It’s very liberating when you have the landlord’s consent to fix problems as necessary to keep resident tenants happy and feeling valued for the custom they bring.
Having an on-site Help Desk dedicated to managing resident matters is not something I’ve been used to in regular estate agency, nor having on-site facilities management that can address any situation super-fast. But now I’m back at Dolphin Square, having originally worked here some 13 years ago, I can fully appreciate the efficiency and dedication with which the business runs.
Teamwork from the top
It’s refreshing how dealing with the regular property maintenance bug bears is concluded with ease; maintenance will pop over to take a look and fix where necessary. Moreover, if it’s the tenant’s responsibility, then cost is kept to an absolute minimum and simply charged back at cost, no mark ups.
Urgent matters are prioritised and resolved tout de suite. It’s collaborative teamwork at its best; a team of experts behind the scenes and a GM at the helm who orchestrates everything to run smoothly. A simple, daily 10AM Head of Department meeting ensures this.
In regular estate agency, rentals often receive bad press, because of the challenge to make both the landlords and tenants happy and the need to identify who is at fault in order to determine who is going to pay for a problem to be fixed.
Rightly or wrongly, often a tenant wants something that a landlord is unwilling or unable to give and vice versa. The lettings agent or property manager, acting as the intermediary, or ‘piggy in the middle’ as I call it, is often the bearer of bad news and finds him or herself caught between a rock and a hard place if a landlord says ‘no’ when the tenant wants to hear ‘yes’.
Back in 2005, I worked at Dolphin Square, the largest PRS scheme in Europe when built back in the 1930s. What a vision the Costain brothers had when they envisaged some 1200+ all rental apartments in the heart of London, Zone 1, designed to bring reasonably priced accommodation into a central area.
The building itself is iconic, to say the least and without my agency hat on, it is deeply satisfying to be able to say ‘yes’ more often than not and to work with greater efficiency than estate agency affords.
The resident tenants, broad in profile, from 20/30 something’s to retirees are all seeking a bit of London life with the ability to reside in a secure, oasis of tranquillity. Each and every one of them makes each working day colourful and thoroughly enjoyable.
It appeals to the way in which I like to work; autonomy to get things done, encouragement to think outside the box, the ability to put tenant needs first, a huge amount of variety throughout the working day plus enjoying collaboration between the teams that run the Square. Everyone is there to deliver ultimate service, which adds the special ingredient that helps cement a very positive working environment.
The proof is in the pudding when many residents have rented for literally years, which says something about this unique place. There is quite frankly nowhere else in prime central London that offers this scale and deep rental history that spans decades.
For those that work here, it’s our job to ensure that we continue this rental legacy and evolve in order to meet tenants ever-changing wants and needs. From my experience, getting the sentiment right at the heart of a business combined with a genuine appreciation for the customer base is what it takes to move a business forward and to make it great.