Sterling Estates

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Sterling Estates'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 Sterling Estates 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

SEM, proud partners with
Watford FC Business Club
Large-scale projects
Sterling Estates Management has been providing a high
standard of property management services for its clients
since 2005, in both residential and commercial property.
It believes that providing a professional, efficient and honest
service will result in steady, secure growth, despite difficult
financial, economic and political times. Co-founders Shalim and
Antonio Ahmed discuss the firm’s ability to grow and develop –
a reflection of its safe working environment and the investment
in staff development.
Our ethos and perspective have helped bring continued growth, obtain new
business and recruit and retain the best staff. It ensures we keep striving to
implement better, more proficient and professional services within our industry. We
provide clear routes for our staff to obtain and maintain professional qualifications,
and we have also taken advantage of the government’s apprenticeship scheme as a
useful tool to recruit, train and build our workforce for the future.
We continue to be grateful for the dedication and hard work of our workforce,
who allow us to achieve our business goals. Our growth can also be directly
attributable to our business model, which, at its core, is about providing
professional, effective and transparent services and placing the needs of anyone
we deal with at the core of our activities. In recent years, we have recognised that
we must also evolve and adapt to our environment and surroundings. This does
not mean that our core beliefs will take a back seat. Rather, they will form the
foundations and building blocks of our future.
»Co-founders: Shalim and
Antonio Ahmed
»Founded in 2005
»Based in Stanmore, London
»Services: Management services
for residential and commercial
»No. of employees: 16
Sterling Estates
Highlighting best practice
Meshing procedure with
personal approaches
We differ from our competitors in the
way in which we take on and deal with
properties managed within our portfolio.
While we subscribe to and implement
standard property management
procedures and policies to ensure
proper and efficient management,
we also recognise the importance of
understanding each particular building,
estate, its occupants and location. This
allows us to understand any potential
positive or negative impact on the
managed property and its residents.
In this regard, we pay particular
attention to both the legal obligations
prescribed within title documents
and the human factors at play. By
understanding how the occupiers and
users need to be identified and catered
for, we provide both an effective
and proficient service to achieve our
goal of creating a positive impact.
We also recognise the importance
of understanding the surrounding
environment of a managed property
and how these factors can have
We recognise that a property is not a
static building. Alongside its residents,
it changes and evolves over time and
has its own pulse and rhythm. We pride
ourselves on being able to identify the
character of a building and its residents
and manage it appropriately in response.
Over the years, as our managed
portfolio has expanded, we have seen
incorrect management procedures being
implemented for long periods of time
by other managing agents. This results
in a failure to correctly identify the legal
obligations and practical needs of a
particular property.
We do not shy away from recognising
our shortcomings. When this occurs,
albeit rarely, we use it as an opportunity
to grow and improve. This attitude
is also reflected in the way we train
and nurture our staff. Mistakes do not
define you as a professional person, but
the manner in which you deal with the
mistake does. This is not an invitation
for mistakes, but staff know that
they can approach us with a view to
resolving issues and movingon.
We have grown our knowledge and
expertise, so we are able to specialise
Reception area
Our growth
can also be
attributable to
our business
in helping lessees exercise their right
to manage, extend their leases or
enfranchise. We are also able to sit
and act for our landlord clients on
the opposite side of the table when
dealing with such matters. The unique
manner in which we view and identify
our clients further sets us apart from
the competition. We view our clients
as more than the person or entity
who is formally instructing us, and we
place great value on the leaseholders
and residents within our managed
portfolio. We have received a number
of referrals as a result, which continues
to contribute to our growth.
Learning from tragedy
Since our inception we have
encountered a number of challenges,
but we use these challenges as
opportunities to grow, expand and
improve. Sadly, we find ourselves
unable to avoid mentioning the tragic
events surrounding the Grenfell fire.
Words cannot provide any solace for
what occurred and the systematic
failures that allowed such a tragedy.
We find ourselves offering criticism of
the manner in which local authorities
and the government have reacted and
are subsequently dealing with similar
buildings that possess dangerous
cladding. They are failing to identify
the implications to privately owned
managed properties with dangerous
cladding and have not made it clear
who will fund replacement costs.
With privately owned buildings, it
would appear, given the current
legal framework, that liability falls
on the leaseholders because of their
obligation to pay through the service
charge mechanism. This is a bitter blow
for leaseholders, but the alternative
is their homes or rental investments
being unsafe for occupation. In some
instances, however, it is unreasonable
and uneconomical to expect that the
building owner should be responsible
or liable for such costs. In most
instances, a landlord’s interest in a
particular property is subject to the
value of the ground rent income. The
ground rent income for a block of
200 flats, where each lease contains a
ground rent of £250 per year, equates
to a total income of £50,000, before
expenses. The replacement costs of
this dangerous cladding well exceed
this amount. If the building owners are
liable, they do not have the income.
We have discussed this topic with the
Ministry of Housing, Communities and
Local Government to ascertain whether
the government will provide funding to
assist privately owned flats and buildings.
No clear response has been provided.
We suggested that during periods of
financial hardship, the government
should purchase buildings at market
value and then look to provide funding
for the building works with a view to
the costs being paid over a period of
time. A variety of compulsory purchase
schemes should be investigated with
end goal lessees acquire an interest in
the freehold building.
Our long-term goals are to grow
our managed portfolio, increase our
workforce and have a noticeable
positive impact on our industry. Growth
is a balancing act, and our core goal
remains to provide a high-quality service.
Mistakes do
not define you
as a
person, but
the manner in
which you
deal with the
mistake does
Modern properties

This article was sponsored by Sterling Estates. 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