Evolving role of property management

By John Roberts

If one reflects on the daily mandate of a South African commercial property manager over the last 10 years it is evident that the role has, and continues, to evolve.

The last few years have seen an increase in vacancies and defaults  and this has resulted in asset managers and property managers working more closely to not only ensure that the day-to-day cash flow of properties is protected,but also to look for income adding opportunities of strategic value for clients’ properties and portfolios.

The once distinct separation of an asset manager and property manager may be a thing of the past. The divide between the two has narrowed to such an extent that in some cases it has been blurred all together.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

A closer business relationship between an asset manager – usually employed by a landlord – and a property manager ensures that the properties’ operational and strategic considerations are taken into account when making day to day decisions.

Effective and streamlined commercial property management is no longer about ticking the basic boxes such as ensuring tenants pay their rent and managing the maintenance. Nowadays property managers need to also be involved in traditional asset management functions such as:

  • ·         income and expenditure benchmarking
  • ·         financial analysis
  • ·         tenant mix strategy
  • ·         property optimisation
  • ·         refurbishment
  • ·         re-development opportunities
  • ·         adopting sustainable “green” strategies

The traditional commercial property manager, given their operational experience and exposure should be able to ensure that strategies are both relevant and value enhancing.

Traditionally the standardproperty management fee, generally charged on a “cash collected” basis, does not cover these additional services and managers should highlight these to their clients.

All of these factors indicate the evolution of the role of the commercial property manager as the requirements of property owners and property asset managers in regard to property services have changed significantly.

It is now almost expected that property services companies provide a comprehensive ‘one-stop’ property and facilities management service.

John Roberts is CEO of Just Property Group

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