A reflection on PMR in 2020

    Well, I am sure we can all agree that 2020 has been one of the most challenging and difficult years to date and for many reasons, not just because of Covid, but all the other on-going issues we have across the residential leasehold sector; leasehold reform, cladding and compartmentation, EWS1 & Building safety, to name a few

    Firstly, I think we are all extremely lucky to be working in such a thriving market, which at times can be thankless, but I believe most people would agree there is not a better sense of satisfaction than knowing your clients are happy, and of course SAFE, which is what we all work so hard for to achieve.

    The last 12 months for me personally has seen me take on a much more varied role across the business, with an aim to expand PMR and help us continue our growth into further asset classes, we are now actively working across leasehold, BTR, PBSA & Co-work/Serviced offices sectors.

    Build to Rent is a market that we are taking big strides in to be involved with developers, owners and operators at a pre-development/investment level to ensure we are fully integrated with the clients from an early stage and to understand the full pipeline and development schedule. This will help us become an asset to all our clients, as their portfolios grow and they can trust with have the knowledge and understanding of the communities they are trying to build, to make them the BTR offering of choice. With circa 50,000 homes already completed, circa 35,000 under construction and 85,000 still in pipeline, we are looking forward to being involved in a growing asset class in the years to come and to ensure clients have the best staff heading up these amazing projects and developments.

    PBSA is a market we have been supporting for a number of years now, Covid has caused a number of issues in regards to the housing of students and a number of changes has been made over the past 6-9 months which has affected a number of clients and cashflow and therefore has a knock on effect of them using agencies and others services, that can potentially be removed from the bottom line. We have been working with clients to try and find better cost solutions and partnerships, to provide the best possible service to our clients across their portfolios. Although investment into the sector stalled throughout lockdown, underlying demand remains strong with an estimated £750m - £1bn worth of deals currently in the pipeline. In addition, the market is still buoyant with acquisitions such as Unite taking on Liberty Living.

    Co-working spaces/serviced offices is our newest market we have ventured into over the past 6 months, and I believe this is a sector that as we get back to a ‘new normal’, will start to take off and develop. There are a number of new start-up/tech companies looking to expand into this space, alongside the existing need for more flexible working environments ,that provide companies all of the amenities required, at affordable prices without the long term commitments of a lease. I can only see this as being a very attractive offering for more and more businesses.
    This is very much a rental market that supports our business model, and the candidate exposure will definitely support PBSA & BTR and vice versa.

    Finally, we have the residential team which has been our bread and butter for many years, and apart from a brief dip in permanent recruitment through the first lockdown, we have seen a steady and increasing amount of both temporary assignments and permanent vacancies since July onwards. As mentioned before, I feel very fortunate to work in such a vital and important market, that has a continuous development pipeline, and although there have been many changes in working practices and the way we manage buildings, I am relieved to know we have a fairly recession proof market. We have always looked to grow and naturally expand as a business dependent on industry needs and expectations, with the aim of providing solutions to all our clients.

    2020 has seen us set up our new E-Learning Training Academy through our sister company Verto Training, which in partnership with ARMA now offers staff training for Customer Service, Health & Safety, HR & Fire Safety Awareness to Property Managers and all site staff, either in sector at present or looking to transition from hotels or other hospitality markets.

    We now also provide Waking Watch/Fire Warden staff to buildings that have been classed unsafe due to cladding issues and are able to assist Property Managers with setting up teams and having the technology on-site to ensure patrols are being carried out regularly and efficiently by the staff.

    Lastly, we have also partnered up with a video interviewing platform which can give clients the opportunity to review candidates prior to interview rather than just have a CV, this is an option that we provide free of charge and is an additional benefit to all hiring managers to help them save time and give them an insight into each candidate, which can help whittle down applications and ensure you are only meeting the best people who you feel are right for your business and culture.

    Thank you too all of our amazing clients and contacts, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you, and we will continue to try and provide a better service and offer solutions to improve the management of your buildings.

    With Christmas now on the horizon, if I don’t talk to you beforehand, I wish you all a great festive period and hopefully we will be back to somewhere near normal in the New Year.