FirstPort / Peverel, the country’s largest and most controversial apartment manager, has interviewed 738 Londoners and found that they quite like living in a flat.
As they bought a flat or chose to rent in the first place, this is encouraging news and they don’t feel that they have made a mistake.
It did not ask them why the property manager unaccountably owns a portfolio of house managers’ flats all with leases issued in 2009, even at sites built long before.
But it did ask some searching questions with these answers. According to FirstPort’s research, the characteristics of flat-living most valued by the capital’s rental community were location (20%), space (19%), quiet surroundings (16%), convenience (15%), and being well-maintained (13%).
“Indeed, an increasing number of people feel liberated by the option to live in well-managed apartments, with many choosing to live there to suit a modern lifestyle,” says Nigel Howell, chief executive of FirstPort.
“There is clearly a growing shift towards flat living which is yet to be fully explored in the wider debate on the UK’s housing issues.
Unexplored in the survey is the trail of havoc left behind by Peverel when owned by Tchenguiz: we do not believe there is a single high-end Berkeley Group scheme still run by this company.
We are not sure which would qualify as FirstPort / Peverel’s flagship London site.
“Nowadays, consumer expectations have risen across the board and indifferent property management is no longer acceptable. FirstPort recognises customers’ demands for higher levels of service and will continue to develop the business so that we maintain our market leading position.”
The important point to make here is that FirstPort’s “market leading position” owes absolutely nothing to consumer / leaseholder preferences.
Not one of the big property management companies is big through consumer choice.
FirstPort gorged on other property management companies, sucked up to developers (a source of business largely lost owing to its scandals) and was appointed by Tchenguiz its former owner to run his freeholds.
The Tchenguiz freeholds still account for more than 50% of the business.
Here are the figures given for FirstPort / Peverel:
It has c.115,000 general leasehold residential properties under management across c.2,150 developments and c.56,000 specialist retirement properties across c.1,400 developments in England.
It manages c.3,300 retirement properties and c.7,400 general residential properties (approximately 130 developments) in Scotland.
The company also has a specialist team dedicated to looking after large and complex developments and manages some of the most prestigious residential sites in the UK including management of Build to Rent developments in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). [Which are they?]