ARIM (Allsop Residential Investment Management) - now Allsop - is an independent property consultancy with a market-leading reputation for high quality service and integrity. To many, they are best-known as the UK’s largest and most successful property auction house - but their reach is considerably wider.
At the time of the project, ARIM was the largest independent residential investment manager in the UK, offering a range of property management services such as routine and reactive property maintenance and service contracts, including gas and PAT safety certificates. The company also managed the letting process and tenancies, ensuring that tenants’ needs were met, thus improving occupancy levels and timely rent payments.
ARIM also offered insolvency and receivership management, ensuring the properties were well managed, safe, secure and if tenanted, that tenancies were also managed effectively for the mutual benefit of tenant and receiver.
ARIM were managing a large block of apartments in London. The tenants were housed there by the local authority and were considered to be vulnerable adults. ARIM needed to ensure that the building was safe and fit for habitation, and carry out a general and fire risk assessment. These checks presented a particular challenge, due to the building being located in a high risk area and the number of vulnerable tenants living there.
The Veritas Solution
Before commencing the work, the Veritas team made a point of getting to know the tenants where possible. This meant that the residents began to trust us, and subsequently felt comfortable with us working inside the building. We were able to easily enter and exit the property without causing them distress, making it straightforward to undertake the work required.
A number of unexpected challenges occurred regularly, such as a tenant with mental health issues who had broken a sink, but because we had gained his trust, he allowed us to enter his room so we were able to fix the problem within a couple of hours.
Due to the respectful and sensitive approach we took to the tenants, we were also able to maintain and replace a number of boilers and water tanks in the building, meaning the entire project was carried out quickly and efficiently with minimum disruption.
As Kerry Bowden (formerly of ARIM, now Hydes) said: “If Veritas had gone to the building suited and booted, they may have found it harder to gain access, and the trust of the residents. The building was in an area which had been neglected. Paul and his team realised that this would be a challenge and acted accordingly’.
Our management of the project resulted in significant cost savings for ARIM. Due to our rapid, effective reactive responses to unexpected issues such as leaks, damage was limited and expenditure on repair reduced. We were also able to provide weekly and ad hoc inspections of communal areas, and on-the-spot repairs without having to check with ARIM, such was the degree of confidence the client had in us.
Kerry Bowden said: “Veritas are unique in the market. They have a very good team, who cooperate and work well together. In receivership, things are so fast paced - we need to have information reported to us within 24 hours. For example, if a vacant property inspection was carried out, we would need the report by the Friday of any given week. Veritas always meet these deadlines and there are never any delays.
“For this project, inspections were always carried out on time, and any issues were reported immediately. This is the sort of relationship that you need to build up; it’s based on trust and reliability, and is very rare. Veritas are the kind of company you can trust, I cannot emphasise that strongly enough. In fact, I have continued to use Veritas since I moved to Hyde.’
Kerry felt that the service provided was so efficient and effective, we were retained by ARIM to work on other sites. When Kerry subsequently moved to a new role at Hyde Properties, she recommended that they use Veritas. We then took on a number of blocks on behalf of Hyde Properties.