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.

Principle Estate Management – one of the UK’s newest but most experienced property management companies – is using the very latest technology to make its surveys are faster and even more accurate.

The Birmingham-based company, which manages contracts nationwide, is using the MRI Qube PM Site Survey app as a bolt-on to its property management software system, also provided by MRI Software.

The app is designed to assist mobile operations and keep costs down, enabling staff to easily access and record property information at any time during inspections using a mobile device.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, which launched in early 2018, explained that the app removed the need for both paper-based processes as well as separate and expensive specific site survey devices.

Mr Williams said: “The Qube PM Site Survey app has allowed us to configure surveys to our exact requirements, and all the data it gathers is then quickly and fully integrated with our other property, maintenance and accounting systems.

“The diary entry system ensures all surveys are scheduled and carried out when they are required, and our staff are now conducting site surveys and inspections quickly and conveniently on their mobile devices – even when they’re offline.

“They are also able to take and then upload images on the job to further enhance the survey report, increasing efficiencies and providing a greater level of convenience and total transparency of the site survey process.”

Mr Williams added: “This latest technology means Principle is bang up to date and beating the old paper-based clipboard system which many agents still use.

“There is no juggling keys, clipboard and a camera as it’s all done on a smartphone, helping us to out-compete others in the sector with a better and faster service for the benefit of clients and customers, while making life easier for our staff at the same time.”

Dan Foryszewski, business development manager at MRI Software, said: “After Principle had selected Qube as their preferred property management software, they were great to deal with. I could feel their enthusiasm for our product and for getting the most out of it.”

Dave Hards, Principle’s MRI Software account manager, said: “For a young company that has been using our system for less than 12 months, they are already benefitting from the time they invested in setting up the system and understanding its full capabilities beyond basic financial recording and maintenance.”

Mr Williams, of Principle, added: “We’re pleased to be making the system work hard for us and know we are already ahead of others who have been using Qube for a much longer time.”

Established contacts from more than 25 years ago have asked Principle Estate Management to look after their mixed shops and flats property development in North Worcestershire.

 

Leonard Carver and Son, a family firm, first worked with Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, back in the 1990s, when he dealt with both transactional and management matters at their properties.

 

Now James Carver – a chartered surveyor and third generation property professional in the family firm – has appointed Principle to manage 12 units at Windermere Court in Stourport-on-Severn, and to collect ground rent only for another 17 units at Fredericks Close in Stourbridge.

 

Brett Williams of Principle said: “I’m delighted to be working alongside Leonard Carver and Son again and we’re looking forward to making a real difference on these properties.

 

“We have already identified that Windermere Court needs a long-term maintenance plan in order to prioritise works and we will be arranging this shortly so that we can agree a plan with the individual owners.”

 

Mr Carver said: “I have known Brett for a long time, working with him when I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor, while my father has known and worked with him since the 1990s.

 

“The family used to manage these properties in Stourport and Stourbridge ourselves when my father was running his father’s company, Leonard Carver and Co., which later changed into Leonard Carver and Son.

 

“We wanted Brett’s firm to look after them as we know he is a well-respected chartered surveyor and former chairman of ARMA (the Association of Residential Managing Agents).”

 

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this 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 been appointed to look after hundreds of apartments in London, the West Midlands and south England.

The major new national contract has come from Simarc Property Management Ltd, the management arm of the Wallace Group, which last year purchased Gray’s Inn Holdings Ltd. The Group now owns 106,000 leasehold properties.

Simarc had already commissioned Principle to manage ten developments last year, including a development of apartments each worth more than £1.5 million on America Street in London, just off Southwark Bridge Road near the Tate Modern art gallery.

Following its success on those initial properties, Principle has been asked to manage another 24 developments.

The new properties include sites in the London boroughs of Southwark, Lewisham, Sutton, Lambeth and Hounslow, and in various locations in the West Midlands, Hampshire, Dorset and Somerset.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “Simarc represents professional freeholders who want things done properly, and it’s been a great experience working with such a supportive client.

“We’re delighted that after showing Simarc what we can do they have had the confidence to award us this major new contract.

“We are experienced in managing a national portfolio and are regularly getting ‘thank yous’ from customers who are not used to getting great customer service.

“We run a very thorough take-on process, carrying out a full review of all information from previous agents, including financial, health and safety, and general compliance reports, then going on to review all service providers and carefully forward planning any changes needed.

“We’re flattered but not surprised at the new instruction, as we know our great team of experienced people on property management, finance and administration is performing well for them.”

Mr Williams added: “The new properties fit into areas where we already have clusters from previous instructions, and we’ll be routinely inspecting each site at least every six weeks.”

Natalie Chambers, director of Simarc, said: “We’ve been impressed with Principle’s care and attention on the first instruction and we had no hesitation on awarding them this much larger contract.

“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.”

Principle was launched last year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham and an experienced chartered surveyor. Although based in Birmingham, Principle offers a national property management service and has already won a series of contracts across the UK.

A highly desirable development of luxury apartments in Sutton Coldfield is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

Roman Place contains 13 apartments in Burnett Road in the much sought-after Streetly village, just off Thornhill Road and adjacent to the famous Sutton Park.

Principle was appointed after the directors of the Roman Place residents’ management company began to feel that their previous managing agent had become far too big and impersonal and was unsuited to a small development like theirs.

Malcolm Crossman, a retired civil engineer and a director of Roman Place, said: “We were becoming increasingly frustrated at delays in actioning relatively straightforward matters, particularly financial reimbursements. This was compounded by the frequent changes to personnel making it difficult to forge meaningful working relationships with some areas of the organisation.

“We have a good relationship with many of our contractors who are generally running small businesses. It was, therefore important to the directors that those relationships were maintained and potentially enhanced by, among other things, making sure that contractors were paid promptly and efficiently.”

Roman Place was built around 2000 by Crosby Homes, and Mr Crossman is one of four directors of the residents’ management company.

He added: “We are very hands-on and selected Principle as we knew we could have a good relationship with the directors.”

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “It’s great to have resident management companies in our portfolio as the directors sit as both our clients and our customers in direct receipt of the service we provide.

“It keeps us in touch with what really matters to residents in buildings that we manage.

“Our role is to help directors who normally don’t have a property background and to ensure the building is properly managed, so they don’t need to worry about things.

“A lot of what we do is quite invisible when it’s done well. In its simplest, we collect money from the apartment owners and pay it to suppliers; but a lot of hard work happens in-between the start and finish of the process.”

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

Principle Estate Management 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 is to look after two freehold investments recently purchased in the East Midlands by the Englander Group, a national real estate investment group.

The latest assets added to Englander’s portfolio include ground rents at Royal Oak Court and Vine Court, which are both located in Irthlingborough, a small town near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire.

The new contract for Principle follows its appointment to look after Englander’s portfolio in the West Midlands last year.

Benjamin Cowen, residential asset manager at the London-based Englander Group, said: “There aren’t many investors buying in the current marketplace, but we are pleased with our new acquisitions in Northamptonshire.

“Now we are expanding into the East Midlands it made sense to appoint Principle to look after all our properties across the entire Midlands area.

“This means there is a single point of contact with a management agency with known high standards, one that is regulated by the sector and has founding directors who are chartered surveyors with a wide knowledge of all property types.”

Mr Cowen added: “We also wanted an agent who could take over our management instructions at short notice while being sympathetic to the outgoing agent, and Principle once again impressed us by more than ticking all those boxes.”

Ian Smallman, director at Principle, said: “We’re delighted to be a trusted part of Englander’s ongoing expansion into the East Midlands.

“We will now work quickly to review all compliance matters to make sure the highest standards of finance management and health and safety are both refined and maintained for the future.”

Principle Estate Management 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.

A flagship development of luxury new houses and apartments converted from a Grade II-listed building in Smethwick is to be managed by Principle Estate Management.

 

Investment and development group Deeble Ventures Two Ltd has appointed Principle to manage its 83 new-build houses and 93 neighbouring apartments on Crocketts Lane, overlooking Victoria Park.

 

The management contract started in mid-December with the development’s first phase of 55 apartments, while the remaining units are set to be completed in 2019.

 

Built in 1908, the apartment building has retained many interesting and historical features, with a large atrium allowing natural light to flood into the property.

 

Paul Stanford, a director at Deeble Ventures Two, explained that he had been looking for a managing agent that could fulfil the expectations of purchasers at such a flagship Birmingham development.

 

He said: “We were approaching practical completion and realised we wanted a proactive managing agent who could quickly take the site into management and one that really cares and provides top quality service.

 

“Principle Estate Management is a chartered surveyor-led business that we felt was quite unique and gave me comfort of a real quality, long-term service being maintained for the benefit of all occupiers.”

 

Joe Jobson, Principle’s lead director on the contract, said: “Crocketts Lane really is an attractive development with historic meaning and one we are very proud to be involved in.

 

“It’s great that Deeble Ventures Two has shown such faith in Principle and we know we are able to offer a personal, high-quality property management service, which an instruction like Crocketts Lane reflects.”

 

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this year by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham. Both he and Mr Jobson are experienced chartered surveyors.

 

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

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to manage a Birmingham property group’s apartment block in the Black Country.

The MIA Property Group owns Sovereign Heights, a 22-unit apartment block in Dudley, built by David Wilson Homes around 12 years ago,

MIA, based in Moseley, has appointed Principle to look after the apartments along with a portfolio of 123 freehold ground rents on five additional sites across the West Midlands.

Brett Williams, the managing director of Principle, sold the freeholds of four of the six sites to MIA some ten years ago when working in a previous role, having first done business with them in the mid-1990s.

Maqbool Ahmed, managing director at MIA, said: “I first dealt with Brett in 1994 when he was at Perry & Deakin and we bought an investment property from him in an auction and retained him to manage the property for us.

“I have worked with Brett ever since and wanted to support him in his new business. What better way than to instruct him to manage some investments which he introduced to us previously?”

Zahir Ahmed, a director at MIA, added: “My father speaks very highly of Brett it’s great to know that our properties are being looked after by a chartered surveyor who understands the wider issues.

“Brett’s colleagues at Principle have already dealt with a longstanding problem of an erroneous electricity meter at one of the sites which is a relief, as the supplier had been in direct contact with us following a lack of action previously.”

Mr Williams of Principle said: “I’ve enjoyed dealing with Mr Ahmed and his family over the years and it is very rewarding to have them as clients again.

“We’re able to deal with a wide range of related matters, not just the pure property management, and this is reassuring for clients with mixed portfolios. We’ve had a couple of lease extensions to deal with and also a wayleave agreement on this portfolio already.

“I look forward to continuing this long and happy relationship with the MIA Property Group.”

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this 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.

A smart, mixed-use block of offices and apartments with a number of issues in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is to be looked after by Principle Estate Management.

Principle has been appointed to tackle the problems at the Altitude building on Powell Street which contains commercial offices with residential apartments above, totalling 32 units in all, and secure courtyard parking to the rear ground floor and basement.

This includes improving financial records and taking swift action on a number of longstanding maintenance issues, including a lift that has been out of order for several months following a leak from the block’s water tank.

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “We were pleased to be appointed to take over the management of Altitude and did so at short notice.

“This is a fine building that was only built in 2006, but it needs to be taken under control and a full review of the finances is underway.

“As part of our handover review, we have already found that the building’s insurance wasn’t being dealt with in accordance with the lease and so we have rectified this with the freeholder.

“We have also arranged for a lift report and are dealing with the insurance company now to get this processed.”

Mr Williams added: “Whilst we are a firm of managing agents that operates nationally, we love the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham which is where our office is based and it’s great to have another property on our doorstep in the JQ.”

Margaret Cattell, a director at the Altitude Property Management Company, which appointed Principle, said: “We have experienced various problems and wanted a local and professional firm who could tackle a number of issues at once.

We are especially pleased with Principle’s progress and can see clear signs of improvement already”

Ian Smallman who joined Principle recently added: “In addition to these other matters, we have arranged for a deep clean of the building to include carpets, which the residents were worried would need complete replacement and also a thorough clean of the walls which it was thought would need redecoration. We proactively review all matters to ensure we do not waste residents’ funds.

“Security of the development was a concern to residents.  Principle Estate Management have implemented immediate improvements and scheduled further enhancements to the development.”

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham and an experienced chartered surveyors.

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 an exclusive retirement village set in the West Midlands countryside.

Albany Meadows Ltd has appointed Principle to manage Albany Meadows on Albany Lane in Balsall Common, a much sought-after rural location between Solihull and Coventry.

Albany Meadows is an over-55 retirement development made up of 23 two-bedroomed apartments, 12 two-bedroomed bungalows and four three-bedroomed houses.

The homes are set in attractive landscaping to create a spacious, tranquil village environment, with a residents’ lounge and central village green providing communal spaces.

Mike Leto, project director for Amber Infrastructure – the long-term investors in Albany Meadows – said: “We will continue to be active stakeholders in Albany Meadows and therefore it was vital to appoint a customer-focused managing agent with the professional capability to manage such a prestigious scheme.

“Getting Principle involved at the earliest possible stage allowed them to provide valuable input, highlighting long-term management issues and providing solutions at the outset.

“The scheme built to the highest standards but we also needed to be mindful that ongoing service charge had to remain affordable and Principle’s experience and input was crucial in this area.

“We will continue to oversee the management of the completed development and feel that Principle will help support us in our objective to maintain high estate management standards at Albany Meadows for many years to come.”

Principle’s lead director on the contract is Joe Jobson, who joined the company earlier this year. He said: “Albany Meadows is going to be a fantastic scheme and one that Principle Estate Management is delighted to be involved in.

“We’re pleased that Amber has shown such faith in Principle, and we’re looking forward to working with owner-residents to make a great success of the development.”

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

Several high-value London properties are part of a major new national contract won by Principle Estate Management.

Principle will be looking after  a development of apartments each worth more than £1.5 million on America Street, just off Southwark Bridge Road – near the famous Borough Market, Tate Modern art gallery and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

Other properties in the portfolio is a mixed use development comprising a restaurant and with apartments above on Poland Street, off Oxford Street in trendy Soho; and another mixed use development with including offices and apartments in Hamond Square, near Hackney’s renowned Hoxton Street market.

Principle will also look after a further mixed use building including retail and apartments on the Old Brompton Road, in the prestigious Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Outside of Central London, the contract includes another developments in South Croydon, Crawley, Portsmouth, Slough, Wickford and Godalming.

Principle’s appointment comes after the Wallace Group purchased Gray’s Inn Holdings Limited which owns 20,000 leasehold properties. The management arm of the Wallace Group, Simarc Property Management Limited, then moved to change some of the managing agents in order to ensure standards complied with their internal code for agents’ conduct.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “Mixed use buildings require a specialist management approach to ensure the needs of all users are catered for and properly balanced, and it’s this expertise that Simarc was impressed with.

“I’ve known senior people at Simarc for many years and they were aware that I’d recently set Principle up. They’d also seen me attending high-level meetings following the government’s various consultations into leasehold reform.”

Natalie Chambers, director of Simarc, said: “Principle has a reputation for managing properties on behalf of freeholders who need to be comfortable that their agent is on top of health & safety compliance, finance and maintenance.

“We also want an agent that provides outstanding service to our customers, and we know Principle has been built to deliver that.”

Principle was launched earlier this year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham and an experienced chartered surveyor. Although based in Birmingham, Principle offers a national property management service and has already won a series of contracts across the UK.

Mr Williams said: “This contract includes our first instructions in the capital, although we have plenty of experience of managing a national portfolio and are in London every week. We have another South East portfolio going live next year.

“As for the other areas, the Surrey and Sussex properties are very close to where I grew up, while Slough is near other properties we have and Portsmouth has previously been one of our core areas.

“We are experienced in managing portfolios at distance, treating them all as if they are five minutes-walk from our office and ensuring we have regular site inspections and are very contactable.

“We’ve already been working on a few maintenance matters at a couple of properties ahead of our commencement as we’d rather get things moving than wait until we take over, and residents have appreciated this.”

Mr Williams added: “It’s fantastic to have clients instructing us on new properties on a weekly basis. We are well set up to deal with handovers from other agents and to proactively manage properties from the outset.”

A Birmingham construction firm has appointed Principle Estate Management to look after two of its local property developments.

This includes Button Box, a mixed-use development of 30 units built in 2006 on Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter, with retail premises on the ground floor, offices above and apartments to the rear.

The second development is a gated site of ten units called Hawthorn Drive, in Selly Oak, constructed in 2004.

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

Mark Jennings said: “We retained one of the first-floor offices at Button Box for our own use, so not only are we the original developer and freeholder, but we are also an occupier.

“We wanted the property maintained to higher standards, so it was time for a change and we are confident that Principle will make the difference.”

Speaking about Hawthorn Drive, Andrew Jennings said: “We’d used a local letting agent to look after the development as all but one of the units are rented out.

“But some maintenance issues required statutory consultation before works and this wasn’t a job for the letting agent who was happy to have this transferred to a specialist. It made sense to have both properties managed by Principle.”

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “Button Box is an attractive building and one we’re proud to be associated with.

“Mixed use buildings require a specialist management approach to ensure the needs of all users are catered for and properly balanced.

“The first thing we did was instruct a contractor to repair the sign over the entrance where two letters had slipped – it’s the simple things that are noticed if not undertaken. We’ve also tendered the cleaning and external area maintenance as these need to be of a higher standard.

“At Hawthorn Drive, the handover from the previous agent was exemplary. They’ve done a good job of looking after the development and continue to let and manage a number of individual apartments.

“There was an issue requiring major works, so we worked with the previous agent to issue statutory consultation notices advising owners of the planned works before our management began. We were happy to do this as we aim to build long term relationships with clients and customers.

“There was a problem of funding, a specialist area to ensure invoicing complies with the legislation and then a rigorous credit control process is followed. We are now about to place the order for the works.”

Ian Smallman has been named as the third former colleague to join Principle Estate Management in Birmingham.

He joins Principle founder Brett Williams and fellow director Joe Jobson who joined in the summer, and has been appointed as a board level director at the managing agent which opened for business in Spring 2018.

He will focus on the operations side for Principle’s growing client list of residential and mixed use property investors.

All three directors were formerly in the residential estate management division of CPBigwood.

Mr Smallman has specialised in private sector residential service charge management, ground rent collection and portfolio management nationally for nearly 30 years.

Brett Williams said: “Ian is a senior figure in the property management industry and is well known and well respected in the sector.

“I recruited him previously to head our property management operations and I am delighted to be able to do so again. Ian has a wealth of experience and will be a major asset to the business.

“He strengthens our team and will be integral to our future progress.”

His appointment comes as Principle approaches 1,000 units under management in just six months since the firm opened for business.

Mr Williams said: “With the number of instructions already secured in less than six months, we are delighted with the positive feedback we are receiving and our growing pipeline of instructions from clients who want a managing agent they can trust and rely on.

“Our portfolio now stretches from Blackpool through Bristol to Portsmouth, across to Crawley to Basildon, and up to Peterborough and Manchester. We are also acting for a growing number of properties in London.”

Ian Smallman said: “This is a new challenge in a sector I know very well. It is important for me to be working within an organisation where the core values of integrity, transparency, professionalism, honesty and responsiveness are not just words on a strapline but embraced by all who work with the organisation.

“I have worked with Brett and Joe previously and I am looking forward to playing my part in driving the business forward.”

Ian Smallman is actively involved in the Institute of Residential Property Managers and sits on the Leasehold Working Group.

An apartment block in Lincolnshire is being smartened up within three months of the appointment of Principle Estate Management.

 

The company has been managing Willow Court at 18-20 Double Street in Spalding since June and has already arranged the much-needed internal redecoration of the three entrance areas.

 

Principle has also ordered replacement carpets for the communal hall, stairs and landing areas for half the apartments, with plans to roll this out to all apartments next year.

 

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle Estate Management, said: “We’ve plenty of experience of managing national portfolios from our central base in Birmingham, and we’re pleased our track record has given the freeholder of Willow Court confidence to appoint us.

 

“We know we can form good working relationships with all parties and our organised structure means we can quickly get properties brought up to scratch.”

 

Willow Court is a purpose-built apartment block erected in around 2008 which needed various works as it was starting to look tired.

 

Principle is now working closely with local letting agent Sedge Homes, with meetings taking place on each site visit.

 

As well as the internal decorations and carpeting plans, Principle is now reviewing external redecoration quotes and access arrangements to apartment windows to plan more work in the next year or so.

 

Pete Coupland, director of Sedge Homes, said: “We manage many of the rentals at Willow Court and so are happy to work with Brett and the team at Principle as a link to the freeholder and our leaseholder clients.

 

“We are working well together on the maintenance side of things and have recommended some reliable contractors.”

 

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this year 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, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

A new development made up of some of Birmingham’s most expensive apartments is to be managed by Principle Estate Management.

The Turner Consultancy has appointed Principle to look after 14 luxury units at Bristol Court, 248-250 Bristol Road in Edgbaston, which are each priced from £450,000 to £495,000.

The two and three bedroomed apartments have been built to extremely high specifications on the site of a former Victorian hotel, ranging in size from 1,200 sq ft to 2,400 sq ft.

Asad Adras, project manager and consultant for the Turner Consultancy, said: “This luxury development has been influenced by a mixture of Victorian and Gothic architecture and its high spec interiors make it stand out.

“We wanted a unique managing agent that could fulfil the expectations of purchasers at such a flagship development, surrounded by some of Birmingham’s most prestigious housing.

“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.”

Principle’s lead director on the contract is Joe Jobson, an experienced chartered surveyor and estate management expert who joined the company earlier this year.

Mr Jobson said: “We’re delighted that Asad has shown such faith in Principle. We firmly believe we are able to offer a personal, high-quality property management service and an instruction like Bristol Court reflects this.”

Principle has already advised the Turner Consultancy throughout the building process on matters such as lease and service charge structures, highlighting long-term management issues and providing solutions.

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this year and are based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

A longstanding relationship with a family of property investors has resulted in Principle Estate Management’s appointment to manage a portfolio across eight sites.

The family inherited the portfolio from their late uncle, John Rabbitts, a property expert who worked for Arthur Kemp & Reeve after the war, a company that merged into Neale & Aldridge and later into Lambert Smith Hampton.

Mr Rabbitts bought properties as part of his pension in the early 1980s, including traditional blocks of flats from the 1960s and 1980s, and numerous ground rents across the West Midlands.

He self-managed the portfolio while working part time at Perry & Deakin and it was there in 1992 that he first met Brett Williams, then a graduate surveyor, and now the managing director of Principle Estate Management.

Mr Williams went on to look after the Rabbitts’ properties from 1998 until about a year ago when he was working elsewhere.

The family said: “Property management was our Uncle’s speciality and it had been his wish that Brett continued to manage the portfolio. We were therefore delighted when we heard that Brett had formed Principle. We wanted a far more personal and efficient service for both ourselves and the lessees.”

“We know that Brett and Principle Estate Management will provide a high standard of property management, and it’s a great comfort to us to have Uncle John’s properties safely looked after by Brett again.”

Mr Williams was a joint executor of Mr Rabbitts will after his death, handling probate valuations and the sale of two flats, before the remaining properties passed on to his nieces.

Principle now deals with collecting the portfolio’s ground rents and service charges, and other property management issues, and deals with lease extension inquiries, advising the freeholders on valuations and terms.

Mr Williams, managing director of Principle Estate Management, said: “While there’s always some sadness looking after properties that have been handed down within a family, I have fond memories of John who taught me a lot in my early years in the profession.

“He was a stickler for detail. There’s a lot of history attached not only to these properties, but also to the family which I’m proud to continue to work with.”

Before launching Principle Estate Management, Mr Williams was the head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

Principle Estate Management is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

Principle Estate Management has won a contract to manage a block of flats near to the University of Birmingham.

The company has been appointed to look after Chapter Court on Heeley Road in Selly Oak, Birmingham on behalf of Chapter Court Management Co Ltd.

The modern, 12-flat block was built in around 2006 and is 75% rented by individual owners – many of those students and professionals at the university.

Principle handles all property management issues and ongoing administrative duties for the management company, including acting as Company Secretary and providing the Registered Office.

Principle’s lead director on the contract is Joe Jobson, an experienced Chartered Surveyor and estate management expert who joined the company earlier this year.

Mr Jobson said: “We’re delighted to be managing this property which is so close to the booming University of Birmingham, and mainly inhabited by its students and staff.

“There were some issues when we took over, and we’ve already appointed a new cleaner as tenants wanted a more professional company.

“We’ve dealt with a few minor maintenance issues such as the door entry-phone system not fully working and a faulty fire alarm smoke detector.

“The smoke detector issue was an out-of-hours emergency repair via our call centre, which shows how vital it is for sites to have access to such services. We’ve also undertaken a full health and safety review.”

Principle is now awaiting a full financial handover from Chapter Court’s previous managing agent to assess the property’s financial position before starting external redecoration, replacement of the front door and improving the bin area.

A spokesperson for Chapter Court Management Co Ltd said: “This is a good property, but it needs a bit of tender loving care and we feel confident that Principle will take care of this.”

Chapter Court is located between several other properties managed by Principle in Moseley and Harborne, and the company has another pending contract in Selly Oak.

Principle Estate Management was launched in Birmingham in April this year. It is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to manage a highly regarded apartment block in Walsall.

The company has been appointed by Fishers, a lettings agent based in Harborne, Birmingham, to look after Melrose Court on Mellish Road, near Walsall town centre.

Melrose Court is a three-storey property containing 21 flats that was built around 18 years ago by Kendrick Homes.

Fishers – which has been operating for over 100 years – does not undertake block management but one of their clients owns Melrose Court and so Principle has been appointed as management specialists.

Alan Holland, the owner of Fishers, said: “Our client wanted proactive management as their building, while highly regarded, is now getting a bit older and we needed a property management agent that really cares and provides top quality service.”

Brett Williams launched Principle Estate Management in Birmingham in April this year and was recently joined by director Joe Jobson. Both are chartered surveyors.

Mr Holland added: “I’ve known Brett Williams for 25 years, and he has acted for Fishers’ clients on block management during that time.

“We know that Principle is unique in that both Brett and Joe are experienced and respected chartered surveyors who are determined to deliver that quality stamp.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “It’s great when clients have such faith in us and are prepared to move management to us to ensure their residents get a better standard of service.

“We’ve already met with Melrose Court’s residents to discuss maintenance issues and have prepared a short-term action plan to repair gates, deep-clean carpets and check that the electricity provider is providing best value.

“Longer term items include undertaking a full financial review so that we can put forward appropriate budgeting to plan external redecoration for next year.”

Before launching Principle Estate Management, Mr Williams was the head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham.

He was chairman of ARMA, the Association of Residential Managing Agents, from 2007 until 2010, and is a Fellow of both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Residential Property Management.

Principle Estate Management is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to manage a major office and residential development project in Solihull.

Sapphire Court is made up of six interlinked blocks totalling 88,375 sq ft on a 3.93-acre site on Streetsbrook Road in Solihull town centre.

The part-occupied office development was bought by Streetsbrook Property Developments LLP, part of Investin plc, for £12 million in June, and Principle has now been appointed to manage the property.

Half of Sapphire Court is currently empty, with 95 per cent of the other half occupied by the Environment Agency and HMRC.

But with HRMC due to move all regional offices into a new super office at Arena Central in Birmingham, a mixture of residential conversion is now planned.

Jon Burgwin, of Investin, said: “Principle is a niche property management specialist with both commercial and residential skills, and we’re thrilled at how quickly they’re getting to grips with everything required at Sapphire Court.

“They’ve quickly built up good working relationships with all tenants and with their various centralised facilities management teams, bringing numerous compliance and legal matters up to date.

“They’ve also had to deal with several inherited problems – including an out-of-order lift, an uncontrolled car park and several air-conditioning issues, as well as reviewing all service providers to ensure compliance and value for money.”

Mr Burgwin said he has known Brett Williams, managing director of Principle Estate Management, for many years, and added: “Principle is an agile business that will provide great support to the tenants and ourselves as we develop our strategy and complex development plans.”

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “We love clients who give us big and complicated instructions, as we can really show our worth to them as strategic advisers.

“As well as solving service issues, our work at Sapphire Court has already included discussing options on small amounts of vacant space in one of the blocks, dealing with outstanding rent reviews and resolving tenants’ issues relating to the hotel construction.

“This size of this property and its planned development is exactly the type of commercial management contract that we have the experience and skills to deliver.”

Adjacent to the 99-bedroomed hotel currently being built, the vacant part of Sapphire Court will be converted from office to residential in the near future.

Brett Williams launched Principle Estate Management in Birmingham in April this year and was recently joined by director Joe Jobson. Both are chartered surveyors.

Principle Estate Management is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service including all types of residential and commercial property management.

Principle Estate Management has won the contract to manage a new block of apartments in Berkshire.

Aragon House is on Hollow Lane in Shinfield village, near Reading, and was a part new-build and part-conversion of an existing residential building.

Initially, the developer self-managed the property until selling the freehold, and Principle has now won the contract to manage the apartments.

Brett Williams, managing director at Principle Estate Management, said: “It’s encouraging that freeholders are continuing to appoint us on properties throughout the country.

“We have quickly caught up on a few things, including finding contractors to undertake cleaning, window cleaning and grounds maintenance at short notice.

“These new properties are always labour-intensive at the beginning and we are resourced to deal with that before settling into more routine management.”

He added: “It is always worth us investing time in the sites 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 earlier this year 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, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

A seaside property that was converted into residential apartments is undergoing improvement works after the appointment of Principle Estate Management.

The company has won the contract to look after Dales View on the seafront at 340 Queens Promenade in the Bispham area of Blackpool.

Principle’s contract only began in August, but the company had worked closely with the freeholder and previous managing agent before the handover so that leaseholders had already received the S20 documents informing them of the urgent works needed.

Joe Jobson, director at Principle Estate Management, said: “Properties such as Dales View will always be labour intensive at the beginning and we are adequately resourced to deal with that.

“A previous lack of regular maintenance meant that the freeholder was looking for experienced and professional chartered surveyors to review requirements and outline an active schedule of works.

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

Once they were managing Dales View, Principle met with residents and the freeholder to explain how they could work together to improve the property. Future service charge levels and the priority of works that need planning are now being discussed.

Mr Jobson added: “We get great satisfaction investing time in sites such as Dales View to show clients and customers that we are proactive and prepared to do all that is required.

“It’s great that freehold clients are continuing to appoint us on properties around the country as we have a wide range of experience of managing national portfolios from our central base.”

Principle Estate Management was launched earlier this year by Brett Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham. Joe Jobson joined as a Director in June.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

Each year, News on the Block publishes a special edition identifying the most influential people in the residential leasehold property sector.

Included within the list is a mix of leasehold campaigners, Parliamentarians, trade and professional bodies, managing agents, building owners, investors, developers, valuers, and lawyers among others.

We’re thrilled for Brett Williams our founder & MD to be included in this publication again, especially as he is the only Birmingham based property professional this year.

Principle Estate Management has won another contract in Birmingham to manage a suburban development of 19 apartments.

Principle won the contract after conducting a full audit of the development for  Heritage (West Midlands) Ltd, who had been managing Florence House, 31-33 Park Road in Moseley since it was purpose-built in 2008.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “It is becoming increasingly harder for the private landlord to keep up with changes in legislation and best practice.

“We were invited by our client to undertake a full review of the property and have put in place a planned preventative maintenance plan, reviewed and put out to tender all current services and advised on compliance issues covering electrical installations including the lift, and electric gates.

“We also made suggestions concerning accounting issues, and potential improvements to replace the damaged post boxes and redecorate the entrance lobby with some follow up works externally for repainting, signage and refuse arrangements.”

A spokesman for Heritage (West Midlands) Ltd said: “It was time to pass Florence House on to a professional firm of managing agents and who better than Brett Williams as a chartered surveyor and past chairman of the Association of Residential Managing Agents to take the weight off my shoulders.”

Brett Williams said: “Florence House is a good example of a development that can benefit positively from proactive management and it is the kind of project where we can make a real difference for clients and customers alike.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in Birmingham in April 2018 to provide a nationwide property management service. In June, the founder Brett Williams was joined by director Joe Jobson.

The founder of Principle Estate Management has recruited his former PA to manage the office as the new business continues to grow.

Brett Williams launched Principle in Birmingham in April this year to provide a nationwide property management service, and was last month joined by director Joe Jobson.

Now the company has appointed Belinda Beasmore, who has 17 years’ experience of the property management sector, as executive assistant.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “Belinda is a people-person and is great at dealing with clients, customers and suppliers

“I first worked with Belinda back in 2001 and, apart from two short periods, have always had her on my team, and she was a brilliant PA.

“It’s fantastic to have Belinda working with us as she has a great, varied background and has always been an invaluable asset to any company she has worked for.

“Belinda ‘gets’ customer service and will make a real difference to Principle, adding value to our offering.”

Miss Beasmore’s experience includes everything from reception work to assisting with facilities management, and from dealing with pre-sales inquiries to overall office management.

She said: “Having just been made redundant I jumped at chance to work with Brett and Joe again as I’ve known and worked with them both for a long time and am fully aligned to their philosophy. I really appreciate the faith they’ve shown in me.

“It’s clear to see that Principle is currently winning lots of instructions and offering a high standard of property management, and that’s something that I want to be part of.”

Badly managed residential blocks will not only annoy leaseholders but can also damage future values, an expert has warned.

Joe Jobson is a director of Principle Estate Management, which was launched in Birmingham in April 2018 to provide a nationwide property management service.

He said that residential management companies (RMCs) needed to use trusted agents so they can step back from day-to day management while remaining confident that RMC directors’ decisions are implemented and that all ongoing maintenance issues are resolved.

Mr Jobson said: “Having confidence in your agent is crucial, because poorly managed properties will not only have an impact on the long-term enjoyment of people’s homes but will potentially hit future values.

“In virtually all circumstances, the directors of RMCs are unpaid volunteers who spend a considerable amount of time and effort maintaining and improving the property they reside in for the benefit of all occupiers.

“But managing a block of flats requires both a professional approach and the time to do it, which means RMCs need the right agent so they can confidently delegate actions that come from policy decisions.”

Mr Jobson explained that managing agents needed a good knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, health and safety regulations, accounting and a range of other skills.

He said: “A good managing agent should have a full understanding of the structure and meaning of leases, thorough knowledge of relevant legislation and be able to advise the directors of their rights and obligations.”

He said this knowledge should cover all necessary compliance documentation, such as a registered business addresses for RMCs, issuing share or membership certificates, and preparation of paperwork and minutes for board and AGM meetings.

Mr Jobson said a good agent should also regularly advise on any health and safety items, and should routinely review and action fire and general risk assessments – or else RMC directors could be held liable.

He explained that health and safety was a standing item on all of Principle’s RMC board meeting agendas, making sure any issues were regularly reported. He said other areas that good managing agents should cover included:

  • Making sure all RMC directors are acting with the necessary insurance in place, with cover reviewed annually.
  • Providing copies of the service budget to directors in advance of the new financial year.
  • Ensuring annual accounts are finalised, audited and signed off with directors’ approval within six months of the year end.

 

Mr Jobson added: “As chartered surveyors, Principle Estate Management is committed to best practice, good customer service and always complies with relevant standards and codes or practice.

“For example, at Principle we set KPIs to ensure property managers have accounts audited and signed off within four months of the year end, well ahead of schedule.

“We pride ourselves on offering an unparalleled level of customer service with exceptional communication to our customers.

“Principle is structured so we are able to manage each of our properties on a personal basis, tailored to the RMC’s individual requirements.

“We are always available to advise, and work closely with RMCs to ensure properties are managed to directors’ expectations, whilst being within the law and the lease.”

Principle Estate Management has brought in experienced chartered surveyor and estate management expert Joe Jobson as a director.

He joins Principle founder Brett Williams in the Birmingham-based practice from 1 June.

Joe Jobson said: “I have worked closely with Brett Williams over a number of years and we are likeminded as far as business goes. We both seek to build sustainable, long term relationships with clients and respect each other’s professionalism and commitment.

“These are exciting times to be based within the Birmingham market place. Town and city centres are seeing a sea change in how people are living and working, and we believe that Principle Estate Management is well suited to meet the demands of residents and clients alike.”

He said that “One of Principle’s strengths was that the firm had a particular core specialism in residential block management and this will allow us to continue to build relationships with other property consulting firms, such as estate agents, who can introduce us to developer and freehold clients in the knowledge that we are not a threat to other aspects of their services, and we will continue to build on this.”

Managing director Brett Williams said: “It is great to have Joe Jobson joining Principle Estate Management as my business partner. He has fantastic experience in this sector and is very customer focused with a strong desire to make a difference.”

Principle Estate Management recently announced its first Birmingham city centre contract win, the management of Burne Jones House on Bennetts Hill, which houses two restaurants on the ground and basement levels, and 29 luxury apartments on the remaining floors of the seven-storey building.

Leasemethod Ltd, which refurbished the property, appointed Principle Estate Management specifically because of the firm’s experience with mixed-use developments.

Principle Estate Management was launched in April 2018 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, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

The founder of Birmingham’s newest property management firm has issued a principled plea to the sector to help save the urban bee population.

Brett Williams launched Principle Estate Management in April 2018 and today – just days after World Bee Day on 20 May – he explained how property managers can use their influence to help bees.

Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood, said: “One third of our global food supply is created by the pollinating of crops by bees, yet there are many threats to this vital insect and we are seeing declines year on year.

“Although changes in agriculture will help bee populations, urban areas currently have advantages for bees over the countryside.

“Bees can travel to the myriad of small pockets of pollen and nectar rich flowers in gardens, schools, parks and the green spaces around the thousands of apartment blocks in our cities.

“Agents who manage properties have the chance to make a real impact on the hard-pressed honey bee, through their landscaping contractors and gardeners.”

Williams explained that plants, trees and shrubs with simple open-shaped flowers that bloom from early spring right through to late autumn can help to keep bees healthier, more productive of honey and then ready to begin the cycle again the following year.

He highlighted that residents would also enjoy seeing the likes of snowdrops, hellebores and drifts of daffodils, followed by trees covered in blossom, to break their winter gloom.

He said: “If agents managing properties encourage this sort of planting, city centre residents could soon be relaxing in the scents of a sunny corner crowded with rosemary, sage and thyme, or purple lavender spikes, then delaying their slide back into winter with shrub roses, sedums and red-hot pokers.”

Williams advised property agents to insist that garden contractors fully justify using any pesticides, and said they should request that organic alternatives are used, warning that “chemicals that kill ‘bugs’ will kill useful insects and bees too”.

Williams advised: “Encourage community cohesion in your blocks by highlighting the plight of bees.

“Residents can keep a shallow dish of pebbles or marbles topped up with water to allow the bees to drink and take water back to the hive.

“You may even have grounds big enough to keep a community beehive or two!”

Williams pointed to the following websites for property agents keen to support bees:

Williams added: “For thousands of years bees have been giving us honey, the sweetest gift. Surely it’s time we gave them the help they need in return.”

Principle Estate Management, launched in Birmingham just one month ago by Brett Williams, has won the management contract for a 1930s art deco office building in Birmingham city centre that has been redeveloped into restaurants and luxury apartments.

Burne Jones House on Bennetts Hill lies on the former home of Sir Edward Burne Jones, the 19th-century artist and designer best known for his stained glass works, including the windows at St Philip’s Cathedral.

The seven-storey building, which holds a blue plaque celebrating Sir Edward’s life, now houses the South American-style Bodega-Cantina restaurant and the smart Buffalo & Rye hamburger joint on the ground and basement levels, with 29 apartments above.

Principle Estate Management won the contract to look after the building from Leasemethod Ltd, which refurbished the property in partnership with Blackswan.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle Estate Management, said: “It’s been great working with Leasemethod prior to handover of the building into management.

“We’re proud to have been selected to look after this charming building, and we’ve already formed a great working relationship with the occupiers.”

Oliver Horwitch-Smith, director of Leasemethod Ltd, said: “As a chartered surveyor myself, I know the complexities of managing a mixed-use building and selected Principle Estate Management in the safe knowledge that they have the required skillset.

“It can be tricky to balance the needs of the commercial and residential users, but Brett Williams has given us a personal service pre-handover and assisted with several matters beyond his remit which has been really appreciated.”

Principle Estate Management was launched in April 2018 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, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

Principle Estate Management, a newly formed property management company headquartered in the West Midlands, has chosen Qube to support its ongoing business requirements and ambitious growth plans.

The company, headed up by Brett Williams FRICS, has implemented Qube in the first quarter of this year to set a strong foundation on which to build the business which officially launches on 1 June.

Brett Williams, founder at Principle Estate Management, said: “With its flexibility and configurability, together with the whole package of finance, maintenance, asset management, site surveys and a tenant portal together with a powerful reporting tool, Qube was the obvious choice for us.”

Dan Foryszewski, business development manager at Qube, said: “Having known Brett for several years now I am really enthused to be working with him.

“Our market leading solution will provide Principle with a competitive advantage from day one and ensure that they operate with maximum efficiency as they scale up over the coming years. Brett has significant plans for Principle and I know his desire to provide a real quality service will be assisted by having invested in Qube early on.”

The former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham has launched his own business. 

Brett Williams has opened Principle Estate Management to offer a national property management service, predominantly to modern residential apartment buildings and traditional blocks of flats.

The firm has opened for business at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham.

Previously a partner with Curry & Partners until its merger with Bigwood in 2011 and subsequent sale in 2015, he was also chairman of ARMA, the Association of Residential Managing Agents for three years from 2007 until 2010.

He was responsible for growing the residential property management portfolio at Curry & Partners and Bigwood from 4,000 units to 25,000 when CPBigwood was sold.

During his career, Brett has managed some of the highest profile developments in the Midlands and across the UK.

He said the new business would be “strong on tech” to take away mundane chores and to automate routine process, freeing up staff to communicate with clients on a daily basis.

“Our focus will be on modern residential apartment developments and traditional blocks of flats, but we will also be managing mixed use developments with both residential and commercial occupiers and private residential housing estates.

“Additionally, the firm will be managing portfolios of rented properties for investor clients.

“We will be offering director level input into all developments, and honesty, professionalism, customer care and staff development will be our watchwords,” he said.

His professional experience also includes involvement with the RICS as West Midlands Junior Organisation committee member and was chairman in the Millennium year. He latterly sat on the RICS Residential Management Working Group for the maximum term of office.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Institute of Residential Property Management.