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Midlands Property Management Agent of the Year 2024

For us to do our jobs well, we need to be adaptable to new - and often sudden - challenges. We need to be resilient and have access to a wide range of professional expertise. Our people need to be hard working, dedicated and skilled across multiple disciplines. In short, they need to be brilliant.

And we’re very proud to say it’s a demonstration of this brilliance that has secured us the title of Residential Property Management Agent of the Year, for the second year running, at Insider Media’s Midlands Residential Property Awards.

Judges for the awards don’t simply base their decisions on a professional opinion; they go through a rigorous process and criteria, and choose each category winner based on evidence of what they do, and the proven difference they make.

Take our work to ensure resident safety at an apartment block when a water leak knocked out a fire safety system, for example. Judges were impressed by our “speedy and comprehensive response” to this major health and safety issue, which was backed up by testimony from the relevant authorities.

Securing resident safety amidst a never-before-implemented fire service emergency protocol

The apartment block is a high-profile building, over 18 metres tall, and – at the time of the emergency – it was undergoing remediation for cladding and insulation issues.The incident began when a three-storey water leak destroyed the building’s enhanced fire alarm, which had been installed as mitigation whilst this work was underway.

Our team had to act rapidly, informing the local fire service, which led to multiple other agencies (including the local council, chief fire brigade and the Home Office) being notified. The incident prompted the fire service to action a never-before-implemented protocol.

We took immediate action to ensure resident safety and to prevent an evacuation of the building; whilst simultaneously establishing how the leak could be resolved, and the fire safety system replaced. This involved a cascade of many different efforts from our team - including continuous resident communications, liaising with the landlord and the necessary authorities.

Within just 10 days, the Encore team secured the successful installation of a new fire alarm system, with re-inspections from the fire service leading to a de-escalation of the situation and a standing down of the emergency protocol.

Emergency Exit

In another example provided to the award judges, we shared a different branch of our multifaceted property management skills: this time focusing on our effective financial management of estates.

Building financial security for a newly-appointed development on the brink of insolvency

Good financial management is the key to a thriving development; without it, estates couldn’t be maintained, made safe and accessible, nor compliant or with the correct systems in place.

Highlighting our “rapid and assured reaction to a financial crisis at another (newly won) scheme” demonstrating “a large depth of knowledge and expertise”, the judges assessed our work at an estate we were appointed to after the previous managing agent withdrew its block management services.

The example detailed how our teams quickly discovered the development – a Nottingham apartment block of 140 units – was on the brink of insolvency.

The estate’s finances had been poorly managed resulting in a deficit that was more than the whole of the service charge budget for the previous year. Residents’ service charge payments weren’t covering the required services, contractors and suppliers were threatening litigation and the landlord and residents were unaware of the seriousness of the situation.

We acted swiftly to fully establish the severity of the issue and created a multi-pronged plan of action to secure financial stability for the development. This involved many negotiations, clear, constructive and ongoing communications with residents and the landlord, a long-term strategy for the estate’s management and thorough, effective, accurate budgeting for future service charges.

As a result of this, many months of work and the expertise of our dedicated team of financial and property management experts, cashflow has been restored, and the building has a fully functioning board of directors.

In another example provided to the Midlands Residential Property Awards judges, we were keen to demonstrate how major works will often demand a breadth of expertise, and professionalism from our teams.

Successfully completing - and funding - major works

The complexities of major works at developments can be far reaching. In this example provided to judges, we had to balance financial management with health and safety requirements and securing a positive cost-to-benefit ratio for property owners.

Following a fire risk assessment, an apartment block of 140 units built in the 1980s revealed remediation works were needed to deliver the required level of fire protection and compartmentation.

Working with the landlord, and with clear, consistent resident communications, we minimised the financial impact but made clear the necessity of the work - and the benefit of taking advantage of the disruption to also complete redecoration and enhancements to communal areas that hadn’t been undertaken in over two decades.

All of this needed careful financial planning, ensuring resident safety was always a priority whilst also assessing reserve funds and what would be required from a balancing payment - and over what period. This demanded extensive expertise across multiple disciplines at Encore - from finance, to health and safety, through to property management and communications.

The result was the full funding of the works, which were successfully completed over a 16 week period. Residents are now assured the building has the required safety standards in place, as well as new enhancements that have increased sales prices and rentability of the properties.

Apartment block

And the hard work doesn’t stop there…

Alongside these case studies, judges also assessed:

  • Encore’s achievements from the past 12 months;
  • Our customer service procedures;
  • New innovations - including the launch of our new residents’ app;
  • Our speed and efficiency when actioning maintenance;
  • Resident and client satisfaction.

As Joaquim Fillola, Encore CEO, explains: “winning awards like Residential Property Management Agent of the Year isn’t simply a title or trophy. It’s proof that the work of our team - their skills and their talent - makes real, tangible differences to residents and clients. The fact it was difficult for us to whittle it down to just three projects for the submission is testament to the consistently high standards of work across the Encore team.

“Property management throws up challenges in many different shapes and sizes, but when handled by experts with the utmost professionalism, we can help communities thrive and make sure people are proud to call a place ‘home’. We really do have the power to change the environment around us.”

MRPA 2024