Are you attending the University of Warwick and seeking student accommodation for September 2013 – July 2014?
Sadly, I can no longer be of assistance, however I know a company that can! The majority of properties formerly managed by Smarter Housing are now handled by S&J Estates. Whilst I have nothing to do with S&J Estates, I do know they are nice people and take the same proactive approach that I did.
I also highly recommend J S Property. As of 26th February 2013, they have a small selection of student houses available for the September 2013 academic year.
Looking for details of where I went wrong? Read on….
It is with great regret that I must announce my first failure in the world of business, after Smarter Housing Limited was struck off Companies House further to ‘public interest’ proceedings.
This is particularly frustrating as I founded Smarter Housing in 2005 in an attempt to raise the standard of student accommodation and put huge amounts of effort into ensuring unrivalled levels of service. Looking at the company in 2008 you would have seen a prosperous young enterprise, managing one of the largest student property portfolios in the West Midlands.
Smarter Housing had a fantastic reputation amongst students which allowed us to let properties extremely quickly. Happy landlords were more than willing to refer our services and we quickly expanded from a handful of clients in Leamington Spa to manage properties as far apart as Birmingham and Nottingham.
As recognition of my early efforts, I found myself working with the Government backed ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign, helping the next generation of entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality. In addition, I received national press coverage along with my induction into the Courvoisier Future 500 (CVTF500) and even found myself quoted by former ‘dragon’ Doug Richard in an article on business survival.
Sadly, in August 2008 I found myself faced with personal problems that required my immediate attention. My decision to appoint an office manager was not thought through properly and, out of her depth without my management input, she oversaw what can only be described as a catastrophic failure.
In defence of my office manager, who shall remain anonymous, to this day I am convinced her actions were not malicious. Sadly the same cannot be said about two other employees. Margaret Bearman felt she was entitled to cash being brought into the office, faked an armed robbery (article), found herself charged with theft from employer (article) and only escaped justice as a result of complications surrounding the time frame in which the CPS must prosecute. Gareth Flowers, who helped Margaret with rent collection, managed to live in one of our properties rent free between August 2008 and July 2010. This was especially annoying as Gareth always convinced me he was a true friend.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing a number of blog posts on the failure of Smarter Housing, what I’ve learned from the experience and how you can avoid making the same mistakes: and it’s fair to say I made plenty 🙂
In the meantime, I’ll leave you this video of one of our student digs in Leamington Spa….
Smarter Housing: raising the standard of student accommodation