A meander along Down Avenue
Down Avenue is a street that has a mix of property owners, tenants renting their homes and a few Airbnb’s too. The people who live in Down Avenue keep themselves to themselves. They go about their business with minimal interaction. No good morning salutations, no neighbourly chats. The people of Down Avenue walk along their street past crumbling walls and gutters which are overgrown with plant life. There are signs of a street that was once beautiful and cared for. Large wooden plant pots that now feature nothing more than a few sunshine yellow dandelions that add a small pop of colour.
When it’s raining, the gutters overflow causing large puddles of water in the street. The wheelie bins are strewn across the pavements, often never being returned to their respective sheds. The roofs on some of the buildings are covered in moss with chimney stacks that look like a slight gust of wind might knock them of their spot entirely.
At the entrances to the buildings, many of the secure entry systems aren’t working. So you see visitors standing outside calling people inside to let them know they are waiting. The people who live there get frustrated at the many missed deliveries of parcels and important mail when they aren’t home as the Service button can’t be accessed.
The windows haven’t been cleaned in so long, they can hardly be called windows anymore. No light comes through and you can’t see out of them. The window sills have more than a sprinkling of dust and cobwebs. The stairwells are dark and feel unsafe because the bulbs in the lighting haven’t been replaced. The flooring is tatty and needs cleaned – a simple task that no one is taking responsibility to do. The once pristine railings that wind their way up the middle of the stairs are now peeling and chipped.
Down the stairs and out to the back gardens, there’s a mix of beautiful tended to spaces with flowers and plants alongside grass that’s overgrown up to waist height. The people who do look after their garden often feel disappointed that their neighbours don’t seem to care about their outdoor space. It’s a luxury after all. An outdoor space that could be getting used and appreciated instead of what they have.
Around the Corner to Uppington Terrace
Uppington Terrace is a hop, a skip and a jump away from Down Avenue. The two streets are neighbours with one backing on to the other, joined by a small road that connects yet awkwardly disconnects the two. Because Down Avenue and Uppington Terrace are the same, yet different.
Uppington Terrace also has a mix of property owners, tenants renting their homes and some Airbnb properties. The people at Uppington Terrace are really not much different. A little friendlier, they nod and smile when they pass each other in the street in the morning or late in the evening. They wander down a street that’s lined with blossom trees and well-tended flower beds, where bees buzz around on warm summer evenings. The Neighbourhod Watch signs adorn the street lights offering a feeling of safety and security.
The brickwork on the buildings is a series of straight lines punctuated by perfect brickwork. The beeep beeep of a cherry picker echoes around the exterior walls as you look up to see the gutters being cleared just in time for autumnal leaves falling from the trees. It won’t matter if it rains on Uppington Terrace, the water will fall as it should, swept into pipes and underground tunnels.
Whether it’s rain or shine, the delivery person never has an issue getting access to any homes. The secure entry buzzes when the button is pressed and access is given from the comfort of their homes. The stairwell is clean with plants on the windowsills adding some colour and brightness. No chance of chipped paintwork on the railings – it’s glossy and fresh. The back gardens are a pleasure to hang washing in or relax and enjoy the midday sun on a Saturday afternoon.
Why are these two very similar streets so different? How can two streets, less than a few metres apart be so at odds with each other?
Most of the buildings in Down Avenue are not managed by a Property Management firm whilst Uppington Avenue is routinely maintained by a local Property Manager. The people who live in Down Avenue love their homes, but the majority have never found the time to get together to organise who will do the boring task of ensuring their homes are kept clean, tidy and in good condition. Nobody in the homes that are not managed is taking responsibility for ensuring the upkeep of the building or the gardens. And because of this, the entire street has suffered. It’s what we might call the ‘broken windows effect’ – where it becomes acceptable for a particular state of affairs to be the norm.
Whereas, the people in Uppington Avenue have always managed to see the benefit of having a Property Management firm organise the maintenance and repair of their buildings. They may not all have the same Property Management firm looking after things, but they don’t need to worry about wear and tear, general maintenance or unforeseen work that needs to be done. It’s an expense however they appreciate that it’s an investment and will save them money in the long run. After all – prevention is better than cure.
We make it easy for Property Management firms to do business with clients and contractors. If your Property Management firm would like to discuss the benefits of software that’s flexible enough to do what you need it to and robust enough that it does everything you want it to, get in touch with our UK based team.
Brian Welsh, MD CPL Software. Connect with Brian on Linkedin.