Introducing Busy Living – our new co-working platform

Co-working space at Camden Gateway

Co-working could be the next big trend in our towns and cities. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means workers from different companies sharing office space and generating cost savings on equipment, utilities, and receptionist services.

We’re so confident in a shift to this new way of working that Ringley is launching its own cloud-based operational management platform for commercial and residential buildings. The platform, named Busy Living, is aimed at the growth of mixed-use space, allowing buildings to function 24/7 without needing increased staff. It features cashless payments, facial recognition, and MoD biometric security.

We are testing the software on one of our own buildings, Camden Gateway, which comprises 10,00 sq. ft. of co-working space. Our new platform can also be white-labelled, which means building operators can brand it themselves and offer a customer-facing app alongside the digital back-end.

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director of Ringley, explains: “Our new platform aims to improve transparency, reduce cost, drive revenue and above all de-risk operations.

“The next-generation of buildings will merge multiple uses under one roof and what we are looking to do through our latest tech offering is to help better commercialise ‘live-work-play’ developments.

“There has been a shift towards operationalised real estate and the boundaries between different asset classes are blurring. Both residential and commercial property look to the hospitality and leisure industries for inspiration and learning, which is why our new tech is adaptable and sector-agnostic.”

Busy Living has been featured in Property Week. Click here to read the article in full. h

www.ringley.co.uk
Why not READ our Planet Rent Blog too: blog.planetrent.co.uk

Ringley apprentices: how we are helping young people into the property industry

This week is National Apprenticeship Week – now in its 13th year – and it’s a great opportunity to find out more about this practical and exciting route into employment. Bringing the whole apprenticeship community together, this week celebrates the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.

Business meetings, open days, celebration events and parents’ evenings are all being held in workplaces, schools and training provider’s premises around the country. For the first time, this year National Apprenticeship Week includes weekend activities, with employers opening their doors to young people and their parents at open day events.

And for employers, like us at Ringley, it’s a chance for us to tell you more about what we’re doing to help young people get into the property industry. We have been supporting apprenticeships for years now. It’s a great way to train our own staff while at the same time bringing young people into employment and allowing them to get a taste of the property business at the sharp end.

One great success story from our own business is Leana, who started off at Ringley as an intern in February 2018. She did so well and was such a great fit with our Proptech team that we offered her a full-time job. We are now sponsoring Leana’s Master’s degree in Real Estate as well as her APC qualification to become a chartered surveyor. So Leana gets a really good start in the property industry and we get a highly qualified and committed member of staff. That’s got to be a win-win all round.

We have apprentices and interns coming to us throughout the year; some do marketing, some do data-related jobs. We spend time explaining why they are doing what they are doing, so they understand the bigger picture and can see where they fit into everything we do as professional property managers. Some are still at school and come to us for a few hours weekly. We try and inspire them and perhaps help them choose a career path

We also take on apprentices from outside the UK, who come here for several months to gain experience and get to grips with British culture and life in a foreign city. We like to think we help prepare them for the world of work. Some come back more than once and some, like Leana, stay on permanently.

Today, from 12 – 2pm there will be a #AskAnApprentice Q&A on Twitter. So if you or someone in your family is interested in an apprenticeship, now’s your chance to find out more.  And if you think you’d like to work with us at Ringley, give us a call. You never know, it could be the start of a whole new career.

Can offsite-construction deliver the homes we want to buy?

Modular homes are coming to a street near you…

Modern methods of construction or MMC are rapidly gaining traction with the government. Using just-in-time production methods and factory-based techniques mean offsite, modular homes can be produced quickly to consistent quality; developers are no longer held to ransom by bad weather or on-site skills shortages.

Earlier this month, Housing Minister Esther McVey visited Legal & General’s modular housing factory in Sherburn. It’s the largest advanced manufacturing facility for modular homes in Europe and aims to produce 3,500 new homes a year. Houses are digitally-designed with the computer code feeding directly to the production floor, where the latest automation and assembly-line production techniques are being showcased.

The aim is to make MMC a large scale solution for every tenure: social housing, homeownership, and build to rent. The industrialisation of housing also makes it possible for modular homes to be designed around the needs of house buyers: safety requirements, environmental needs, and quality standards can all be taken on board. Economies of scale mean that the bigger the orders placed with modular businesses, the better they are able to plan ahead and price competitively.

But there could be a spanner in the works – in the UK, housing is the one thing that many of us prefer to buy second hand. According to The Guardian, around three-quarters of us aren’t keen on new build homes.  Key dislikes include small rooms, limited storage space, not enough natural light and too few flexible spaces for communal and private living or changes in the household over time.

This makes the design as well as build quality of new housing mission-critical, especially as the government is pledging 300,000 new homes every year by the mid-2020s. The conundrum for developers in the next few years will be not only how to build lots of new houses fast but also how to make them just as spacious, flexible and attractive as the older house down the road.

The key is likely to be in sustainability. L&G promises high quality, affordable homes that will also reduce living costs by delivering low or no energy bills. Even in a nation that loves its aging housing stock, that might just be a winning formula!

Pay your rent on time – and boost your credit rating!

 

Do you always pay your rent on time? If so, your on-time payments could soon improve your credit rating in exactly the same way that homeowners benefit by keeping up their mortgage payments.

The Cindexreditworthiness Assessment Bill, which is now going through Parliament, will enshrine this in law. The Bill requires certain matters to be taken into account when assessing a borrower’s creditworthiness and once enacted – hopefully in 2019 – for the first time, credit providers will have to include your rental and council tax payment history when calculating your credit score. At the moment, timely rental payments aren’t necessarily reflected in people’s credit reports but – hopefully – this is all about to change. The Bill, which was put forward by Big Issue founder Lord Bird, has cross-party backing in the House of Commons and had its second reading in October.

And the change won’t only work in tenants’ favour – it will be good news for landlords too. The Residential Landlords Association says 61% of landlords support the move; it believes including rent payments in your credit rating in this way will also make it easier for landlords to make a more accurate assessment of a prospective tenant’s credit and rent payment history. In turn that would make it more straightforward for people with a good credit record to find rental property quickly and easily.

This bill is long, long overdue. With rental and/or mortgage payments being the largest and arguably most important outgoing for UK households, it has always been unfair to tenants that they have been denied the ability to have their ‘rent worthiness’ to be taken into account.

Latest estimates show that around 5.4 million UK households rent, so once this legislation is enacted it stands to make a big difference to many people’s lives whether they wish to prove their credit worthiness to a prospective landlord, buy a new car or take out a bank loan. It will open up fairer access to more affordable credit to a wider pool of responsible borrowers and prevent people from falling into the high-cost-credit poverty trap.

Your Move’s Landlord Survey, which recently polled 1,071 landlords and tenants to learn more about their portfolios, behaviours and attitudes towards tenants, agents and the lettings market, shows that landlords vote trustworthiness as the most important quality in tenants. Just over a quarter (26%) of landlords’ surveyed rate tenants who pay on time as the most important consideration.

PlanetRent created by the Ringley Group will soon be making rent worthiness data available to support tenants and landlords alike.  PlanetRent is lettings automated – for landlords who want paperless deals, advertising, landlord websites, compliance sorted, protection from fines and the whole audit trail completely taken care of.  To find out more go to PlanetRent.co.uk

 

 

Honest profits of thousands of small businesses squeezed today…..

Today was the day that Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed plans to ban letting agents’ fees to tenants in England.  It is unclear what constitutes letting agents fees to tenants;

  • Is it the disbursement we pay to 3rd party referencing agents such as Agent Assured, Maras or Paragon?
  • Is it the fee that represents the cost we pay to get our tenancy agreements drafted or licenced use?
  • Surely it is not the Inventory Clerk’s charge?
  • And, what where the Agent has invested in staff training to provide these services in-house – are they now to be penalised?

Whilst the details of this important announcement are very unclear there is a promise that in Spring 2017 the DCLG will consult ahead of legislating.

For those Agents like us who have already invested in technology it may hurt less, our portal  planetrent.co.uk  enables us to

– take e-offers at the viewing, which

– nudges landlords to accept offers, and

– enables tenants to go home and do their referencing,

– takes payments by phone,

– sends out contracts for e-signing to landlords, tenants and guarantors,

– triggers authority to release keys, and

– a series of pre-move in checks

So whilst one can argue that if we are e-signing contracts and tenants are referencing at home arguably we have innovated to prepare, but how do we recover our 150,000 investment?

ARLA do not believe that these measures will tackle rogue landlords or agents who will continue to operate outside the law.

ARLA is extremely disappointed that this announcement has been made without a strong basis of evidence.  We are asking the Chancellor and the Housing Minister for a meeting at their earliest opportunity in order to ensure that they fully understand the damage that this will cause to housing standards and the impact on the cost of renting.  But we then come full circle to – how does the government expect agencies which represent a huge number of small businesses to recoup their capital investment costs.

So whilst the legislative burden and our admin continues to grow we don’t have the tax payer to pay for IRIS eye scanners or counterfeit passport training to help us become unpaid UK Border Force employees.  We cannot look to our landlord’s for help as despite buy-to-let properties being the best answer to the pensions crisis our landlord’s are being squeezed as ‘mortgage interest tax relief’ and ‘wear and tear’ allowances are phased out. So once again small business is hit whilst we drink coffee, search and bank with legalised tax evaders and our industry once again takes the brunt of successive governments’ inability to provide sufficient housing stock.