street conservation area is a perfect example of how property management and planning can allow historically significant buildings to be maintained for the enjoyment of others for years to come, the appreciation and value of the residents, whilst slotting into a thriving, developing community.

The nearby “The Cut” providing the contrast with the modern environment of pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.

Homes & History

”As an adult now working in the property sector, I recognise that we are dealing with people’s homes and communities. Therefore, the historical buildings within those areas need to be nurtured and maintained in keeping with their aesthetic value and to retain its heart and soul, which means so much to the people who have purchased homes within then and around them”

Town & City manage a 1930’s purpose-built block of flats in North West London. The building has a number of wonderful period features that help it to maintain its charm and character, whilst fitting in perfectly with the other properties in the community.
Prior to Town & City’s management, a project was undertaken to fit a new communal heating system into the building. The presence of an efficient heating system would undoubtedly increase the value of any apartment building, however in this instance the project manager did not pay any attention to the aesthetic content of the building which resulted in modern, heavy heating pipes being fitted into small communal hallways with period aesthetics. It has also made our job, as the current property managers much more difficult as we are currently undertaking a external and internal refurbishment project here, where we have had to implement meticulous planning to cover these pipes, whilst ensuring the maintenance of the period features and trying not to impact the residents any further by blocking light etc, where the pipes have also been allowed to drop down over windows.