Home Management Co Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Home Management Co Ltd's best practice article

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 Home Management Co Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.homemanco.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
46 | THE HOME MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Founder and Director
SueHughes-Thomas
One of our terraced
cottages
The Home Management Company is a residential letting and
property management company which was incorporated
in 1991, although the concept originated in 1986, with the
first tenancy being agreed later that year. From the outset, their
philosophy has been to provide a service to both landlords and
tenants alike, so as to ensure that there was, in their words, “the
right tenant, for the right property, for the time that the landlord
wanted”. Much has changed since those early days – today
their clients vary from having a single property to let to those
with multi-property portfolios. Founder Sue Hughes-Thomas
explains these and other topics in greater detail.
Spotting a gap in the market
In the United Kingdom it has always been perceived that the culmination of one’s
life ambition is to own one’s own home. That may still be true, but over the years a
combination of factors – including the economic climate – has made this aspiration
for many a distant dream. The private rented sector (once deemed the area of
all that was wrong, i.e. containing bad landlords, poorly maintained properties,
victimised tenants and those unable to aspire to home ownership) is now a thriving
industry of which there is much to be proud.
The story of The Home Management Company began when I spent over ten years
abroad accompanying my husband overseas. At the time, we were living in rental
accommodation while letting out our family home in England, and I recognised
that there was a need for a dedicated company to let and manage the homes
FACTS ABOUT
THE HOME MANAGEMENT
COMPANY
»Founder and Director:
SueHughes-Thomas
»Established in 1986
»Based in Bushey, Hertfordshire
»Services: Residential letting
and property management
»No. of employees: 7
»Members of ARLA
Propertymark (Association of
Residential Letting Agents),
TDS (Tenancy Deposit
Scheme), TPOS (The Property
Ombudsman Scheme) and FSB
(Federation of Small Business)
»Providing full management to
let-only services for over 400
landlords in surrounding areas
The Home Management
Company
47THE HOME MANAGEMENT COMPANY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
of expat personnel working abroad.
Letting agents did not exist other than
in the back offices of a few estate
agents, and the task of managing
tenancies was a world away from what
is expected today.
Our evolution
On our return to the UK, I went about
setting up a business that would
provide a solution to this need. It
was in this fashion that The Home
Management Company was born.
The company changed over time,
with an increasing adoption of clients
with extensive portfolios. We aim to
provide a fully tailored service to meet
the specific needs of our individual
landlords. It’s also worth noting
tenants are tenants because they too
have special needs: they can be young
and inexperienced, or they can be in
a new job, country or relationship (to
list just a few). One thing is certain
however – they need a home, support
and a fair deal for the rent they have
agreed to pay.
Over the past 32 years, the company
has grown steadily, but remains a
single office enterprise in private
ownership. In addition to myself,
our staff now comprises a lettings
negotiator, an accounts manager, an
inventory clerk, two property managers
and an administrator.
The office, based in Bushey,
Hertfordshire, now has a portfolio of
over 400 properties, most of which
are fully managed, some having a rent
collection service and some as let-only
clients. At the outset, our landlords were
mostly home owners letting out their
homes while they lived and worked
away, but the market has changed
considerably over the years. The biggest
change came with the 1988 Housing
Act, which removed many of the
previous and entirely justified fears of
landlords in letting out their properties.
Apartments in Royal
Connaught Park, Bushey
We aim to
provide a fully
tailored service
to meet the
specific needs of
our individual
landlords
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
48 | THE HOME MANAGEMENT COMPANY
A commentary on the sector
The economic hardships of the mid
90s brought many properties on to the
market which could not be sold, and
thereby created a group of accidental
landlords. The lettings market thrived
on the demise of the sales market
at that time, and, in many ways, still
does to this day. Next came the “buy
to let” initiative, which was fuelled by
windfalls from the demutualisation
of the traditional building societies.
However, many poor choices were
being made in the course of investing
in potential properties to rent, and
landlord confidence was somewhat
compromised. Nevertheless, the
market continued to grow and so did
the industry.
Today, the lettings industry is thriving
and the standard of properties
available for rent has improved beyond
all measure. Massive safety initiatives
have been introduced over the years,
from fire safety in furnishings to smoke
alarms on all levels of a building. Gas
safety inspections are required on an
annual basis, and carbon monoxide
detectors must be situated in all areas
of risk and where there are open fires.
Landlords must be aware of protecting
their tenants from the risks, however
minimal, of contracting legionnaires’
disease from an infected water supply.
Energy performance legislation now
prohibits a property from being let if
the rate is below “E”, and all electrical
appliances provided by a landlord
must be checked on a regular basis.
Indeed, it’s now true to say that it’s
significantly safer to move into a
rental property than to buy a property,
where none of these safety checks are
required before taking up occupancy.
All of these changes have meant that
tenancy is now a much more attractive
option than it was formerly.
Despite all these improvements,
though, not all is perfect. More is
needed to regulate the bad landlords
and “cowboy” agents who still
manage to sidestep the regulations and
put tenants’ lives at risk in substandard
properties. Draconian penalties
exist, but the inspection process is
overwhelmed and underfunded.
Government policies over the past few
years seem to wish to tax the private
landlord out of existence, and yet it is
the private landlord who is filling gaps
that need filling – by providing housing
to those who are not in a position
to buy a home of their own or to
tenants who face a massive shortage
of local authority housing stock and
are therefore directed to the private
rentedsector.
I firmly believe that the success of
any company is dependent on the
staff, their training and, above all
else, customer service. I cannot thank
my staff enough for their dedication
and hard work, The Association of
Residential Letting Agents for the
training and services they provide
and my loyal landlord clients, some
of whom have put their trust in this
office from day one which is extremely
satisfying and shows we must be doing
something right despite the exploding
legislative minefield which as letting
agents we are forced to navigate.
Today, the
lettings industry
is thriving and
the standard of
properties
available for rent
has improved
beyond all
measure
A block of flats
managed by Home
Management

www.homemanco.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Home Management Co Ltd. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy