B2B Properties

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from B2B Properties is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Highlighting best practice
FionaTaylor, managing director
City centre building
B2B Properties is a build-to-rent company currently
operating in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Churchill famously
said, “We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our
dwellings shape us” – a sentiment echoed – indeed, embodied
– by B2B Properties. B2B Properties was created six years ago
with a mission to create superior rental dwellings for millennials
(born 1980 to 1995) and Generation Z (born 1995 to 2005),
both in the physical residences themselves and particularly the
manner in which they are operated. Attention to detail and
personal attention differentiate this business at every stage
of the process. At the helm of this is Fiona Taylor, who in the
following piece explains the business in greater detail.
Who we are
An outsource business model was adopted from the outset which permits
maximum flexibility, innovation and focus on deliverables. Operationally this requires
close attention to clearly defined outcomes and monitoring quality. We treat all
stakeholders with a “high touch” approach expecting the highest levels of service
and professionalism as well as competitive commercial terms. Great attention is
paid to the well-being of all tenants, supporting their overall experience.
This strategy is not purely altruistic: each year the business delivers superior
returns in terms of occupancy and rental level achieved leading to more yield and
appreciation of asset value. One example is a fine four-storey Victorian building
purchased for £300,000 five years ago and revalued in 2018 at £1 million.
»Managing director:
»Established in 2012
»Based in Newbury, Berkshire
»Services: Build-to-rent
»Outsourced services: Tenant
acquisition, legal compliance,
HR, site management and
B2B Properties
B2B Properties currently owns and
operates self-contained flats in central
high street locations. Due to local
planning conditions, the developments
are dedicated for student use but
future expansion will also address the
young professionals sector. With well-
reported growth in the numbers of
young people unable to get onto the
property ladder, this sector is forecast
to show strong demand for the
foreseeable future.
The term “function follows form” was
originated by Louis Sullivan, widely
recognised as the father of modernism.
We have adopted the same principle
for the design and operational
management of our portfolio.
Combined with Churchill’s maxim, the
business is founded on the recognition
that where you live and the style of
accommodation has a major impact on
the individual.
A company with focus on
In addition to the buildings
themselves, the manner in which
we run the business is intentionally
different. We treat everyone that
comes into contact with us as a
customer. Tenants, outsourced
suppliers, service providers: all are
treated with respect. When using
skilled local agents, we insist on the
highest standards of professional
trade body membership to assure
us they act legally, ethically and
professionally. That is the start and not
the end of our engagement with the
tenants. Once they have moved in I
personally meet with them individually
to ensure they are safe, comfortable
and understand the obligations on
them as individuals as well as part
of the community which exists in
Communal living space
We ensure the
properties are
and in great
Highlighting best practice
For some students and tenants it is
the first time leaving home. Having to
take care of themselves, accommodate
themselves to a new environment
and often studying is a lot to take
in. Moreover, if the tenant is from
overseas, this can be the first time
away from their country, which is yet
more pressure – along with day-to-day
cultural issues.
To study or work effectively is
important, so the environment has
to be comfortable, safe and one that
works. Basics such as high-speed wifi,
secure buildings and clean common
areas are now expected and provided.
Beyond material concerns, tenant
welfare plays a hugely important
role. For students, universities are
now recognising this area and the
importance of it. It adds value to the
learning and enhances the experience
for the individual. Our reputation
as landlords is unique: knowing, for
instance, that we can offer help in areas
such as health – including mental – we
feel encourages the student-tenant
relationship and long-term satisfaction.
B2B Properties is the first property
company to link with the local
university in this way. We embrace
ways to promote an innovative
university pastoral care service called
“Sort-it”. The service is free and open
to all, not just students, so staff are
also welcome. Its guiding principles
are “speak up, stand up” and it is
designed to give a voice to students
experiencing problems of whatever
nature. I have personally been involved
with the expansion of the service to
include the property sector, and take
this message to the tenants.
Here’s one example of how we’ve
worked with our tenants to illustrate
how we put this philosophy into
practice. I came to know a civil
engineering undergraduate from Jordan
when the huge Victorian bay windows
in her studio were replaced last winter.
Even though the task took a couple
of days, and it was bitterly cold and
disruptive to her study programme,
she remained positive and disarmingly
polite throughout. Fatima shared with
us that she was frustrated at difficulties
in securing a job placement in civil
engineering to support her studies.
Thanks to our business relationships,
we introduced her to a leading
building services company who was
pleased to offer a suitable role.
When a current fundraising round
has been completed later this year,
B2B Properties will be replicating this
business model and expanding into
carefully targeted locations in the
UK. One of the challenges will be to
maintain this quality of service across a
broader geographic area: a challenge
we relish.
It’s been a steep learning curve.
It required disposal of a batch of
properties which generated below
target yields, and buying, then selling,
a hotel that offered managed services
to the same sector. Throughout
this journey our adherence to the
core principles of close hands-on
management, coupled with clear
communication with all stakeholders,
means we truly do fulfil Churchill’s
words for each of our tenants.
welfare plays
a hugely
important role
Designed for living
Period features


This article was sponsored by B2B Properties. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.