Property Management has been on a trajectory of change for some time, but the Covid-19 pandemic is rocket-fuelling the pace of this change considerably.
A more collaborative approach
In the retail world, gone are the days when a centre is just seen as a building of units that we collect rent from. Landlords and asset management teams need to create experiences that people truly want by thinking about their space in more exciting, original and relevant ways. They will need reliable, experienced property management teams by their side helping their ideas to thrive; supporting them with the day-to-day practicalities of bringing these plans to life.
As PM+U MD Carl Foreman explains “The landlords and asset management teams we’ve been working with are constantly looking at ways to re-purpose space to create environments where people want to spend time and therefore attract the right tenants and customers. We’ve been their sounding board as they investigate the viability of their ideas; we know from a practical point of view the potential problems of ensuring these ideas work in one of our centres and together we come up with innovative solutions. It means the property management role is a much more collaborative one where we really understand and get behind a landlord’s business objectives.”
“It means the property management role is a much more collaborative one where we really understand and get behind a landlord’s business objectives.“
Once a tenant cost, property management is now increasingly a landlord cost with the growth of all-inclusive rents. A focus on operating costs can transform a landlord’s income so the necessity for this collaborative approach is more important than ever. Working together we ask questions such as: Can we operate more efficiently? How can we change working practices to improve performance? How can we develop sustainably? Understanding the answers to these questions can generate positive income for landlords rather than add cost.
Making the most of data
Driving footfall and ensuring spaces offer relevant and engaging experiences means more and better customer insight. As property managers tend to be the gate-keepers of data, this is another area where we can make a really useful contribution.
As Carl explains “we collect data for the value of both landlords and tenants to enable them to work closely with one another. Data is great but it means nothing without sound analysis and interpretation. This is where it’s helpful for property managers to have some diverse knowledge and experience. We have a number of senior people with strong retailer experience and so we understand rent-to-turnover percentages and trading densities and their impact on a tenancy. This enables us to predict issues and deal with them proactively.”
Another area where access to data is significant is in agreeing leasing deals. Tenants are understandably demanding more flexible deals; from shorter-term leases to all-in-one rent and service charge packages to turnover driven leases. With access to, and an understanding of data such as rent-to-turnover percentages by retailer category, property managers are likely to have a much more hands-on role in collaborating with asset managers to broker these deals.
Technology is advancing to offer ways for property management teams to work smarter and leaner. Robotics, staff-management software, derivatives software are a few examples of this. We’re trialling lots of these as part of our continuous quest for discovering efficiencies without lowering standards. Interestingly a number of helpful technology developments come from sectors outside of property, retail and offices. For example we’re trialling some excellent staff management software from the hotel sector and we’ve learnt a lot from urban farming about the handling of food waste in our food courts. Property managers need to be prepared to look beyond the confines of their own market for inspiration and the potential to innovate.
The Covid-19 pandemic is massively precipitating the need to adapt. It feels like it has brought about 10 years of change in 6 months! We’re still in the midst of the uncertainty and so, of course, no one really knows exactly how things will look yet. What is certain is that property management teams will need to welcome change, embrace innovation, and work smarter and more proactively. This mind set has long been part of our culture.
What is certain is that property management teams will need to welcome change, embrace innovation, and work smarter and more proactively.
Proactive property management
PM+U is our newly launched brand – as the team behind Moorgarth’s in-house Property Management service we have managed the group’s diverse range of retail, office and leisure assets for the past five years. As PM+U we are reaching out to third party organisations who want a more proactive approach to their property management. We have been spurred on by interest from existing investment partners and occupiers, so the extension of our offer to external landlords and clients is a natural progression to our successful management platform.
Some property management companies think their role is simply to collect rent, collect service charges and keep buildings clean, safe and secure - but we think landlords and asset managers deserve much more. We’re constantly looking for innovative ways to make a difference to their business, their stress levels, and their bottom line.
If you’re interested in a more proactive property management service, call the PM+U team on 0113 467 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.