Charterhouse is a leading player in residential property management in Northern Ireland. With its beginnings in 1995, it has become established at the forefront of the property management market there.
Today Charterhouse is leading the way in many areas and its success is clear to see. In 2005 Charterhouse managed 80 developments; now it manages 165.
This comes at a time when the Northern Ireland property management market has been rather turbulent. Although the market has enjoyed some rapid growth, there have also been some difficult periods with a number of managing agent’s businesses failing.
Introducing Qube PM
Charterhouse came across Qube PM as a result of the upheavals in the marketplace. When one popular managing agent’s business went bankrupt in 2005, Charterhouse took on its properties and so inherited Qube PM. Once Charterhouse saw what Qube PM could do, it soon adopted the software across the whole business.
People at Charterhouse found PM easy to learn and were soon relying on it for everyday tasks such as:
- Maintenance – from changing light bulbs to major tasks.
- Financial Control – establishing Estate Fund, Apartment Block Funds, Insurance and Sinking Funds.
- Administration – scheduling service charge demands and implementing credit control reminders.
- Logging phone calls and emails.
Great People – Great Jobs
Charterhouse received the prestigious Investors in People Award in 2012. Again Charterhouse is leading the way – it is the only property management company in Northern Ireland to achieve this award. Investors in People is a testament to how Charterhouse looks after its people and Kieran Smyth, Charterhouse MD, is happy to give Qube Global Software some of the credit.
One of the great advantages of Qube PM is its ability to deal with repetitive administrative functions. This means people can focus on more important tasks which makes their jobs more satisfying and leads to a more productive and happier work environment. As Qube PM tracks the progress of different tasks this also helps Charterhouse identify and reward high achievers.
Charterhouse aims to ensure jobs are stimulating and fun. Qube PM helps get the staffing balance right.
“I’m so pleased we discovered Qube PM. It makes all the difference. ”
Kieran Smyth Managing Director
Kieran Smyth is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He sees putting strong financial management at the heart of a company as absolutely essential. This is particularly important in Northern Ireland, which has seen so many residential property management companies – and their clients – suffer the consequences of poor financial management.
Qube PM is ideal for this as it can track transactions quickly and easily. In an instant Charterhouse staff can find out who has paid what, where money needs to be allocated, and when. That way there are no surprises.
Because in the past so many developments have lost money, tenants want reliability and financial assurance more than ever. Yet a lack of regulation means anyone can set up in business. Recognising this, Charterhouse decided to set itself apart from the others and obtain FCA regulated status, even though this is not a legal requirement for residential property developments.
Charterhouse wanted to show it matches the standards of quality, respect and professionalism of businesses which are subject to regulatory compliance. This was achieved in 2005. At the time of writing Charterhouse is still Northern Ireland’s only FCA regulated residential property managing agent.
Charterhouse follows the FCA’s ‘11 Principles of Business’, including maintaining adequate financial resources, protecting clients’ assets and looking after their interests. Separate client accounts are entered, completed and verified daily; reconciled weekly and monthly; and audited regularly by independent chartered accountants.
“Our priorities are clear. We provide exemplary standards of service and tenants can be sure that their monies are safe. ”
Kieran Smyth Managing
Qube PM Tenant Portal
Charterhouse also leads the way in making the most of Qube PM’s Tenant Portal. This provides a ‘self-service’ facility so tenants can directly access their account details, report maintenance issues, make payments and seek other information – all online.
If a tenant wants to report something that requires maintenance, the traditional route is to call a help desk and the problem is then handed on to a maintenance worker. This involves many messages going backwards and forwards. The Tenant Portal cuts out the middleman. As soon as a tenant uses the portal to report something the maintenance team can respond directly.
The Tenant Portal is also increasingly popular for online payments. Tenants can make payments at their convenience and have instant access to their records so they know exactly what they owe and what they have paid. This convenient access removes a barrier to timely payment and helps us encourage tenants to pay on time, which is crucial for the effective management of the properties. Charterhouse now receives payments totalling around £4,000 via the Portal every week.
“ It’s simple: the less time we spend on admin, the more time we spend on site visits. That personal presence really matters. ” Kieran Smyth Managing Director
Another feature of the Tenant Portal is access to information. The Portal acts as a ‘noticeboard’, so key documents, such as records of service charges or minutes of meetings, can be accessed. This is very useful when selling properties as tenants are not only able to give potential purchasers the information they want, but can show them how accessible this information is. This is bound to impress purchasers and it saves all the photocopying that would previously have been needed.
Setting up the Portal was easy; it took just three hours. Everyone has found it simple to use. The number of tenants using the Portal keeps growing: approximately one third of those who use email are now using the Portal.
“Charterhouse has shown just how much the Tenant Portal can help build confidence and satisfaction in the service they provide. ” Stuart Lee of Qube Global Software
“The Tenant Portal gives us a clear edge over our competitors. It’s what tenants want. It’s the way forward.”
Kieran Smyth, Managing Director, Charterhouse
Now the marketplace has settled down, Charterhouse plans to step back and review all Qube PM’s capabilities, to see what else it can do and fill in any gaps in training.
Kieran is planning to make more use of Qube PM to fulfil the company secretarial function by producing accounts in the requisite format for filing. He also wants to anticipate any future regulatory requirements – such as the separation of bank accounts and sinking funds.
“Managing client monies and keeping everything separate is one of the key functions of Qube PM. We hear time and time again that this truly makes a difference to people. ” Les Burke Cashelmore Qube Global Software Agent – Ireland