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PM in the spotlight Power to the people

Anthony Tokatly is managing director of Surrey-based JJ Homes. He talks to Flat Living about leaseholder’s rights and running a successful business

Question: What is it about the leasehold sector that interests you?

Answer: JJ Homes has been

around since 1960. In the intervening years, property legislation has changed almost beyond recognition and the increasing rights of leaseholders mean that they are now in the driving seat: if they want to

extend their lease, they can, at a pre-defined price laid down by law. If they want to buy their freehold - no problem - they can, at a pre-defined price laid down by law. These two factors alone have made the property management industry one of the most dynamic and challenging around. Leaseholder empowerment has created big opportunities for all not previously possible. The sector is currently undergoing huge change in many areas and hence we see a major opportunity for JJ Homes to capitalise. Resident directors are now firmly in control and we work with them closely on a daily basis to implement innovative, pro-active solutions to help manage their properties that previously were not being driven through by indifferent freeholders. Bring on Power to the People!

Question: What is your company’s strategy for the next 12 months?

Answer: There is nothing more satisfying than growth through recommendation – we have grown consistently and manageably year on year…every year. Our strategy is to continually strive to offer the best service we can by continually fine-tuning our service offering. We achieve this by listening to our clients and gaining valuable feedback from them on a daily basis. We evaluate and consolidate this feedback in quarterly brainstorming sessions with all members of staff and come away from these sessions with at least two or three ideas which are converted into tangible client benefits. This is our strategy for the next 12 months…and beyond.

Question: What is the key to successful property management?

Answer: One word…People. We do not sell a product - what we do sell is a service. This service has to be spot-on. We recruit only the highest calibre people to ensure this happens through all areas of the company. To this end each employee has a small share in the company and their performance is evaluated and rewarded on a quarterly basis. We believe in keeping and incentivising staff for the long term - internal promotion is an integral part of this process. To give just one example, Pam Ashton started as a property manager with us six years ago. She is now general manager and has a major equity share.

Question: What is the best thing about property management?

Answer: We all love a challenge and managing people’s homes is way up there. When everything is going well, arrears are down,


Anthony Tokatly BSc (Eng) Hons KCA Managing Director JJ Homes (Properties) Ltd, Tel : 020 8296 0181

routine works are swimming along fine and residents are regularly informed of issues, there is nothing more satisfying than attending a directors meeting when they all have smiles on their faces and are freed-up to talk through innovative ideas to move the development forward. One of the ideas which is gaining in popularity is installing turbines and Photovoltaic cells on the roofs of developments. These can be government funded and self financing and we see this as the future of power supply to large buildings. What could be more satisfying then helping to save the environment?

Question: And the worst?

Answer: We all have good days and not so good days. The key is to do the best you can. Understanding the issues and, at times, frustrations of residents is paramount and to manage their expectations and deliver realistic cost effective solutions to all.

Question: What do you do in your spare time?

Answer: Spare time is something of a rarity. I do believe the key to a successful life is balance, so I do make sure I achieve this. I play tennis twice a week and represent my local club in the Surrey leagues…I am also a keen (warm weather) sailor but can forget that now until the spring !!!

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