‘As a non-resident landlord, I require a manager for my London property who is professional, pro-active and able to give recommendations when issues arise. Stella fits these criteria. She has looked after my property successfully for the last 15 years.’ – David Hunt
‘The tenant of a property I was managing in Shepherd’s Bush called me with an urgent problem. To put it nicely, “waste” was coming up through the sink at such a rate that it had flooded the floor and was seeping into the flat below. To make matters worse, it was a Saturday. I tracked down one of my contractors and we sorted it out. This job isn’t all glamour!’
I was rather relieved, having asked Stella Hockley to recall her more “unfortunate” experiences as a professional property manager, to find that she has such a polite turn of phrase. Specialising in the West London area, Fulham resident Stella has over 20 years’ experience representing absent or not-wishing-tobe-involved landlords and ensuring the smooth running of their tenancies.
‘My job is to take good care of the property and shield my clients from all the day-to-day logistical and practical hassles. I like to offer a personal, non-corporate service to both landlord and tenant; I am a point of contact and if I handle any concerns, they don’t have to worry.
‘Fundamentally, I build trusting, mutually beneficial relationships. In particular, it’s so important to get on with tenants; happy tenants are the key to keeping a property occupied – I will need their cooperation with inspections and viewings – limiting void periods and getting the best return on an investment.’
Having graduated in law, a background that stands her in good stead with the statutory aspect of tenancy agreements, and subsequently property management companies, Stella set up her own business three years ago. She now manages a portfolio comprising homes of all sizes.
‘Some of my landlords live abroad. For example, I have several who are on Foreign Office postings, so they couldn’t respond promptly even if they wanted to do so. I cover everything from finding a tenant, checking their references and drawing up the contract to ensuring the relevant regulations (Gas, Energy Performance, Fire Safety and House in Multiple Occupancy) are in order and carrying out the end of tenancy inventory.
‘One of my key responsibilities is to handle repairs. Landlords give me a float and I can call on a team of tried and trusted professional contractors to deal with plumbing, gas, electrics, decoration, white goods and pest control issues. I prefer to use one-man bands so I know who is accountable for the satisfactory completion of works. On occasion, I get involved in small refurbishment projects, such as bathrooms and kitchens, and I also look after empty properties, making regular visits to give the owners complete peace of mind.’
‘The letting process can be daunting, especially for the first time. There’s not much I haven’t come across or resolved. This isn’t a 9-5 job. If I’m awake at 11pm on a Sunday evening and a tenant needs me, I will come.’
Stella Hockley Property Management
1 Putney Bridge Approach
Fulham SW6 3BQ