London Evening Standard – Robert Burwood’s ‘Diary of an Estate Agent’, July 2018
Riding to work on my motorbike this morning in glorious weather, the 7.30am view from Alexandra Palace across London reminds me of the calm before the storm that is lettings at this time of year.
The London market is in full flow. I have to praise savvy second-year and overseas students who get their accommodation arranged prior to the mad rush for student property following the summer holidays.
So many return at that time of year to find only a few properties left.
Monday mornings are often filled with enquiries sent in over the weekend from willing tenants and the diaries are full of viewings, so the week ahead looks promising.
A resident from one of the blocks we manage rings up, quite rightly upset that a dog has continually been fouling the communal garden grass. It’s strange, as dogs aren’t allowed here.
As it is quite a large block, it’s difficult to track down the culprit but the investigation begins to try to find out if a fellow resident is to blame — our block manager is on the case.
We arrange to hand-deliver letters to all residents reminding them of their obligations to the lease.
I hear from a landlord today who has let her apartment in Soho through us since 2003.
It is a lovely modern red-brick building just off Carnaby Street that has had a few famous owners over the years, including the late, great Royle Family comic actress and writer, Caroline Aherne.
I arrange to meet the landlord on site to agree some redecoration works that will improve the rent and keep the property’s value maximised.
It’s another scorcher of a day in central London. I might have a word with Jonathan, the founder of our company, Hudsons, to see if tailored shorts can be our new office summer look.
There is certainly nothing better than to see the West End so lively and upbeat in the sun. This afternoon I’m looking at a modern flat in King’s Cross with a glorious terrace overlooking the canal.
This place has changed beyond all recognition and soon there will be a new shopping area in old railway sheds. People are sunbathing by the canal as I head back to Fitzrovia past the Google building.
My colleague agrees a rental in the colourful Renzo Piano development off Tottenham Court Road in St Giles. Two tenants have agreed to take it. Mature students studying at LSE, they’ve offered the full price. The views are amazing, right across to the London Eye.
Meanwhile, back at the block with the mysterious dirty dog, I receive a call from a neighbour who has found dog hair on a communal landing. We go for a sniff around this afternoon.
When we knock we find that a tenant has sublet the flat via a well-known online holiday let firm. The visitor didn’t mention they were bringing a dog when booking. We also notice the owner hasn’t applied to us for a licence to sublet.
Many landlords are not aware of this requirement but it is there to keep a tighter control on this type of activity, so that other residents can have peaceful use of their properties.
There is a bit of celeb-spotting near our office, with American comedy actor Will Ferrell seen at the Charlotte Street Hotel by an eagle-eyed colleague.
There’s interesting news today from the Government about a move towards licensing for estate and letting agents — and about time, too. We are pleased to be members of Propertymark, one of the organisations being consulted by government on how agents will qualify.
Buying or letting a home can be stressful so it is always best to have it dealt with by a professional. I’ve been in property for 36 years, 22 of them in West End property, and this is exciting news and a huge change as previous governments haven’t been as proactive in looking after the consumer in home transactions.
Friday afternoons is when workers around here slip out to the pub, but I resist. There’s work to do and I want to get home in time for the World Cup game.