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Movers & shakers WOMEN IN PROPERTY

High heels and ladders don't mix

The right training and good qualifications are key to a successful career in property management, says Kate Boyes

lives. It is a sign of the working environment generally, but property management lends itself very well to flexible working.

Do you think it is important for there to be more women in senior property management roles? I think it is important for the industry to attract and retain good people, regardless of whether they are men or women. Property management is a very tough job, requiring a multitude of skills, and I don't think fees and salaries reflect the same standards that clients expect from estate agents. Managing agent's fees should be set at a level that means salaries can be remunerated properly for what is a professional and challenging job.

How do you think the industry (and ARMA / RICS) can attract more women into these roles? I was offered the opportunity to apply for sponsorship at university from a firm in London (Chartwell Land) which was definitely a kick starter. It was part of a campaign at the time to attract more women into property. Property management companies, ARMA and the RICS should encourage their members to talk to sixth formers and explain the opportunities that property management can offer. There are no doubt press opportunities for the professional bodies to feature career highlights and opportunities available to women in property that would attract more women into the industry. Property offers a wealth of exciting careers.

Kate Boyes

What first attracted you to property management? I was working in commercial management in London and wanted to move into the residential market, first because I was attracted to the long term relationships that could be built with the clients, and second because at the time management was seen as the poor relation to agency and I could see a business opportunity that others were ignoring.

What is your current role and what does it involve? I am the partner in charge of estate and block management and residential lettings at Alexandre Boyes in Tunbridge Wells and a

director of Resident . Alexandre Boyes is a family partnership with departments in residential sales, lettings and block management. I established the block management and the lettings team and am ultimately responsible for 11 members of staff and about 300 clients. In lettings I focus on valuations and new business, procedures and policies, and marketing. In block management I develop new business, and advise on leasehold complications, resolving outstanding issues on new developments, and have particular experience in listed buildings. I am constantly looking at our business model and

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our systems and processes and staff training to see how we can improve and move forwards.

Resident is an entirely new business product for us, being an online property solution for leaseholders and freeholders to self-manage blocks of flats (see Flat Living issue 19). I launched it nationally in August 2014 and my role is really varied, from design to working with the developers on content, to marketing, advising new clients and sales.


What are the key changes that have taken place in property management over the course of your career? Awareness of leasehold law and issues by consumers has definitely increased. There is a huge movement towards leaseholders being educated and advised on how the system

works and we developed Resident in part to contribute towards leaseholders having more control over their buildings. As a result, the market is much more challenging for managing agents and the need for professional qualifications and regulation is increasingly important. It is disappointing however that there isn't the same movement towards mandatory regulation of agents in block management, as there is in the lettings sector. We are now discussing flexible working with as many male staff as female staff to help them juggle their professional and personal


What barriers to success, if any, have you come across and how did you overcome them? I haven't really come across any barriers, more frustration at the corporate ladder and the appearance that promotion would come via time served, rather than performance. That is why I wanted to work for a smaller, independently owned firm where success was directly correlated with hard work and achievements.

What advice would you give to other women working in property management? Obtain professional qualifications and continually learn from everyone you work with across the spectrum from contractors, to lawyers, to accountants, to gather a breadth of knowledge. Gather as much onsite tangible training as possible. Learn building pathology. Don't expect to be treated any differently. And remember that high heels don't climb ladders.

What are your hopes for the future of the profession? Mandatory regulation and recognition as a professional career, and in turn improved relationships and communication between freeholders, leaseholders and managing agents.

Kate Boyes MRICS Director Resident Ltd

Issue 20

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