Principle Estate Management has taken on a new apprentice to help support its swift expansion, with total staff members now reaching 16.

The Birmingham-based company has become the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management, with well over 4,000 units across 200 developments around the UK just two years after its launch.

Holly Cox’s apprenticeship will see her assisting on the integration of new contracts into Principle’s workloads.

Holly, who plays football at semi-professional level and has been horse-riding since she was four, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Principle and to help what feels like a really healthy company to continue its expansion.”

Rebecca Gibson, integration and compliance manager at Principle, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Holly to the team.

“She not only comes with impressive educational accomplishments, but her previous work experience in a range of sectors shows a keenness to learn and take on new challenges.”

A luxury retirement development on the River Thames in Oxfordshire is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

Laureate Gardens Limited, part of the Amber Infrastructure Group, has appointed Principle to manage Laureate Gardens in Henley-on-Thames, an exclusive gated development of 16 apartments, 15 two and three-bedroomed homes and three cottages.

It’s the second exclusive retirement development Principle has been instructed to manage on behalf of Amber after the contract it won last year to look after Albany Meadows in Balsall Common, near Solihull.

The project was completed in February and sees all homes set around a professionally landscaped communal garden.

Ben Tanner, project director at Amber said: “Following the appointment of Principle at Albany Meadows, we knew from the outset we wanted them on board for Laureate Gardens.

“As active stakeholders and long-term investors it is vital that we have a managing agent with the professional capability to manage such a development”

Joe Jobson, a director at Principle, said: “We are delighted to have been instructed on such a flag ship development in what is an oasis setting, built to the highest standards.

“Retirement living is an area of our business we are very focused on growing and I believe instructions like this show that we have the team and management capability to continue to actively grow in the sector.

“We enjoy a great working relationship with Amber and are looking forward to continuing to provide a high-level property management service on their behalf.”

A new contract to look after a quality development of luxury flats in Bristol has highlighted Principle Estate Management’s expansion into the south west.

The Pier Management Group has appointed Principle to manage the block of flats it has recently purchased at North Road, which is near St Andrews Park.

The new build development involved the demolition of previous buildings and the construction of a two and three-storey block which contains a mixture of one, two and three bedroomed flats.

This is the second contract in Bristol that Principle has been awarded by Pier, the other being for the similarly named apartments at North Street, Bristol.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, joked: “We’ve said that we now need a North Avenue and North Close to complete the set!

“But seriously, it’s great to have another property in the portfolio for this client and also in the south west where we have a growing number of schemes in management.”

Dan Harrison, managing director of Pier, said: “We were happy with Principle’s management of our other development in Bristol and knew they could take on the management of this one quickly and efficiently at short notice after our acquisition completed.”

Mr Harrison added that Pier’s parent company are still actively acquiring more freehold ground rent investments.

A series of new contracts in Solihull has highlighted how Principle Estate Management is still looking after its local roots as well as expanding nationally.

The Birmingham-based company has become the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management, with well over 4,000 units across 200 developments around the UK less than two years after its launch.

The latest tranche of new contracts includes several in Solihull, with 144 units in two separate schemes coming in April, and the first phase of a 250-conversion scheme and another 32 units on another site coming this autumn.

These projects will add to Principle’s existing stock in Solihull of 164 apartments across five developments.

The local contracts are of particular interest to Principle director Joe Jobson, who grew up in Dorridge and still lives in Solihull.

Mr Jobson said: “While I always enjoy winning new instructions across the country there is always something extra special when it is in my local town.”

Two of the new Solihull jobs are at Barley Green and Pinewood, which together include 134 flats and ten houses that were built in the 1960s.

A spokesperson for the freeholder client said: “We wanted an independent agent with flexibility and wide a ranging skillset to look after buildings like this for us and our leaseholders.

“We know Principle are led by big names in sector who take their role seriously and will get quality resolution to issues quickly and efficiently.”

Mr Jobson said: “The new contracts due in in April come after unhappy residents requested new management for the building.

“Many owner occupiers take great pride in their property and have been left frustrated that some areas of the development have fallen into disrepair due to no action of the previous managing agent.

“I met with a residents’ working group prior to appointment on both schemes and we cannot wait to get started on dealing with a number of inherited issues which require resolution via detailed liaison between residents and the freeholder.”

Mr Jobson added: “We have built a great team here at Principle and we are very well placed for continued growth both in Solihull, the Midlands and across the country.”

Another of the Solihull projects coming into management in the autumn is Sir Robert Peel Court, a 32-unit new-build scheme on the site of an old police station.

A new-build scheme of luxury apartments just up the road from the famous Edgbaston Cricket Ground is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The Willows are located at 110 Edgbaston Road, on the much sought-after border between Edgbaston and Moseley, and overlooking the popular Cannon Hill Park.

The developers of the six plush apartments, thought to have been named after the willow used in cricket bats, appointed Principle after an estate agent’s recommendation.

Joe Jobson, a director at Principle, said: “We’re thrilled to be managing a development in such a fantastic location.

“Edgbaston is a healthy growth area for us where we are already looking after numerous developments including Bristol Court, Viceroy Close and Florence House.

“This contract came after an introduction from another business professional, and we are delighted to be getting recognition for all the hard work and quality service our staff are continuing to provide on a daily basis.”

The Willows apartments are also near to The Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club, Edgbaston Golf Club and the new Birmingham Dental Hospital.

A spokesperson for the developer said: “We’re pleased to have appointed Principle who were meticulous in ensuring they had all necessary information ahead becoming the managing agent.

“This gives us great faith that they will provide the service we expect for purchasers, maintaining the properties to the highest standards.”

A building on an historic site in London’s Covent Garden where inventor Denis Johnson produced Britain’s first bicycle is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

What was initially known as the “pedestrian curricle” was created and patented by Johnson in 1819, an improved version of the original bicycle that had emerged in Germany.

Johnson’s version, also known as a “velocipede”, and popularly as a “hobby-horse”, “dandy-horse” and “pedestrian’s accelerator”, featured an elegantly curved wooden frame, and later a dropped-frame version to accommodate ladies’ long skirts.

Fast-forward to the present day and the site on Long Acre, close to the junction with Drury Lane, now hosts a mixed-use building knows as Acre House.

This property has 11 luxury apartments on upper floors, one recently for sale with a price of £3 million, and commercial units on the ground floor that include a hairdressers, a bistro and – yes, you’ve guessed it – a bicycle shop!

The high-profile contract has come from Simarc Property Management Ltd, the expanding management arm of the Wallace Group, which now owns 106,000 leasehold properties.

Simarc has already commissioned Principle to manage multiple developments, including hundreds of other flats in London, the West Midlands and south England, and other plush London apartments.

Acre House is just a three-minute walk from Covent Garden underground station and the old Covent Garden Market.

The property has a concierge service whose current employee Nadezda Sostaka, known as Nadia, is transferring to Principle under TUPE regulations, also known as Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment).

Natalie Chambers, director at Simarc, said: “We are continually reviewing our panel of agents and matching them to the properties in our portfolio, and it seemed appropriate to move this prime property to Principle.

“There are some historical matters requiring separate investigation and we know Principle has the commercial skills to assist with this as well as providing excellent property management for our residents.

“We take our role as long-term custodians of the buildings we own extremely seriously and want to make sure our agents provide outstanding service to our customers. We know Principle can be relied on to deliver that.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “I grew up in Surrey and frequently went to Covent Garden as a teenager, but little did I expect to be looking after properties like this back then.

“It’s fantastic to add high-quality, landmark properties such as Acre House to our portfolio, and the transition from the previous agent to ourselves is well in hand.

“As well as contacting all our new customers and inherited suppliers, it’s important with any developments with site staff that we follow the correct HR processes and also get to know the people as it can be a worrying time.

“Having met the current concierge, I have every confidence she will continue to provide an excellent service to this flagship scheme.”

He added: “We’re thrilled that Simarc is continuing to instruct us on properties as we enjoy working with them. They like property management to be carried out properly and that’s what we’re all about.”

 

 

What’s goin’ on ’ere then? A development of 32 luxury apartments on the site of a former Solihull police station is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The MIA Properties Group has appointed Principle to manage the four-storey block currently under construction on the site of what was once the Shirley police station on the Stratford Road.

The new property will be known as Sir Robert Peel Court, named after the man regarded as the father of modern British policing, owing to his founding of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Principle has already been assisting MIA Properties throughout its project on the structures of future leases, the details of service charges and solving potential design management issues

Zahir Ahmed, a director of MIA Properties, which currently has five sites under construction across the Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be bringing such fantastic living spaces to the area.

“We know that it is crucial to have the proper management of new apartments from the very beginning and so looked for the very best experts we could find.

“Having seen Principle’s work rates in assisting us so far, we are confident that Sir Robert Peel Court it will be in very safe hands.”

The suburb of Shirley is a current hotspot for investment with lots of amenities including gyms, independent coffee houses, bars and pubs, and retail parks.

It also benefits from easy road and rail access to Birmingham city centre and is close the Midlands’ extensive motorway network to the rest of the UK.

Joe Jobson, a director at Principle, said: “It is great to be working with Zahir at MIA, which is known throughout the Midlands for transforming properties.

“We are delighted they are now utilising their skillsets on building and refurbishing apartment buildings.

“Over the course of the next 12 months Principle is set for more expansion and it’s through building fantastic relationships with the likes of Zahir at MIA who has shown fantastic faith in us that has enabled us to do so.”

An experienced property assistant has been recruited to join Principle Estate Management’s customer services team as the business continues its fast growth.

Adam Kightley has more than six years’ experience of the property sector, starting his career at what was then CPBigwood and latterly working at a satellite office in Knowle for Manchester-based Scanlans.

He has been appointed as a customer services executive at Principle, reporting to the company’s customer services manager Michelle Cox.

Mrs Cox said: “We’re delighted to have appointed Adam who really understands great customer service and he will quickly become a real asset to us.

“He has a growing knowledge of the property sector as an Associate of the Institute of Residential Property Management, and he will use his skills to provide a key role to support our property managers.

“Principle is continuing to recruit staff at nearly one person per month to match its fantastic growth and I’m confident that Adam will help me to ensure our customer service remains the best for our clients.”

Mr Kightley, who was brought up in Dorridge and now lives in Hampton in Arden, said: “Principle has a great team of dedicated people, some of whom I have worked with previously.

“I own and live in a flat myself and this helps me in my role as I have real first-hand experience of being a customer in the same sector as I work in.

“It’s an exciting role and a great time to join this growing business, and to work with some quality people who know property.”

Mr Kightley’s appointment has boosted the customer services team’s ability to deal with property maintenance and administration, and in turn this has created the capacity for Principle to review and expand various finance roles.

A former hospital from the Victorian era in Stafford that has been converted into an estate of luxury homes is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The buildings, some of which are Grade II-listed, were originally designed by renowned architect Joseph Potter and first opened as the Stafford General Asylum in 1818, later becoming St George’s Hospital and serving NHS patients until 1995.

They have since been acquired and sensitively restored by Shropshire Homes as St George’s Mansions, a collection of 138 distinctive one, two and three bedroomed apartments set in a parkland next to a number of new build homes.

Principle has won the contract to manage the development from Shropshire Homes after the residents’ steering group was unhappy with the previous agent’s performance.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “I’ve known Shropshire Homes for many years having originally been introduced by one of our freeholder clients, and I’m impressed at their painstaking refurbishment of these substantial 19th century buildings.

“We’re thrilled to have been appointed with residents’ approval and client support. It really is wonderful to have properties like this in our management portfolio.”

Mr Williams explained how Shropshire Homes is a developer not a long-term property investor, and that they had made contact asking for to help sell the freehold at St George’s Park when a previous sale fell through.

He added: “After this initial work, Principle was subsequently asked to put a proposal forward for management as Shropshire Home’s executives were having to attend monthly evening meetings with the residents’ steering group.

“We’re now looking forward to working with the residents here to ensure the development is properly looked after for many years to come.”

Richard Shackleton, managing director of Shropshire Homes, said: “We are property developers but we love the buildings we are involved with and care about our customers’ post-sales experience.

“It was clear that a change of agent was required from the regular meetings I was attending with the residents and so I introduced Principle to the steering group who unanimously agreed to their appointment.

“There will be a lot for Principle to deal with on the takeover and initial setup and then to get things back on track.”

He added: “We have also appointed Principle on one of our other developments in Shrewsbury and we’re confident their experience in estate management will quickly make the quality difference that’s required.”

A Grade II-listed former 19th century hospital in Shropshire that has been converted into luxury homes is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

What’s now known as Leighton Park totals 250 homes. Of these, the management instruction includes 126 apartments and 59 houses, many of which were originally Victorian buildings at the former Shelton hospital on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, along with some newly built properties.

Principle has won the contract from Shropshire Homes, who are experts in sensitively redeveloping historical buildings into impressive residential sites.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, explained that the appointment came after Leighton Park residents’ residents’ association had been unhappy with the previous agent’s performance.

He said: “I’ve known Shropshire Homes for many years having originally been introduced by one of our freeholder clients, and I’m impressed at their painstaking refurbishment of these substantial 19th century buildings.

“This is one of those properties that puts a smile on your face when you drive onto site. This fits nicely into our portfolio as we took another 100+ unit development in Shrewsbury into management just before Christmas. We hope to provide some benefits of scale for our Customers by utilising contactors across both developments. ”

“We are delighted to have been appointed to manage the estate with the full approval of the residents’ association, and we’re looking forward to working hard to ensure the development is properly looked after for many years to come.

Richard Shackleton, managing director of Shropshire Homes, said: “We are property developers but we love the buildings we are involved with and care about our customers’ post-sales experience.

“We are still on site developing the final stages of this conversion and it was clear that a change of agent was required given the regular feedback received from the residents which meant I was becoming increasingly involved in the property management.

“I introduced Principle to the residents’ association, explaining that we had already commissioned them to manage one of our other developments in Staffordshire, and their appointment at Leighton Park was unanimously agreed.

“There will be a lot for Principle to deal with on the takeover and initial setup and then to get things back on track, but we’re very confident that they will deliver the services required.”

An impressive development of 70 luxury apartments converted from a former workhouse and hospital building in the Black Country is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The Royal Wordsley Heritage Buildings near Stourbridge began life as a Victorian workhouse before they were used as a military hospital in the early 1900s, later serving NHS patients as Wordsley Hospital until 2005.

They were redeveloped for residential use in a sensitive conversion by Shropshire Homes that included the restoration of many original features, including the clock tower now known as Tower Lodge.

Principle has won the contract from a freeholder client which has purchased the converted built buildings a few years ago.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed to manage this impressive development, and we are looking forward to working with residents.

“This is a great conversion of another former hospital site which is becoming a bit of a theme with recent instructions – we’ve had three in a month.

“Personally, I love both old and new architecture. The architecture here is lovely with the Clock Tower being the centrepiece of the development.

“It is super to see a former institutional building that was no longer fit for purpose being redeveloped and given a new lease of life.”

He added: “We’re thrilled that our freeholder client continues to instruct us on properties as we enjoy working with them. They want estate management be carried out properly which is exactly what we’re all about.”

Principle Estate Management (Principle), the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management business, announced today a major new contract to manage 13 sites across six English regions instructed by Estates & Management Ltd. This is the first time the company has been instructed by Estates & Management Ltd (E&M), one of the biggest asset managers of leasehold properties in the UK.

The sites include Briarswood in Biddulph, Staffordshire; Allinson Court in Kings Lynn, Norfolk; Stoneleigh and The Strand, both in Leicester; and Thraves Place in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.

Other sites include Harbour Crescent in Portishead, Somerset; Cooksey Road and Minster Drive in Small Heath, Birmingham; While Court, Marina Court and While Road in Sutton Coldfield; Mercia House in Ashford, Surrey; Clements Way in Liverpool; and Stafford Street, Bedminster.

Brett Williams, Managing Director of Principle, explained the new contracts involved taking over from seven different managing agents following an extensive review carried out by E&M.

Mr Williams said: “I have worked with E&M since 2001 and it is fantastic to have this longstanding relationship continue.

“Our mobilisation team are managing the handovers from previous agents and our property management team led by Principle’s Operations Manager, Ian Smallman, are visiting all the new sites and residents. I am certain they will soon settle into management at these developments.”

Emma Graham, Portfolio Manager at E&M said:

“We have an important role as custodians of the developments in which our leaseholders or their tenants live. It is our policy to employ firms that are comprised of experienced property professionals with technical, compliance and leading customer service skills who we and our leaseholders have confidence in.

“We are assured that Principle meets all these requirements and look forward to seeing them in action.”

A further full-time property inspector has been recruited to join Principle Estate Management to help manage the company’s fast-growing portfolio.

Matt Hill’s new role was created after the number of developments the Birmingham-based company manages across the country reached more than 150 since its launch in spring 2018.

Principle’s property inspection team is already using the MRI Qube site inspection app to make thorough inspections of all properties, normally every six weeks for all apartment developments.

Mr Hill has worked at two national managing agents and has spent the last two-and-a-half years as a property inspector.

Ian Smallman, a director at Principle, said: “We’re delighted to have appointed Matt to our growing team. He has just the right experience and an excellent attitude to detail.”

Mr Smallman explained that Principle’s bespoke surveys ensure full quality checks, looking at building conditions for long-term property maintenance planning, identifying any reactive or proactive maintenance requirements and checking the quality of any recently carried out repairs.

The inspections also monitor standards of services such as cleaning and grounds maintenance, and check compliance issues for health and safety, and fire regulations.

The Qube app surveys are immediately fed back into Principle’s office system, with pdf-style reports available to clients, flagging up any maintenance issues for the office team to instruct contractors.

He added: “We see many agents not undertaking routine inspections when we take over existing developments. We feel it’s a good solution to have dedicated property inspectors and are pleased Matt is joining us to improve visibility for our customers.”

Mr Hill said: “I’m thrilled to be working for Principle which is making such an impact in the managed properties sector. Undertaking inspections is an important part of the overall property management function, and I look forward to helping Principle’s quality expansion.”

Mr Smallman added that as well as regular inspections property managers also visit their developments, but that this can then be to meet someone to discuss or inspect something specific.

He said: “Matt’s experience as a property inspector means he will quickly pick up the new job and make a swift impact on our expanding portfolio. We’re all about high standards and Matt makes a great fit in our ever-expanding team of quality people.”

A national property operator has appointed Principle Estate Management to manage more than 160 flats across the Midlands.

The major new contract has come from Simarc Property Management Ltd, the expanding management arm of the Wallace Group, which now owns 106,000 leasehold properties.

Simarc has already commissioned Principle to manage multiple developments, including hundreds of other flats in London, the West Midlands and south England, and a plush development of apartments each worth more than £1.5 million on America Street in London.

Following its success with these properties, Simarc has now instructed Principle to start managing another four large developments by the end of this year.

These include 100 flats at Benbow Quay in Shrewsbury, 39 flats at Union Place and 18 flats at Emo Court, both in Birmingham, and six flats on Persehouse Street in Walsall.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, explained that the new contracts involved taking over from three different managing agents as Simarc continued to refine their panel of agents.

He said: “We’re thrilled that Simarc is continuing to instruct us on properties. We enjoy working with them as they like property management to be carried out properly and that’s what we’re all about.”

Natalie Chambers, director at Simarc, said: “We’ve been impressed with Principle’s care and attention on the first two waves of contracts we’ve awarded them, and so we had no hesitation on awarding them this third contract.

“We take our role as long term custodians of the buildings we own extremely seriously.  We have a responsibility to the leaseholders and residents of those buildings and insist on only using quality managing agents.

“We want to make sure that our agents provide outstanding service to our customers, and Principle has quickly shown us that it can be relied on to deliver that.”

A major national freeholder has appointed Principle Estate Management to look after 12 sites across the Midlands and north-west.

The new contract follows the success of Principle’s first instruction from Pier Management, the asset management subsidiary of the national freeholder Regis Group, to look after its properties in the Bristol area.

Daniel Harrison, managing director of Pier Management, said: “We have high standards for our property management as we take our responsibilities as freeholder very seriously.

“We therefore like owner-managed businesses, where our instructions matter to them, and we insist on agents regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Association of Residential Managing Agents.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, explained the majority of the new sites were in its core area of the East and West Midlands, while the one in the north-west was close to another site it looked after just north of Blackpool.

Mr Williams said: “We’re delighted that the successful handling of our first contract with Pier Management has resulted in this additional work.

“We handle all types of property management for a variety of client types and have found that freeholders are becoming much more discerning about the agents on their panels.

“This means that historic relations are now only relevant if the current management is up to scratch.

“We have set ourselves up to manage properties properly and are continually looking to improve our service.”

He added: “It’s really rewarding to receive these frequent instructions from professional freeholders who we hold in high regard.”

The new sites include developments in West Bromwich; Walsall; Tamworth; Birmingham; and Brierley Hill all in the West Midlands.

Other sites are further afield and are in: Narborough, Leicestershire; Telford; Rugby;  Market Drayton, Shropshire; Worcester; and Nuneaton.

New estate gates have been fitted, long-term arrears collected and financial accounts brought up to standard at a Birmingham apartment block, thanks to Principle Estate Management.

The complex set of problems was faced after freeholder Peter Jennings Ltd appointed Principle to look after the apartments at Hawthorn Drive in Selly Oak last autumn.

But swift action by various experts at Principle meant it successfully solved all issues within 12 months – to the satisfaction of everyone involved.

Danielle Lannon, Senior Property Manager, at Principle, said: “Although the client had obtained prices for complete gates replacement, we advised them of the need for a Section 20 consultation with all leaseholders when considering expenditure on major works.

“We followed this procedure, serving all relevant notices with explanatory letters, and received full support from all apartment owners.

“This allowed us to commission the fabrication and installation of new gates, and to reinstate the intercom system which had not been used for some years.”

Principle also tackled a case of long-term arrears and, after discussions with the leaseholder and following strict credit control process, it instructed solicitors for debt recovery and successfully obtained the funds.

Mrs Lannon said: “Swift action was needed on this matter as just one case of non-payment in a small development can really hamper progress.”

Separately, Principle discovered that Hawthorn Drive’s annual accounts and budgeting were not arranged properly and quickly brought these up to standard.

Mrs Lannon said: “Our business development and integration team always thoroughly reviews legal documents when taking over a development, which meant we could advise the client on what was required.”

Peter Jennings Ltd is a second-generation construction business in Kings Heath now run by brothers Mark and Andrew. They built Hawthorn Drive and retained the freehold once individual units were sold off on long leases.

Andrew Jennings said: “I’m really impressed with what Principle have done in less than 12 months and following a difficult start at Hawthorn Drive with no funds, large arrears and a major works project to undertake.

“They worked swiftly and efficiently to solve all the problems and I’d recommend their services to any other freeholder who needs management they can rely on.”

Mrs Lannon of Principle added: “Dealing with a development like Hawthorn Drive with several overlapping problems requires careful thought and a strategic approach to unpick all the issues.

“Because of the skills we have at Principle we are able to tackle difficult cases and make a real difference to clients and customers, which is really rewarding.”

A former warehouse for exotic silks and textiles that’s now used as a restaurant and wine bar with 14 apartments above is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The Tapestry Building at 16 New Street, opposite Liverpool Street Station in London, was formerly known as the Old Bengal Warehouse, and dates back to the 18th century.

The property is part of the landmark Devonshire Square development, a collection of historic buildings that now forms a popular social, trading and residential development.

The high-profile new contract has come from Simarc Property Management Ltd, the expanding management arm of the Wallace Group, which now owns 106,000 leasehold properties.

Simarc has already appointed Principle Estate Management to manage multiple developments, including hundreds of flats in London, the West Midlands and south England.

The new contract comes after unhappy residents requested new management for the building.

Natalie Chambers, director at Simarc, said: “We wanted an independent agent with flexibility and wide a ranging skillset to look after buildings like this for us and our leaseholders.

“Due to the circumstances, this one is moving at very short notice and we know that Principle will be able to get mobilised quickly, making contact with all relevant parties.

“We know from our existing relationship with Principle that they take their role seriously and will get quality resolution to issues quickly and efficiently.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “This is a special building which has a complicated management structure and we were appointed because of our experience in high value, mixed tenure and mixed use buildings.

“I met with a residents’ working group prior to appointment and we are already dealing with a number of inherited issues which require resolution via detailed liaison between residents, the freeholder and their agent.

“Taking over historical buildings is becoming a bit of a theme for us, as they need special attention and an individual approach.

“I became a surveyor because I loved buildings from an early age, and while most of my work is actually dealing with people rather than buildings, there are some that make you feel proud to be associated with and The Tapestry Building is certainly one of them.”

Principle Estate Management has had to relocate onto a new floor in its Birmingham headquarters after tripling the space it needed after just 18 months.

The company initially bought five desks for its city centre office when it was launched in spring 2018 by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood, and a past-chairman of ARMA.

But it quickly became the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management business, and now has well over 150 developments where it manages nearly 3,500 units across the country.

This swift growth saw Principle double its space in the same building in the spring of this year, taking two rooms and they purchased another five desks.

Now the business has had to move into an even bigger space on a new floor to fit 11 desks in the main operations room with a further office for three additional desks, plus a conference room and private working space.

Mr Williams said: “We felt we were being optimistic at the start when we bought five desks, but Principle’s early success outpaced our ambitions.

“We once again thought we were being optimistic when we doubled the number of desks to fill the room we were renting, but quickly filled the space.

“Quite simply – including a temp, our consultants and our field-based property inspectors – we have recruited at a rate of one person per month since the doors opened, and will soon have 18 staff members.

“Our reputation, new contracts and resulting revenues have been growing so fast that we have been forward recruiting so that we can provide the service levels we aspire to.

“We’re delighted with our new space as it enables staff to all sit in the right teams, and Principle really is a substantial national business now.”

Mr Williams revealed that Principle’s entire set-up costs has been put into a shortened first financial period to close out losses, and that management accounts for the second period of a full 12 months were already showing reasonable profits for a start-up business.

He said: “When we launched, we hoped we would have approximately 1,000 flats under management within 12 months and expected most to have a Birmingham postcode, with all being in the West Midlands.

“However, the reality is that we are very close to achieving our next milestone of 3,500 units under management which are mostly flats and apartments, but also some pure ground rent collections, residential rented and commercial properties. Our pipeline of confirmed instructions will make that target a reality very soon.

“More importantly, the geographical spread is fully across the country, with properties in every region of England, except for the north-east and currently excluding Yorkshire & The Humber, although we do have some current enquiries in the latter.”

Mr Williams explained that Principle’s fast expansion has been made possible, in part, by the decision to invest heavily in technology to automate routine processes and administration, freeing up staff to communicate with clients every day.

He added: “While technology is one part of the equation, what really gets things done is our great team of personnel who share our vision to provide a first class service.

“The fourth quarter of 2019 will see us increase our portfolio again by over 25%. This growth is due to our reputation and connections, and we really do appreciate the clients who continue to instruct us.”

An experienced property manager has become the fifteenth staff member at Principle Estate Management as the business continues its fast growth.

Melanie Hunt has spent five years building up extensive knowledge of the sector after taking a BA (Hons) in Business Enterprise at University College Birmingham.

Ms Hunt’s new role comes as Principle continues as the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management business 18 months after its launch, with well over 100 developments across the country.

In addition, the company is taking on another 30 sites about to go live during the fourth quarter of the year across the greater Midlands, following instructions to manage additional properties by several freeholder clients.

Ian Smallman, Principle’s director heading property management operations, said: “We’re delighted to have attracted someone of the experience and calibre of Melanie, and are sure she will quickly fit into our growing team.

“We take recruitment very seriously here at Principle, making sure we have personnel in place ahead of the properties going live to maintain the excellent standard of management we strive to provide

“So many agents do this the other way around and start off by under-delivering to new clients, whereas we have been keeping our eyes open for the right property manager to join our team ahead of the work landing.”

In her new role, Ms Hunt will manage the service charges of a number of residential blocks, quickly building relationships with residents and dealing with all their queries and correspondence.

This will include appointing and managing contractors when needed to ensure any repairs are quickly and safely attended to.

Principle are supporting her while she gains extra qualifications from the Institute of Residential Property Management.

Ms Hunt said: “I was attracted to Principle because of their growing reputation for providing excellent customer service and I was keen to be part of that.

“When I met Ian, I was impressed with Principle’s operational structure and use of systems to drive efficiency and create more time for personnel to deal with customers.

“I’m now looking forward to joining the team and getting involved in the portfolio.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in 2018 by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham, and a past-chairman of ARMA.

Mr Williams said: “Our ongoing growth means we must continue to recruit, and Melanie was just what we look for in our property managers.

“Our clients like to see us as an owner-managed business where directors remain in close contact with the portfolio and employ managers with the right balance of technical skills and customer service attitude.”

Principle Estate Management is to look after two prestige property developments in London on behalf of a major freeholder client.

The contract includes Sawmill Studios at 19 Parr Street, close to Regents Canal in trendy Islington.

This include two commercial units on the ground floor and basement levels, and 24 residential apartments which sell for nearly £1m and rent for nearly £3,000 a month.

The second property is Crown Apartments at 45 Westholme Gardens in Ruislip, made up of 24 residential units worth up to £500,000 each and a commercial property on the ground floor.

Principle won the contract from a client which purchased the recently built developments last year as part of a portfolio.

Ian Smallman, director of Principle, said after a review it was decided a more agile agent was needed who could take over at short notice and with limited handover information.

He said: “We are delighted to have been approached to take on these two sites by one of our freeholder clients.

“Principle confirmed instructions on the same day that we were approached, and our Qube data system was set up with the client, property, resident and lease details the very next day.

“We contacted several residents ahead of the handover and held the first meeting on site within two weeks of instruction.

“We are now collecting all asset information from inspections and will ensure all items are under maintenance contracts and any statutory or best practice testing regimes are up to date.

“We had to move quickly due to the circumstances with the previous agent and it was great to demonstrate that we can do that.”

Mr Smallman added: “These are both lovely sites and we are looking forward to working with residents to get the properties settled into new management.”

Crown Apartments

Principle Estate Management has appointed an apprentice property assistant to work in its customer services department as the business continues to grow after 18 months of operations.

Owen Judd’s new role was created after the number of developments the Birmingham-based company manages across the country reached more than 100 since its launch in spring 2018.

Mr Judd, a keen football fan and player who also serves as a support coach with a local football club, will study for a business administration qualification as part of his apprenticeship.

The role includes a range of activities to help look after the properties Principle manages, particularly focusing on front-end customer services, taking calls and responding to emails from residents and dealing with their enquiries to organise repairs and maintenance.

Michelle Cox, customer services manager at Principle, said: “We’re delighted to have appointed Owen as an apprentice.

“He was a very positive candidate at interview and we feel he will fit into our team very well.”

Mr Judd said: “I’m really grateful for the opportunity to work with a growing business in the professional services sector while working towards a business administration qualification.”

Principle Estate Management is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

It was launched in 2018 by Brett Williams, a chartered surveyor and a past-chairman of the Association of Residential Managing Agents.

Mr Williams said: “I have previous experience of having apprentices and generally found it really beneficial and rewarding to see them flourish in a business environment.

“Most were retained and offered full time permanent roles at the end of the apprenticeship.”

Principle used Protocol Consultancy Services to source candidates for the apprenticeship role.

A £32,000 bill for major lift repairs at an office and apartment block in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter was 96% covered by insurance after prompt action by Principle Estate Management.

Principle was appointed last autumn to manage the four-storey Altitude building on Powell Street knowing there were some immediate issues – including the broken lift.

The problem was quickly reviewed, insurance claims made for the repairs and the contractors commissioned, resulting in a working lift and happy clients.

Ian Smallman, operations director at Principle, said: “This was the first time we’d ever taken on a development where the lift was out of order following an escape of water – a severe issue that needed focused management.

“A leak from the tank room next door had damaged the electrical equipment and motor which was sub-ground level beneath the lift shaft, as often the case in modern lifts.”

He explained how Principle quickly reviewed the issues and lodged notification of a potential claim on the freeholder’s buildings insurance, which hadn’t previously been done.

A specialist lift consultant’s report was then commissioned to detail the extent of the damage, a  quote was obtained from a lift maintenance company and the insurance claims process was managed.

Mr Smallman said: “We kept our client, the director of the management company, and all residents advised of progress, including the delay needed in works while specialist replacement parts were manufactured.

“We monitored works progress, liaising with the lift maintenance company, consultant and insurers all the way to recommissioning, including an independent lift inspection meeting relevant safety standards.

“The cost was more than £32,000 but insurance covered nearly 96% thanks to our careful management and claims, and all is now back in order.”

Margaret Cattell, a director at Altitude Property Management Company, said: “We’re delighted at how proactive Principle has been, not only on the significant issue of the lift but also various other more routine items.

“We would be happy to recommend them to other resident management companies looking for a specialist managing agent.”

Other issues tackled by Principle at the Altitude block in its first year of management include:

  • Planned replacement of post boxes for all 32 units.
  • New guttering, downpipes and other works to stop water cascading into the basement car park.
  • Appointment of new cleaners who now do a quarterly clean of staircase carpets.
  • Sorting out poor refuse and recycling collections.
  • Internal painting of internal staircase walls.
  • Plans for future redecoration of external rendering.
  • Frame adjustments to prevent recurring damage to a pedestrian gate.
  • Resolution of a long-standing electricity payment dispute.

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, added: “The directors of resident management companies rarely move the management of their development when things are running smoothly.

“We were pleased to have been able to successfully push through the reinstatement of the lift and feel that our approach has now won the trust of everyone at Altitude.”

Mr Williams is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a past-chairman of the Association of Residential Managing Agents.

Principle Estate Management has issued an 8-point plan for creating a proper tree management programme within the grounds of properties.

The initiative comes after the Birmingham-based company had to act for one of its clients which had mislaid the tree plan for one of its large sites. The simple plan includes:

  1. Survey – Commissioning a survey from a qualified arboriculturalist (tree specialist) in accordance with the latest standards (BS5837:2012) to produce a plan.
  2. Site Plan – Making sure this referenced site plan shows the location of each tree within the development, with a description of species, height, spread and condition.
  3. Quotes – Obtaining prices for any works recommended by the arboriculturalist.
  4. Review – Carrying out an inspection and review every two-to-three years.
  5. Budget – Ensuring the estimated costs are included in annual budgets to deal with works when required.
  6. Engagement – Agreeing works with the property client and discussing with residents.
  7. Consideration – Further consultation and engagement with residents when considering replanting.
  8. Recycling – Dealing with any chippings – either using in gardens as mulch or compost, or removing from the site.

 

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “We all love trees, especially mature ones. They’re not only aesthetically pleasing but are an essential part of ecosystem, usefully taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

“There are millions of important trees in UK cities and towns, including hundreds of thousands in gardens such as the communal grounds around blocks of flats, housing all sorts of wildlife like birds, insects and bats.

“But trees in our managed areas are not necessarily in a natural habitat and so we need to manage them, as we cannot leave them to grow wild if we want the best from them and the best for them.

“Tree surgery is not cheap, as it’s specialist work that needs to be undertaken by skilled qualified contractors, and therefore estate managers need to research, plan and budget properly to do this both legally and successfully.”

Mr Williams explained how earlier this year Principle dealt with the large site in Edgbaston, Birmingham where the client had lost the tree plan.

He said: “We located the consultant and obtained a copy report, discovering that works were due.

“One tree had deteriorated and needed to be felled as soon as possible, while other works also needed to be undertaken.

“We needed consent from the city council as the site was within a conservation area, and the space was also within the Calthorpe Estate which meant we needed their consent too.”

Mr Williams said that if an estate manager can show it is actively managing tree maintenance works – including removal where required – it was not normally a problem with local authorities and other bodies.

This still means carrying out works properly, including formal consultation processes, selection of appropriate contractors, taking their insurances, risk assessments and methods into account.

He added: “Most importantly, estate managers should have a replanting plan, one which carefully considers future heights, shapes and spreads, the speed of growth to maturity, proximity to buildings, roads and paths, and even leaf, flower and fruit colours.

“In the case of our Edgbaston client, we are planting around a dozen trees this autumn, mostly British natives which will fit in with the general parkland planting style, but also a couple of other specimens for added interest.

“This tree planning and maintenance is just another example of specialist matters that managing agents need to consider as part of their daily jobs where the usual rules apply: be aware of issues, get specialist advice, and consult with all stakeholders.”

Mr Williams is a Chartered Surveyor and a past-chairman of ARMA.

A contract to look after 52 luxury mansion apartments in five buildings near Birmingham city centre has been won by Principle Estate Management.

The impressive 1930s-style properties at Kenilworth Court sit behind a gated driveway off the Hagley Road in leafy Edgbaston.

They have many original features such as the original lifts and enjoy large gardens with plenty of mature trees.

Ian Smallman, a director at Principle and the lead on the Kenilworth Court contract, said: “We’re delighted to have won this contract to look after such impressive properties.

“Edgbaston and its exclusive properties have become a real focus for us as our reputation for handling large, older properties with real care spreads.

“Kenilworth Court is over 50% sublet, and so we needed to show how we understood and could meet the needs of a variety of stakeholders at the property.

“We have a wealth of experience in dealing with large and complex developments in Birmingham and across the country and are looking forward to making sure they receive the best ongoing attention.”

The right to manage company carried out a full tendering process and chose Principle because of its growing reputation for managing complex properties and its expert knowledge of the apartment block sector. The Kenilworth Court instruction follows on from Principle winning the management of a number of other developments in Edgbaston, including Viceroy Close, another 1930’s mansion style development.

Mark Hodgkins, of Kenilworth Court, said: “Principle was considered the obvious choice on ability and the enthusiasm to get on with the job.

“We were impressed by Ian’s enthusiasm to get involved in required major works and his understanding that repairs should be undertaken with sympathy to the properties original features.

“Principle’s established reputation for solid financial management was also a crucial deciding factor as we need sympathetic but robust debt collection and careful budgeting of resources to fund ongoing maintenance and improvements.”

Principle Estate Management has appointed a second property inspector to help keep a close eye on its fast-growing portfolio.

Benedict Williams’ new role was created after the number of developments the Birmingham-based company manages across the country reached more than 100 since its launch in spring 2018.

Mr Williams and fellow property inspector Angela Locke are using the Qube site inspection app to make thorough inspections of all properties on a controlled frequency.

Their role also includes meeting contractors and residents on site when needed to review standards or discuss repairs.

Ian Smallman, director at Principle, said: “It is great to have Benedict on board with us and he will be a very safe pair of hands.

“He has very good attention to detail, is highly trained in First Aid and so is health and safety conscious, and is very personable and happy to meet with residents and contractors.

“It’s important to ensure that all of Principle’s sites are visited in accordance with the contract as a minimum, with additional inspections as required.

“We see many agents not undertaking routine inspections when we take over existing developments which is easily identifiable by attendance sheets.

“We feel it’s a good solution to have a dedicated team of property inspectors and Benedict is the perfect fit to join Angela in this role.”

Principle routinely inspects properties in line with management agreements, mostly on a six-weekly frequency although some are monthly or quarterly.

The bespoke surveys ensure full quality checks, looking at building conditions for long-term property maintenance planning, identifying any reactive or proactive maintenance requirements and checking the quality of any recently carried out repairs.

The inspections also monitor standards of services such as cleaning and grounds maintenance, and check compliance issues for health and safety, and fire regulations.

The Qube app surveys are immediately fed back into Principle’s office system, with pdf-style reports available to clients, flagging up any maintenance issues for the office team to instruct contractors.

Mr Williams’ background includes studying music at Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham, and he still continues to play bass, acoustic guitar, and the keyboard, as well as singing.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Principle, which has already built a fine reputation for making inspections a key part of the overall property management function.

“Having a close and trusted relationship with clients is an important aspect of a job to me, and I look forward to helping develop this quality at Principle.”

Principle Estate Management has appointed a Compliance Manager to its staff as the business continues to expand.

Rebecca Gibson joins the company from JB Leitch Solicitors in Liverpool, a law firm that specialises in property management, where she was a senior account manager.

She started in April 2014 as a legal assistant after taking a law degree at the University of Liverpool and has since built up extensive knowledge of the sector.

Ms Gibson’s new role at Principle will include ensuring systems are fully up to date to record all assets on every development.

She will make certain that any testing and maintenance regimes comply with statutory or best practice requirements, that they are tendered, contracted, diarised and undertaken, and that any reports are acted upon.

Ms Gibson will also be involved in management of credit control and client reporting.

Ian Smallman, operations director at Principle, said: “We’re delighted to have appointed Becky and we are sure she will be a quality addition to our expanding team.

“Tracking and reporting on assets at our developments is crucial, especially because many modern developments are becoming increasingly complicated.

“More and more clients want us not only to actively manage their developments but to also report that we are doing so, and Becky will be responsible for reviewing and overseeing this process.”

Ms Gibson, who has recently moved to the Midlands, said: “With my law degree and background I am well placed to take on this role. I have learnt a lot over the last five years and am grateful for that opportunity.  I am now looking forward to this next career challenge.”

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, added: “Becky is the perfect fit for this role and she is used to reporting to clients with high standards.

“We’re now looking forward to further enhancing our client offering by using Becky’s specialist knowledge and experience.”

A new government guide created for people living in or thinking of buying a leasehold property has been praised by experts at Principle Estate Management.

The guide, entitled “How to lease”, is published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and explains leaseholders’ rights and responsibilities, what questions to ask, and how to get help if things go wrong.

Ian Smallman, a director at Birmingham-based Principle, said: “We welcome the clarity and usefulness of this new guide which is exactly what existing, new and would-be leaseholders need.

“There has been a lot of talk about the leasehold sector over the last few years with several government consultations on different aspects, and it’s good news that the information gathered has been used so efficiently.

“This easy-to-understand guide will be really helpful in what can be a confusing sector that uses lots of specialist jargon and involves so much detailed legislation.

“Here at Principle, we already try to ensure our communications are in clear, plain English and are always happy to explain legislative and best practice requirements to our customers.

“The government should be praised for taking the time to carefully create and publish this ‘How to lease’ guide which will complement our efforts.”

Principle is an associate of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (AMRA), is regulated by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and employs Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) qualified staff.

Mr Smallman, who himself sits on the IRPM’s Leasehold Working Group, added: “Principle is set up to manage leasehold properties properly whether that be for developers, freeholders or resident management companies.

“We have a wealth of experience and are committed to making this simple to understand for all our clients.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in 2018 by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham, and a past-chairman of AMRA.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

The way you treat suppliers is crucial to the success of your business. Joe Jobson, director and shareholder of Principle Estate Management, explains why.

 

We’ve all come across the poor reputations of the average “white van man”: scruffy vehicles, poor driving, wolf-whistling at work and rude to anyone who challenges him.

But if you treat your suppliers or sub-contractors as unimportant or unnecessary, that’s often the way they will end up behaving.

That’s why here at Principle Estate Management we pride ourselves on treating them as important partners and extensions of our own business. And as a result, they behave like proud members of our team.

It’s not a simple process, however, and there are several key steps to make sure you achieve that kind of relationship with your suppliers.

 

1/ Background details. Here at Principle, we start by carefully vetting all suppliers and requiring a comprehensive application form to be completed with supporting documents.

We then review these details before adding them to our system – and before any work is undertaken.

Strictly following this system enables us to diarise important factors such as the expiry date of a supplier’s public liability insurance – and no new orders are raised if this is out of date.

The same background system records the precise types of trade provided and the areas of operation a supplier can undertake.

Treating such details carefully is quickly noticed by the contractors themselves, and as a result we find they immediately up their game if needed. They know we care about their quality, and therefore they make sure they deliver it.

This matters because our soft services, such as cleaning and grounds maintenance, are seen every day by residents, who are our end-customers, and we want them to know that contractors are important to us.

 

2/ In-depth knowledge. We maintain a dialogue with all our contractors, including regular meetings with those we use a lot, as we feel you need to know your contractors as well as you know your properties, clients and customers.

This knowledge then enables us to match the right contractor to the relevant development.

It’s not just Principle which makes this decision: it’s important to discuss contractor selections with clients, especially with residential management company directors.

Also, a slightly different contractor selection process is needed when dealing with major works or qualifying long-term agreements, where formal consultation is required under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

But wherever possible, we try to use local, environmentally friendly and reactive contractors, as we’ve found that residents prefer this.

At times, we can also obtain good prices by using larger contractors, and this can be quite effective for testing types of works rather than maintenance works, for example the testing of lightning conductors.

In terms of knowing what works are required, our internal IT systems swing into action by creating an asset register at each property level, listing all items on each site which require a testing or maintenance regime to comply with statutory or best practice requirements.

This means that after tendering the contract an order is placed, and once we know which contractor we’re using the system will confirm the inspection dates, which are then diarised.

 

3/ Swift payments. Another way we treat our contractors properly is to pay them all on a weekly basis. There’s no way we ever want any of our suppliers chasing a monthly bill that’s weeks overdue.

Paying promptly might create extra administration for us, but we know that it means we have happy suppliers who then have the cashflows to pay their own staff on time.

A lot of the suppliers we use are small businesses and they really appreciate this – and have commented on it directly to us.

 

4/ Feedback. Talking of comments, we take what our suppliers say very seriously. We recently conducted an anonymous online survey of all our suppliers to ask how they felt about the way Principle treats them, and the results were really encouraging.

As many as 68% said we were ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’ at giving feedback on quotes submitted where they were unsuccessful in getting a particular job. No-one said we were ‘Poor’ or ‘Very poor’, although 32% said we were only ‘Fair’ and so we have made an internal commitment to improve our feedback in this area.

Over 90% said we were ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’ when asked if we paid invoices promptly. We were pleased with this response.

We were rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’ by 65% of contractors at asking them to deal with matters using their full range of services, while 32% rated us as ‘Fair’. We have now reviewed our system to make sure staff understand the full range of services contractors can provide so that we can use them when needed.

When asked to rate how good we are at asking contractors to deal with matters within their core operating area, over 85% rated us as ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’. Again, we have had an internal review to make sure we use contractors more fully as our business continues to grow.

Over 85% of respondents stated that we are ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’ at providing full and correct access details and contact details with our purchase orders. This is sometimes a difficult issue to manage when full access details are not provided to us when we first take a development into management.

Here are just a few selections of quotes from the survey:

  • “We have found that working with yourselves is a good experience, with easy lines of communication and understanding of the works involved, which is vast improvement on other managing agents we work with.”
  • I work for many property management companies and I feel that Principle is one of the best to deal with. I always receive a prompt response and any queries are taken seriously.”
  • “If only other management companies we deal with run this smoothly.”
  • “A pleasure to deal with.”
  • “You are a very professional operation and we enjoy supporting you with our services.”
  • “Overall, I feel that Principle are an approachable and professional company, and it is a pleasure to deal with all members of senior management, and office staff.”

5/ Constant improvement. While we are pleased with the survey responses from our contractors, we quickly identified several “working on” area which we now have in hand.

Aiming to improve is an important principle in all areas of our business – and that includes the way we treat our suppliers and contractors.

Principle will continue to strive to have excellent contractor relationships because the end result is beneficial to customers in the many developments we manage.

And treating suppliers properly means we’ll never end up with any damaging ‘white van man’ experiences on any of the estates we manage.

We’re delighted to publish our first newsletter.

Please click link below to open.

Principle Summer Newsletter 2019

An accountant with nearly two decades of experience has been appointed as finance manager at Principle Estate Management as the business continues to expand.

Paul Richardson, who has spent the last 18 years as financial controller at Jobson James Insurance Brokers, will be overseeing all clients’ accounts in his new role.

This will include managing service charge budgets, the sales and purchase ledgers, credit control and invoicing for rents insurance and service charges.

Mr Richardson, who’s an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, will also be finalising annual service charge accounts and handling all client reporting.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “We’ve been looking for the right person to join our existing team of staff and consultants, and we’re thrilled to have recruited Paul as finance manager.

“Finance is the engine room of property management and adding Paul’s skills to our team will allow our personnel to be comforted that we can provide the highest standard of service to our customers.”

Mr Richardson, who lives in Harborne, said: “I have been aware of Principle for some time and am delighted to take up the opportunity of being part of such a dynamic team.”

“I am looking forward to helping make a real difference as the business continues to grow.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in 2018 by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham, and a past-chairman of AMRA.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

It has become the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management business just over a year after its launch, managing over 100 developments across the country.

Residents at a modern block of flats near RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire have appointed Principle Estate Management to look after their property.

Wilkinson Place in Witney, built in 2006, houses a mixture of owner-occupiers and rental tenants, and they have awarded the contract through their own Tower Hill Management Company.

Principle will commence management from December, also delivering administration services for the management company, acting as its company secretary and providing it with a registered office address.

A spokesman for Tower Hill Management Company said: “We wanted a new managing agent that would work closely with us and get items like planned maintenance done quickly and efficiently, and we feel confident that Principle can provide that service.”

Joe Jobson, director of Principle, said that once the full handover from the previous agent had been completed, there would be an assessment of the financial position and a 100-day management plan for the 30-unit property.

He said: “We’re pleased to have been instructed by the residents’ management company as we’re keen to show that we don’t just act for freeholders.

“We’ll be working closely with the residents to ensure that everyone’s views and all outstanding issues are included, as Wilkinson Place needs a proper budget review and a long-term maintenance plan.

“Once that’s done, we will then start work on strategic issues such as external redecoration and replacement of front door area.

“We take great satisfaction in investing time and seeing schemes that have been unloved come back up to standard.

“It’s worth investing time in the site in the early days to show clients and customers that we are proactive and prepared to do all that is required.”

Principle Estate Management was launched a year ago by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

New government proposals for far-reaching changes to the way property agents are regulated, trained and licensed have been welcomed by Principle Estate Management.

The comments follow the publication of a report from the Regulation of Property Agents working party, set up last year by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

Chaired by Lord Richard Best, the report’s key recommendations, which cover letting agents, sales agents (including auctioneers) and managing agents, include:

  • property agents to be regulated by an independent regulator;
  • a new licensing regime for all agents;
  • codes of practice setting out clear standards of behaviour;
  • mandatory qualifications for staff working in the sector;
  • transparency of leaseholder and freeholder charges
  • assurance and enforcement under the new system; and
  • a single ombudsman for property agents to settle any disputes.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “Our company was based on having the highest standards, and so we warmly welcome these recommendations to regulate the whole sector.

“I personally know Lord Best from when he was chair of the property committee of a large charity which was a previous client, and I feel confident in the impressive detail of his proposals.

“I spoke with him at a breakfast briefing a couple of months ago and know how driven he has been to get these recommendations right for the whole industry, and I look forward to seeing them enacted by the government.”

Mr Williams’ comments come as Lord Best’s proposals were praised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Sean Tompkins, chief executive of RICS, said: “Housing is central to the welfare of society, so ensuring consistent minimum standards across the sector for agents is vital to upholding the public interest.

“That’s why the RICS congratulates Lord Best, working group members and the Ministry for these sound recommendations.”

Other industry bodies warmly backing Lord Best’s report include the Institute of Residential Property Management, the Association of Residential Letting Agents and the National Landlords Association.

Mr Williams added: “The fact that every serious organisation in the sector has welcomed these proposals reflects on both how impressive they are and how badly they are needed.

“We now look forward to a wholescale transformation of the industry as a result, and Principle will be determined to be leading the way in how responsible property companies should be operating.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in 2018 by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has become the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management business just over a year after its launch.

The company opened for business in May 2018 at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham – although it has a growing portfolio of properties in London, the south east, south west, south and north of England, as well as across the Midlands.

From a standing start, the business now manages over 100 developments across the country with its next milestone being 3,500 units, with many more in the pipeline.

Brett Williams, founder and managing director at Principle, said: “This fast expansion has been made possible, in part, by the decision to invest heavily from day one in technology to automate routine processes and administration, freeing up staff to communicate with clients on a daily basis.”

Principle is a new business only in name, as Mr Williams and fellow directors Joe Jobson and Ian Smallman, together with the team they have built around them over the past year, have many decades of experience in residential property management between them.

Mr Williams himself has managed some of the highest profile developments in the Midlands and across the UK, experience which helped Principle win numerous contracts to look after some stunning residential properties during its first year of operations.

One of most interesting was a new development made up of 14 of Birmingham’s most expensive apartments at Bristol Court on the Bristol Road in Edgbaston. These are luxury two and three bedroomed apartments each worth up to £495,000 and were built to extremely high specifications on the site of a former Victorian hotel.

Asad Adras, project manager and consultant for the Turner Consultancy, which appointed Principle to look after Bristol Court, said: “We wanted a unique managing agent that could fulfil the expectations of purchasers at such a flagship development.

“We knew we required both proactive management and an agent that really cares and could provide top quality service. Principle is staffed by experienced chartered surveyors and that gave me comfort of a superior, long-term service for the benefit of all occupiers.”

Another outstanding development which Principle won the contract to manage was Viceroy Close, a collection of 162 mansion flats that are considered to be the finest pre-World War II apartment blocks in Birmingham.

These exclusive units vary from one to five bedrooms across eight buildings on an eight acre site in Edgbaston, and were built in 1937 to a design by Mitchell and Bridgwater in conjunction with Gollins and Smeeton.

Ray Dickinson, chairman of Viceroy Close Residents’ Association, said: “Principle has been selected based on its impressive and growing reputation.

“We were impressed with Principle’s tangible proposal to care for our development as much as we do and to work with us formulating a strategic plan, as the development approaches 100 years of age.

“We feel reassured that the company is run by chartered surveyors with a real love for buildings, expert knowledge of the sector and who are prepared to provide a bespoke service tailored to suit unique properties.”

Down in London, Principle won the contract to manage a collection of apartments each worth more than £1.5 million on America Street, just off Southwark Bridge Road near the Tate Modern art gallery.

This was part of a major new national contract awarded by Simarc Property Management Ltd, which has commissioned Principle to manage a portfolio of developments in the last year.

Other properties in this portfolio include mixed-use developments on Poland Street, off Oxford Street in trendy Soho, Hamond Square, near Hackney’s renowned Hoxton Street market and on the Old Brompton Road, in the prestigious Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Natalie Chambers, director of Simarc, said: “We’ve been impressed with Principle’s care and attention. We want to make sure that our agents provide outstanding service to our customers, and Principle has quickly shown us that it can be relied on to deliver that.”

Referring to some of the highest profile contract wins, Mr Williams added: “We’re flattered but not surprised at the new instructions, as we know our great team of experienced people on property management, finance and administration will deliver high performance services.”

Mr Williams insists on a hands-on involvement in property management, especially high value properties and special projects. His focus on business development comes from over 25 years of experience and a wealth of close contacts with freehold investors.

He oversees the majority of non-management work such as lease extensions on the ground rent portfolio, freehold ground rent investment deals and the selection of partners for outsourced specialist work such as that undertaken by building surveyors.

Most importantly, Mr Williams also runs the business strategy, governance, finance and promotion.

Among the 12 staff he’s recruited at Principle is director and shareholder Joe Jobson, who has a hands-on involvement in property management, particularly new build and conversion schemes from developers which are taken into management on a phased basis.

Mr Jobson also focuses on business development with property developers, freeholders and resident management companies, and oversees Principle’s residential rented properties.

Director and shareholder Ian Smallman’s main role as operations director sees him in charge of Principle’s property management department, and overseeing training, standards and service levels.

Mr Smallman is a widely respected property professional with many years’ experience in property management. He focuses on key client relationships and directly manages a selection of properties including our commercial multi-occupied properties.

Looking back at the fast growth of Principle, Mr Williams added: “I’m thrilled at how the business has quickly taken off, am delighted at how the size of our portfolio has grown beyond all expectations after just one year, and am very proud of the team we have quickly built within Principle.

“But most of all I’m energised by how closely we’ve kept to the crucial principles that were the foundations of Principle when the company was formed in early 2018.

“Principle is committed to being a customer-focused managing agent that provides a transparent service to the highest standards.

“The company is led by experienced Chartered Surveyors and property professionals. It was born out of a passion for ‘doing it right’ through a director-led but friendly approach, combined with robust systems that maximise efficiency.

“This means that Principle provides a service that we believe is the aspirational standard for other agents across the UK.”

Referring to Principle’s future plans, Mr Williams added: “As long as we stick to our principles and continue to deliver outstanding service to all our clients, I’m confident our business will carry on its impressive growth.”

Principle Estate Management has recruited a new property assistant for its customer services department as the business continues to grow after 12 months of operations.

Brett Williams launched Principle in Birmingham last year to provide a nationwide property management service and was quickly joined by directors Ian Smallman and Joe Jobson, with the business recruiting a total of 12 people in its first year.

One of these recruits was Michelle Cox who joined as customer services manager earlier this year, and after winning numerous new contracts Principle has now taken on Daniel Lannon.

Mr Lannon, from Cofton Hackett, had previously been working in the retail sector after graduating from Aberystwyth University with a 2:1 honours degree in 2015.

Ms Cox said: “We advertised locally for this role and had a number of applications, but Daniel stood out.

“It’s fantastic background to have retail experience for what is a customer service role here at Principle, plus Daniel’s good IT skills also made him the ideal candidate.”

Ian Smallman, director at Principle, added: “Principle has grown so rapidly that recruitment is now an ongoing item on our monthly agenda.

“We’re confident that Daniel is going to play his part in ensuring we continue to provide the outstanding customer service that we have become really well known for.”

Mr Lannon said: “I had been looking for a new challenge when this role came to my attention.

“It sounded exciting and something where I can use the soft skills I have learnt in retail and develop into a career as I learn about property maintenance and management.”

A contract to look after a large, modern and luxury development of 78 apartments in six buildings in Solihull has been won by Principle Estate Management.

The sought-after two and three bedroomed properties at Chancel Court were built by Taylor Wimpey in the early 2000s and are close to Solihull town centre and its train station.

The apartments lie within a private gated development and have landscaped grounds, surface level and underground parking, lifts serving each building and a pumped water system.

The Chancel Court Management Company Ltd chose Principle because of its growing reputation and expert knowledge of the apartment block sector.

Bernard Coles, chairman of the management company, said: “As a retired chartered surveyor myself, qualifications and experience were important factors to us when seeking our new managing agent.

“We wanted a firm we felt we could have a good and long-term working relationship with and feel we have made the right choice with Principle.”

Principle’s lead on the Chancel Court contract is senior property manager Danielle Randles, who has already met the management company directors.

Mr Coles added: “We met Danielle prior to selection and she demonstrated knowledge and keenness to work with us, and so we know she’ll be proactive and responsive to our buildings’ and residents’ needs.

Mr Coles explained Chancel Court was a well-run development but there had been frustrations at previous changes of property managers and lack of progress on action points from meetings.

The management company wanted a proactive and capable property manager from a well-regarded firm with knowledgeable personnel.

Prior to the management handover, Principle swiftly dealt with an automatic entrance gates problem to demonstrate its responsiveness and willingness to handle reactive maintenance issues.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “This is our fifth new residential development in Solihull we’ve taken into management in the last six months, in addition to a large commercial building.

“Solihull’s becoming a real growth area for us as our reputation spreads, and I know that Danielle – who has a positive approach to communications and getting things done – will do a fine job here.”

Ms Randles said: “This is a luxury development and one I am thrilled to be working on.

“I know I’ll have a good working relationship with the directors and together we will ensure Chancel Court is well maintained and is a great place to live.”

Principle Estate Management was launched a year ago by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has won a contract to look after 23 luxury apartments in three buildings on the border of two sought-after Birmingham suburbs.

The modern properties are based in a gated development called Cavendish Court which lies off Oakhill Close between Edgbaston and Harborne, which is becoming a growth area for Principle.

Cavendish Court (Edgbaston) Management Company Ltd wanted an agent which could oversee and take the lead on major works with a forward-thinking approach on planned maintenance and a proven customer service attitude.

Principle was selected and will now handle all property management issues and ongoing administrative duties for the management company, including acting as company secretary and providing the registered office.

A spokesman for the management company said: “After a through tendering process Principle’s professionalism and reputation provided the trust the management company needed.

“We were impressed with Principle’s clear desire to care for our development as much as we do and to work with us as their customers for some strategic planning.

“We fully believe they can push forward with the works required to maintain a building we are proud to live in.”

Joe Jobson, Principle’s lead director on the contract and an experienced chartered surveyor and estate management expert, said: “We’re delighted to be managing the properties at Cavendish Court.

“Our careful pre-contract planning ensured that we were able to hit the ground running with works and ensured prompt communication from the outset.

“We will be undertaking a full review of services provided and will work with the directors to ensure they and all tenants feel confident that we’re on top of all requirements.”

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management is to look after a block of flats in the Bedminster area of Bristol, a property hotspot, for a national freeholder.

The contract to manage the building on North Street is Principle’s first instruction from Pier Management, the Asset Management subsidiary of the national freeholder the Regis Group.

Daniel Harrison, managing director of Pier Management, said they had decided to appointed Principle because they knew the company managed other properties in the Bristol area.

He said: “Regulatory compliance remains a primary focus for the group which made appointing Principle an easy choice as they share this agenda. This is a people business and we know the directors who formed Principle and that they have set themselves up to manage properties to a high standard.”

“We prefer to use RICS Regulated or ARMA Managing Agents. It gives us comfort as a freeholder to know our assets are protected and the residents are looked after from a customer services point of view as well as a compliance aspect.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, explained that the company was already taking care of a large development of over 100 units in the regenerated Portishead district of Bristol, and so it was well placed to take on new business in the area.

He said: “It’s really pleasing for our business which is still in its first 12 months to have been instructed by yet another national freeholder.

“We’re confident of doing a good job on this site for the freeholder and residents alike, and we are hopeful it will be the first of many instructions from Pier Management.”

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to look after a range of apartments in a converted old schoolhouse in Walsall.

The School Lofts development is in The Butts area on Cecil Street, close to the famous Victorian park known as Walsall Arboretum near the town centre.

Principle will set the service charge budget at the 28-unit development, undertake inspections, arrange works and services, and issue final accounts, while the freeholder will continue to collect ground rent, arrange buildings insurance and other administrative matters.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “This is a delightful property to be looking after, and we love the fascinating name of ‘The Butts’, which apparently came from old rural times and was what locals called triangular fields that didn’t fit into the ploughing scheme.

“We’re pleased to add a further property to our growing portfolio.

“We’re looking forward to reviewing School Lofts, our second development of a converted school building, and aim to work closely with the residents to make a difference for our newest customers.”

Principle Estate Management was launched a year ago by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

A respected businessman and property investor has appointed Principle Estate Management to look after his stock – including a smart block of apartments in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

The deal is the third major contract in the prestigious city suburb that Principle has won.

The Square on the Square on Caroline Street, just off St Paul’s Square, was built in 2005 and contains 22 leasehold apartments.

Principle will collect ground rents, arrange full maintenance and administer service charges to leaseholders at the property. The appointment also includes rent collection for mixed use residential and retail premises on Oak Tree Lane in Selly Oak, Birmingham; and strategic advice on the development of the portfolio.

The client is Simon Cuthbertson, a well-known Chartered Accountant who trained in Birmingham at  BDO, before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers (Coopers & Lybrand) where he remained for 20 years, becoming a partner at the tender age of 28. This included a spell of nine years in Liberia dodging bullets during the military coup in 1980 and revelling in a variety of tropical diseases throughout – Birmingham never seemed so tame!!

Mr Cuthbertson, who now sits on the boards of various companies and has been described as a serial entrepreneur, said: “I have a pretty full on day job, so need to rely on my property advisors to manage my property portfolio professionally. It needs careful attention to detail, and competent advice on buying, selling, developing and managing – no surprises is a good maxim.

“The directors of Principle are well-respected property professionals and Principle’s reputation is growing, so they were the obvious choice.”

The Jewellery Quarter property’s contract is slightly complex because the land was previously owned by St Paul’s Club, which has access via The Square on the Square to apartments in its own building.

The development was also built in two phases, and although it now operates as one building the leases and service charges for the two phases are separate. Co-incidentally, the Club building has just been sold and Principle have had to deal with a couple of Land Registry compliance issues to assist in the sale.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “This contract needed someone who can get their head around these complications and, with the leases, have systems to properly allocate expenditure.

“Meanwhile, the client had consolidated an investment in Oak Tree Lane courtesy of an inheritance  and wanted someone who could also look after a commercial property. The shop tenant wanted to assign his lease and we had to sort out a complication relating to the previous assignment which wasn’t completed properly. Working closely with Blackhams solicitors as Simon’s legal advisors which is no surprise as he is – amongst other things – their Chairman; no pressure then!!

“Principle is able to do this because it’s a mixed property management specialist catering for all property and tenure types, not just traditional block management.”

Mr Williams added: “It’s a great feeling when a client instructs us to manage properties for them.

“The Square on the Square is a lovely development, just off Birmingham’s last remaining Georgian square, but needs care and attention to bring it back up to standard.

“I know we can do a really good job balancing the myriad of technical requirements of health & safety and landlord & tenant legislation, whist delivering excellent customer service to occupiers.

“With property management, there are always ancillary matters that crop up too. We have also just been instructed to negotiate and acquire a further investment property for this portfolio”

Principle was launched last year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham and an experienced chartered surveyor.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has recruited an experienced property manager to look after part of its Midlands portfolio as it continues to rapidly expand after just one year of operations.

Brett Williams launched Principle in Birmingham in April 2018 to provide a nationwide property management service and directors Ian Smallman and Joe Jobson joined in 2018, and employs consultant surveyor Sam Boot, executive assistant Belinda Beasmore property assistant Isaac Milne and customer services manager Michelle Cox.

Now, after a regular strategic review, the company has appointed Danielle Randles as a senior property manager to look after a portfolio of 800 units being part of its expanding Midlands portfolio.

Ms Randles joined Bigwood Chartered Surveyors as a property administrator in 2010 after prior experience in residential lettings. She quickly worked her way up via a senior property assistant role to property manager.

She is already MIRPM-qualified – a Member of The Institute of Residential Property Management – and is due to complete a BSc in Real Estate Management from the University College of Estate Management this summer, becoming a qualified chartered surveyor in 2020.

Ian Smallman, operations director at Principle, said: “We are building our portfolio nationally and naturally have a concentration of properties around our headquarters in Birmingham, which Danielle is well suited for.

“She has a reputation for providing excellent customer service to residents and directors of resident management companies and will fit nicely into our team of like-minded property professionals.

“She has a great knowledge of the full property management role along with academic qualifications to back up her practical experience over the last 10 years and we are happy to recruit her as a senior property manager.”

Ms Randles, who lives in Harborne, said: “I’m delighted to work for a business that is owned and run by experienced property professionals, and am thrilled to be taking my next career step as a senior property manager.”

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “This company is all about standards, competency and service.

“whilst bringing up a young family, working and studying for a degree Danielle has demonstrated her passion for the property sector

“We’re delighted to have someone with this tenacity and technical knowledge join us as we continue to build our property management department.”

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to look after a portfolio of four high quality property developments in north Birmingham and Lichfield.

The portfolio is spread across luxury flats and houses in  Sutton Coldfield, Erdington, and Lichfield.

The properties were all built by a reputable local developer around 10 years ago to exacting standards with some of the individual flats sold to the developer’s personal contacts, including friends and family members, and others retained for themselves, along with all the freehold reversions.

The freeholds have remained with the developer who  obviously has an ongoing interest in the developments being properly managed, with good customer focus and cost control.

A spokesman for the freeholder said “As a property professional myself, I wanted an independent agent who really cares for the developments and can deal with compliance issues in a cost-effective way. We feel Principle is the right company for this job.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “We were delighted to have been approached to put forward a management proposal and to have secured another portfolio instruction from an experienced developer/freeholder .

“These are all high-quality builds and need to be proactively managed to maintain standards and therefore both capital and rental values.”

Principle Estate Management was launched a year ago by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has appointed experienced chartered surveyor and leasehold expert Samuel Boot as a consultant.

Mr Boot will specialise in valuations and negotiations on leasehold flats and houses for the Birmingham-based practice, which manages contracts nationwide.

After graduating from Birmingham City University in 2008 and qualifying as a chartered surveyor in 2010, Mr Boot worked in the property industry for Pennycuick Collins until 2017, first as a graduate surveyor, then associate partner and later partner.

He has always practised in valuation and lease consultancy matters on residential and commercial properties, with a specialism in leasehold enfranchisement, including freehold acquisitions, disposals, lease extension valuations and negotiations, applying all the latest legislation.

Mr Boot said: “Principle is a very professional firm of managing agents with a growing client base and an excellent reputation.

“I am delighted to have been approached by them to act as a consultant so that they can provide an additional service to their clients. We already have quite a few cases ongoing and I am sure this will continue to expand.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “Principle is a rounded firm of chartered surveyors with a focus on property management.

“As a result we have a number of clients who need specialist advice on leasehold reform matters from time to time.

“This is now a very specialist area of work and we’re pleased to have Samuel acting as a consultant to our firm so that we can support these clients in-house.”

A contract to look manage 12 sought-after apartments in Solihull has been won by Principle Estate Management.

The Broad Oaks on Streetsbrook Road needed an agent able to keep on top of financial management after a number of payments to contractors had been delayed.

The Broad Oaks Management Company invited Principle to bid for the work and appointed the firm after being impressed by the close involvement of its directors.

A spokesman for the management company said: “We were increasingly frustrated at how long things took to happen with our previous agent, as there were frequent changes of personnel and poor financial management.

“We have a good relationship with our contractors who are generally running small businesses and among other things we wanted an agent who would pay them promptly.

“We are very involved directors here at the management company who are keen to have the property well looked after, and we selected Principle as we knew we could have a good relationship with its directors.”

Joe Jobson, a director at Principle and an experienced chartered surveyor, explained the contract was particularly convenient as it was opposite another of Principle’s properties at Sapphire Court, an 80,000 sq ft office building being converted to apartments.

Mr Jobson said: “It’s great to have resident management companies in our portfolio of clients as the directors sit as both our clients and customers in direct receipt of services we provide.

“This keeps us in touch with what really matters to residents in buildings we manage, as a lot of what we do is quite invisible when it’s done well.

“We collect money from the apartment owners and pay it to suppliers, but a lot of hard work happens from the start to the finish of those processes to make sure that quality is integral to all operations.

“It’s important to keep our resident-directors up to date on all action points and that’s what we’ve set out to do at Principle.”

As well property management, Principle will also act for the freeholder of the scheme to collect annual ground rents.

Principle Estate Management was launched a year ago by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to look after a development of ten luxury apartments in Solihull.

The Pavilion in Knowle needed an agent who could quickly catch up on maintenance issues and was prepared to work closely with residents on planning future works.

The Pavilions (Station Road) Management Company Ltd appointed Principle after being impressed by its enthusiastic and forward-thinking approach to customer service.

A spokesman for the management company said: “After a through tendering process, Principle’s professionalism and reputation provided the trust residents needed and we fully believe they can push forward with the works required to maintain a building we are proud to live in.”

Principle’s lead director on the contract is Joe Jobson, an experienced chartered surveyor and estate management expert.

He described how he was particularly pleased to be managing the property as it was close to where he grew up in Knowle, and he used to walk past it every day on his way to school.

Mr Jobson said: “We’re delighted to be managing this property. Our careful pre-contract planning ensured that we were able to hit the ground running with works and ensured prompt communication from the outset.”

As well as all property management issues, Principle will also handle ongoing administrative duties for the management company, including acting as company secretary and providing the registered office address.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has recruited an experienced property assistant to the new role of customer services manager as the business continues to grow in its first year of operations.

Brett Williams launched Principle in Birmingham in April last year to provide a nationwide property management service and was joined by directors Ian Smallman and Joe Jobson in 2018 and consultant surveyor Sam Boot together with executive assistant Belinda Beasmore and property assistant Isaac Milne.

Now, with substantial expansion after the winning of numerous new contracts, the company has appointed Michelle Cox as customer services manager.

Mrs Cox entered the property sector in 2008 with Curry & Partners, which merged with Bigwood in 2011 to form CPBigwood, and was sold in 2015.

She worked in a variety of roles including lettings assistant, receptionist, property assistant and senior property advisor in an estate management department. Michelle is an Associate of the Institute of Residential Property Management.

Ian Smallman, director at Principle, said: “We held a strategic review of resourcing following incredible success on winning new instructions and started recruitment for a customer services manager, carefully considering all applications.

“Michelle was a stand-out candidate, not just due to her extensive property experience in our specific sector, but because of her attitude to do things the right way and maintain the focus on the customer.”

Mrs Cox said: “I am really looking forward to working at a company that is properly focused on standards and customer service.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, added: “It is essential to have someone on board to lead our customer services team as we continue to grow and someone who has a real desire to provide excellence – Michelle is clearly that person.”

Principle Estate Management has welcomed the government’s approval of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme.

From 1 April 2019, RICS-registered firms holding money in regulated areas will automatically be registered on to the new CMP scheme for property agents, without the need for further registration.

This follows formal approval by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Non-RICS regulated firms will have to take out additional cover to match the RICS CMP scheme.

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “News that the government has backed the RICS’ CMP scheme is excellent progress.

“This will ensure appropriate protection of their funds across all surveying services provided by the profession.”

To gain government approval, RICS has made a number of changes to the existing CMP arrangements, including:

  • The annual aggregate claims limit for all registered firms holding client money will go up from £5.3 million to £10.3 million, regardless of the activity.
  • The annual aggregate claims limit for activities falling under the regulations will have an additional aggregate limit of £20 million (bringing the total to £30.3 million in the regulated area).
  • Registered firms providing services that come under the regulations will need to display their scheme membership certificates in a prominent place, once they have been issued by RICS.
  • Registered firms will need to publish a client money-handling procedure on their website.

Mr Williams added: “Our clients can now be even more assured about the safety of their funds when working with us, which is yet another benefit of using RICS-registered companies.”

Principle was launched last year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham and an experienced chartered surveyor.

The expanding company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has appointed an experienced property inspector to help manage its fast-growing portfolio.

Angela Locke has joined the Birmingham-based company after many years working in the property sector, including spells on estate management and residential lettings with Cluttons and Leaders.

Principle is already using the Qube site inspection app to make thorough inspections of all properties on a controlled frequency.

Ms Locke’s new role will be to oversee this activity, also meeting contractors and residents on site when needed to review standards or discuss repairs.

Ian Smallman, director at Principle, said: “It’s important to ensure that all of Principle’s sites are visited in accordance with the contract as a minimum, with additional inspections as required.”

“We see many agents not undertaking routine inspections when we take over existing developments. We feel it’s a good solution to have a dedicated property inspector and are pleased Angela is joining us to improve visibility for our customers.”

Principle routinely inspects properties in line with management agreements, mostly on a six-weekly frequency although some are monthly or quarterly.

The bespoke surveys ensure full quality checks, looking at building conditions for long-term property maintenance planning, identifying any reactive or proactive maintenance requirements and checking the quality of any recently carried out repairs.

The inspections also monitor standards of services such as cleaning and grounds maintenance, and check compliance issues for health and safety, and fire regulations.

The Qube app surveys are immediately fed back into Principle’s office system, with pdf-style reports available to clients, flagging up any maintenance issues for the office team to instruct contractors.

Ms Locke said: “I’m thrilled to be working for a new and ambitious business which is already differentiating itself from the norm.”

“Undertaking inspections is an important part of the overall property management function, and I look forward to helping develop this aspect of quality at Principle.”

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, explained that as well as regular inspections a director visits all sites on at least an annual basis.

He said: “Angela’s background in both estate management and residential lettings with Cluttons and Leaders is superb.”

“We’re all about high standards and Angela is a great fit in our ever-expanding team of quality people.”

Principle Estate Management was launched last year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood.

The company, based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, offers a national property management service.

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to manage a flagship collection of mansion flats considered to be the finest pre-World War II apartment blocks in Birmingham.

The head-leaseholder has appointed Principle to look after the 162 flats at Viceroy Close, which vary from one to five bedrooms across eight buildings on an eight acre site in Edgbaston, built in 1937 to a design by Mitchell and Bridgwater in conjunction with Gollins and Smeeton.

The development has individual sculptures by O’Connor Barrett above the doorways of all 15 entrances. Viceroy Close includes a porter’s lodge, also featuring a sculpture, that’s still used by the resident caretaker, its own post box still collected by Royal Mail and water from an artesian well. Heating and hot water is provided to all apartments via a communal heating system – now back in vogue in larger modern developments.

The head-leasehold interest was granted by The Honourable Dame Rachel Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe in 1935, great-grandmother to Sir Euan Calthorpe, who is the main beneficiary of the Calthorpe Estate today.

Principle was selected after consultation with the Residents’ Association for a new agent capable of dealing with maintenance issues, with a forward-thinking approach and a proven customer service attitude.

Ray Dickinson, chairman of Viceroy Close Residents’ Association, said: “We were impressed with Principle’s tangible proposal to care for our development as much as we do and to work with us formulating a strategic plan, as the development approaches 100 years of age.”

The head-leaseholder, said: “Principle has been selected based on its impressive and growing reputation.

“We feel reassured that the company is run by chartered surveyors with a real love for buildings, expert knowledge of the sector and who are prepared to look at individual instructions to provide a bespoke service tailored to suit unique properties such as Viceroy Close.”

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “It’s fantastic to have a client who listens to their residents and works with them.

“We are proud to be appointed to such a flagship development, one of our larger sites.

“I am an Edgbaston resident myself and so am keen to get involved and show we can make a difference.”

Principle Estate Management was launched a year ago by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.

Brett Williams, founder and managing director of Principle Estate Management, considers the legislation and management requirements involved in repair costs in multi-occupied residential properties. He is a former chairman of the Association of Residential Managing Agents.

Whatever happened in property management during the early 1980s to lead to the implementation of section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985?

The answer is that there were many cases of abuse where houses were purchased, converted (often poorly) and sold on long leases (again often poorly drafted) and the landlords would continue to manage the development undertaking substandard repairs at inflated costs and not accounting properly for the costs incurred.

It’s no wonder that statutory protection was required to control landlords’ expenditure on repair items.

In brief, the original s.20 limits were the greater of £50 per flat or £1,000 per block. The consultation process was simplistic. That’s now ancient history.

Modern history appears in the form of the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which amended the 1985 Act – approaching the coming of age at nearly 18 years old.

The limits and procedures were revised as well as introducing similar procedures for expenditure under Qualifying Long Term Agreements.

In this article we are only looking at repair costs.

What does a landlord have to do to comply with the legislation now? There are now two to three stages of consultation.

The process:

  1. Notice of Intention: this is a Notice with prescribed content and notes. It states the Landlord’s reasons for proposing to undertake the works. It also invites Tenants, and any recognised Residents’ Association, to nominate a contractor and to make observations on the Landlord’s proposal. The Notice must give 30 days for Tenants to respond.
  2. The Landlord can now seek estimates from contractors to undertake the specified works. Estimates cannot really be invited before the Notice of Intention has expired as the Landlord has a statutory obligation to have regard to observations received from Tenants regarding the proposed works and to consider seeking estimates from any nominated contractors.
  3. Statement of Estimates: again, a Notice with prescribed content and notes. This summarises at least two estimates received, one of which must be from a contractor not connected with the Landlord. This Notice must also include a summary of observations received from Tenants in response to the Notice of Intention and detail how the Landlord has had regard to those observations. Again, it gives Tenants 30 days to make observations on the estimates received.
  4. The Landlord is now free to instruct a contractor to undertake the works, subject to having regard to any observations received. However, if appointing a contractor who is not either Tenant (or Resident Association) nominated or the contractor that provided the lowest price, the Landlord must serve a further Notice within 21 days of placing the contract stating why that decision was made. This Notice is simply a statement and does not invite observations.

 

The financial trigger limits have been reviewed since the 1980’s. The legislation is now triggered if the cost of the works is £250 for any single Tenant. More specifically, this relates to any single unit and so isn’t triggered by the total contribution if a Tenant owns more than one apartment. The key therefore is to be aware of the highest percentage contribution from all apartments. In a development with multiple schedules, e.g. one for each building, it will apply on per schedule basis.

If the Landlord doesn’t comply they will not be able to recover more than £250 per leaseholder. In the case of major works, this could be catastrophic for the Landlord.

We are about to place an order for lift replacement costing £80,000 + VAT. Only 12 leaseholders contributing.

If legislation is not followed, the landlord would only be able to recover £2,440 leaving a shortfall of over £93,000.

Not a good way to maintain client relations!

It’s clear that planning is required to ensure compliance which protects both the landlord and the tenant. The process takes a minimum of 60 days. In reality it’s best to add a few days to the 30 day periods to allow for postage.

Also, between the first and second Notice is when the landlord should obtain quotes, so this can often be a further 30 day period.

For routine items, landlords need to consider works a year ahead. The implementation of a formal Long Term Maintenance Plan assists with this and also helps to group similar types of works together for better planning and cost savings. Further, subject to suitable lease provisions, it allows for a more scientific approach to collecting sufficient reserve funds so that when the works are due to be undertaken, the cash is available.

Once the plan is prepared and discussed with residents, it should be diarised.

Good property management systems, such as Qube PM which Principle uses, also have built in protection flagging up when s.20 applies if raising purchase orders above the trigger limits.

We also have a strict workflow to ensure compliance. The financial trigger limits apply whether the works are paid for from reserve funds, built into the current year’s budget or if there is a cash call.

It’s easier to plan for more routine items such as external redecoration or more obvious items such as resurfacing driveways. It is more difficult for emergency repairs, e.g. where patching of a flat roof is no longer effective or for items where expenditure is high due to the cost of parts and where specialist contractors are required, e.g. a lift replacement.

One problem with the removal of the £1,000 per development criteria is the case of small developments.

Previously we have been involved in the management of a house split into two flats, one of which paid two-thirds of the costs. The trigger limit for s.20 in this case was £375. This includes VAT, if applicable.

These days, and remember the current limits are approaching 20 years without any inflationary uplift, you don’t get a lot of building work done for £375. Estimated costs close to the trigger limit are a problem as the landlord needs to decide whether to consult in case of a cost overrun.

The Government has been asked to review the trigger limits and to apply an annual indexation. We hope that one of the Housing Ministers will pick up on this practical point.

A further complication relates to mixed use buildings as the legislation only relates to residential long leaseholders.

In the case of a building with apartments above commercial units, even though all units may be on similar leases and all may contribute to the works, s.20 can be triggered at a cost below the £250 per unit as it only applies to the residential contributors.

This is difficult to record on any computerised system and needs the landlord, or their managing agent, to be familiar with the specific nature of the building.

In the case of buildings with multiple landlords, e.g. freeholder and head-leaseholder, if the superior landlord is proposing the works, they ought to allow some additional time to the 30 days to allow the head-leaseholder to forward the consultation on to the tenants.

Although the Notices do not seek the tenants’ approval to the proposals, the landlord’s regard to the observations have to be real. Fortunately, there is provision for emergency works where dispensation can be applied for via the First-tier Tribunal.

For developments where there is no provision within the lease for the accumulation of a reserve fund and worse so where the service charge contributions are collected quarterly, or even occasionally monthly, funds will not be built up until the last quarter and the final leaseholder pays their contributions. This can often stymie works, preventing what the majority want from happening.

It must be remembered that a landlord, as far as the law is concerned, includes a Residents Management Company (RMC) which still needs to comply with the s.20 process even if all members of the company agree with the proposals. Statute is not overridden by an RMC or even Right to Manage.

It is normal for landlords, or their agents, to charge addition fees for the service of s.20 Notices and for overseeing major works contracts which may be undertaken in-house or by external building surveyors. There is no formal guidance on such fees.

As is the case in all things leasehold, fees and other costs must be reasonable. There has been one key Upper Tribunal case advising that landlords need to be mindful of affordability of proposals for tenants – how would a landlord know what the tenants could afford though?

Surely landlords also ought to have a view on financial impact on tenants’ asset value if works are not undertaken?

What is certain is that landlords, be they freeholders or RMC/RTM companies need to plan and should appoint professional managing agents to look after the best interests of the development overall.

There are thousands of RMCs caught by this legislation which was originally intended to prevent historic landlord abuses. The idea is to give people who are paying for the works, input into what is to be done, by who and at what cost.

Who could say that is a bad thing?

Airbnb and other short term letting websites are causing increasing irritation for owners in residential blocks, according to Ian Smallman, a director of Principle Estate Management.

“It is becoming a real problem, especially within city centre locations where you often come across owners and even tenants sub-letting via Airbnb and similar services,” he said.

“Occupiers of the block often complain about groups, usually younger people, being rowdy and partying until the early hours of the morning, causing damage to the communal areas and more often, just being a nuisance.”

For many owners of long leasehold flats this has caused huge problems with managing agents alleging that such lettings are in breach of the lease. Freeholders and their agents have then pursued the owner for breach of lease and claimed recovery of all their costs.

Ian Smallman said: “The starting point is always to look at the lease and see what provisions it contains in respect of sub-letting and the use of the property. Most leases have some restrictions as to sub-letting or use.

“The freeholder can apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a determination that the leaseholder is breaching their lease under section 168 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.”

Various cases have been to the First Tier tribunal with no consistency of decisions. However the Upper Tribunal in Nemcova v. Fairfield Rents Limited [2016] UKUT 303 (LC) has now offered some guidance.

In this case, the lease allowed sub-letting but provided that the premises must be used “as a private residence.” While the Upper Tribunal made very clear each case is fact specific, it supported the decision of the First Tier Tribunal that the short terms lettings arranged by the leaseholder were a breach of covenant.

Mr Smallman said: “In so determining the tribunal at both instances was satisfied that short term lettings via Airbnb were not such that the occupants were occupying as a private residence, which the tribunal accepted essentially meant as their home.

“If you own a flat and sublet it, you need to ensure you are complying strictly with the terms of your lease. If you then become aware that your tenant is sub-letting it is critical that you take action to prevent you being challenged by your freeholder.

“The flat owner, if successfully pursued by the freeholder for breach of lease, may end up having to pay all of the freeholder’s costs to ensure they avoid forfeiture, i.e. losing the ownership of their flat,” he said.