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Property managers take centre stage

The task of managing a property is usually outsourced by building owners with rent-paying tenants to specialist companies (often departments of the major brokers), but it is nevertheless a role which is generally considered to be slightly to one side of the ‘mainstream’ real estate business. Coronavirus has changed this perception, however, and this aspect of the overall business, along with the Property Manager himself or herself, are now much more centrally involved in the decision-making process – both for owners and tenants.

The sudden closure or part closure of businesses catapulted property managers to central stage, with multiple tasks to accomplish. All of a sudden, a dialogue between property owners, building users and occupants, became vital for the very continued operation of those businesses still working, and for the ‘hibernation’ of the others. They are seen as technical and legal experts, accountants and more, but above all advisors, in fact property managers are assuming a key role in the value chain. They are being called upon of course for the instigation of sanitary measures, of physical barriers, but are also being asked to interpret and explain governmental directives, to advise on rental payments...

Frédéric Van de Putte, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Real Estate Belgium & Luxembourg, which has its own property management department, explains how property managers have become so important: “Reporting on the activities and situation of a building generally takes place monthly or quarterly, but is now taking place weekly and in a far more interactive manner. This is enabling us to really take on our role of Advisor, and to help in drawing up recommendations and strategic action plans for the weeks to come. We are being hugely called upon because we are seen as legitimate. Nobody has such an overall view as the property manager. Today, owners and users realise to what extent we are involved in these subjects: we have the data of course, but we also have an understanding of the building and of the need of its occupants. With this, we are in a position to make real recommendations.”
Tim Harrup
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