Hello! My name is Alan and together with my wife of 40 years, Deb, we manage and maintain the properties ourselves and look to provide a friendly but professional quality service for our students’ accommodation.
We have 2 grown-up children of our own – my son Andy, who helps me out in the summer months when he can (very good with a paint brush and roller!) – and daughter Chloe, who graduated from university just a few years ago and lived in rented student accommodation herself. Unfortunately she went through the trauma of dealing with a rip-off agency and absolutely useless landlord! (this was in London, not Stoke!) – so we do understand a bit about the needs of students from the parents’ point of view as well – so try to help rather than hinder! After all, the students are there to study and learn (and probably have some fun at the same time!) – and not have to worry about various bills, agents or landlords!
We are dog lovers
As we are dog lovers, we sometimes have a rescue dog in tow when we visit. They always love Hanley Park, just up the road from the houses, although we have to watch they don’t jump in the lake and chase the ducks! Currently we have a young labrador/lurcher cross called Pluto, who appeared in “For the Love of Dogs” on ITV with Paul O’Grady (Series 4 – autumn 2015).
Poor thing has a feeding problem (the dog, not Paul O’Grady…haha!) but as Chloe, who now actually works for Battersea Dog’s Home, was fostering Pluto, we got to know him, fell in love and couldn’t let him go. One of our favorites in the past was “Chief”, a – very – Old English Sheepdog, lived to nearly 15 (about 98 in human terms!). Here is a picture of us relaxing after a hard day!
Anyway, back to the reason we are here…
We see ourselves as friendly and fair and like to think that our tenants feel the same. In fact, we treat our tenants more like friends than tenants, and always like adults, not children! I have found that this way works better for all concerned. Our philosophy is to tell our tenants, “You look after our house, and we’ll look after you!”
When I started in this business, people said to me – “Don’t rent to students – they’ll trash your house!”.
Well, I have found this to be totally untrue. If you treat people properly, then they will usually respect you and treat your property with respect as well. Of course, there are the odd exceptions…!
Many times students have told me about their other friends who have inferior accommodation (usually at a higher price) and a “horrible” Landlord (their words not mine!). I would like to reassure you that we are not like that at all and is also the reason we have included a “Testimonial” page on the web site.
This is not to “gloat” – but landlords generally have a bad reputation (and fair enough, many are deserved) – so this will show more about the way we run our business and treat our tenants. It’s a joint venture, if you like.
Where we’re based
You may notice that I am currently based in Oxfordshire. That is not an issue for me as I spend most of the summer living in Stoke (in the actual houses, so we know them properly), and also a couple of weeks over Christmas and the New Year period (staying in a local hotel).
I can be in Stoke in less than 2 hours if necessary but in any case we have local specialist and trade contacts who we have built good relationships with and can rely on to sort out urgent problems for us, if required, with just a quick phone call so the students are well looked after if anything goes wrong. I can be contacted 24/7 by phone – so no delays or waiting for agencies to “open”.
Registrations and memberships
Although we have a relaxed and informal attitude with our tenants, we do take our business seriously, and as you can see from the logo’s below, we are registered with the “Landlord Accreditation Scheme” run by Stoke City Council – which means our properties meet the specified standards in terms of health and safety and living standards. (although we like to think we exceed these!). We are also registered and members of The North Staffordshire Landlords Association and Residental Landlords Association.
All our properties have a “Gas Safe” (previously CORGI) Gas Safety check annually, an NIC/EIC Electrical Safety Inspection Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate, and are equipped with mains powered smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire blankets, etc. They all comply with current housing legislation and local council regulations in respect of planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Fire regulations. The Gas appliances (Cooker & Central Heating Boiler) are professionally serviced each summer, without fail.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like more details of the properties or just to have a chat about possible accommodation – but if you are currently looking for accommodation for the next academic year, please do not wait too long, as our properties tend to be signed up quite early in the year!
Thanks for reading this far and we hope to hear from you soon! – Alan.