Diary of an estate agent: West End rentals

Helping an overseas landlord refurbish a London rental is not all that has kept me busy this week. One of my tenants needs to be reminded of the property do’s and don’ts when a toilet becomes blocked with wet wipes...
As a property manager my role is extremely varied and requires a lot of organisation. My Monday mornings are spent planning the week so everything gets done on time.
Today I receive a call from a tenant in Soho informing me that her property is flooded — not the best start to the week. I immediately arrange to meet a contractor at the property, and we discover the tenant has been throwing wet wipes down the loo.
0ur contractor quickly gets the house back in working order. The tenant is embarrassed by the whole situation and I gently remind her of the property’s “dos and don’ts” list. 
Every day brings a new challenge. Today’s drama involves a tenant from Fitzrovia with an unwelcome guest — a mouse. The tenant has barricaded the rodent in with furniture and would like the creature removed. From time to time this problem arises, as nearby buildings are redeveloped and mice migrate to a safe house. We are fortunate to work with a great pest control company who are on hand to find “Mickey” alternative arrangements. 

Organising refurbishments and applying for planning permissions is something I look after for my clients.
Over the past 12 months I have been assisting a landlord from Australia, who wants planning permission to build a roof terrace on top of his penthouse in Fitzrovia.
I advise him on the architects most savvy with the ways of Westminster city council, and the best contractors to carry out the works, which include a new electronic roof light, roof coverings and a safety balustrade.
Today is the final check and I am delighted with the results. I take some photographs and email them to the landlord. The roof terrace will be ready just in time for the heatwave that’s predicted.
The tenants are happy that they have some outside space where they can entertain their family and friends. We have also negotiated a higher rent for our landlord to match this added benefit.
The majority of the tenants we deal with stay in their rented properties long term and it’s always sad to see them move on.
Today is the end of a tenancy for a resident in Bloomsbury who has arranged to return the keys to our office. When he arrives he is not empty-handed — he has treated me to a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates to say thank you for my help. I work hard to build good relationships with all of my tenants from day one, so this is happily received. 
A day for inspections at some of the properties we manage. It’s great to get out and about as the West End is such a special place and the immediate area is changing so much, especially around Tottenham Court Road.
Local entrepreneurs are already opening new food shops and replacing the old electronics shops with homeware stores. It’s gearing up to return to a two-way street again, too.
A management visit ensures that tenants are looking after their properties, and enables us to spot things that need doing.
It’s always good to meet up with tenants and offer advice on how to change a light bulb and clean appropriately. Then it’s back to the office to get the reports to my landlords.
  • Hannah Copues is property manager at Hudsons Property on Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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