Bang on schedule, Story of Home Lettings is being headed up by one of the most experienced and trusted experts in London property.
Rob Burwood has been building his expertise in London lettings for forty years. His reputation is as a wise counsel and gifted problem-solver to landlords and tenants in this beautiful city. He is very much a family man and a North Londoner. Handsome, by design, we wanted you to meet him.
What’s the first thing you want to tell us, Rob?
That clients who want to rent can be ambitious and have ideals about a dream home the same way buyers can.
There are some exceptional rental properties available on the market. They give you, as a tenant, the opportunity to sample different lifestyles in great locations, in various styles of property.
Walk us through your CV.
I’ve been in estate agency all my working life. That’s 40 years now.
I started working in North London as a sales agent in the early 80s. After 15 years, I moved to the West End, working in Covent Garden. That was a fascinating area and era in which to be working in the highest quality lettings and I really fell in love with the area. I spent a total of 25 years working in Central London, on a huge range of stunning properties, from Pearson Square, the contemporary redevelopment of the vacant Middlesex Hospital site in Fitzrovia, to the period architectural masterpieces of Bloomsbury, and the beautiful squares and secluded mews of Marylebone.
I have represented and advised several charities and large portfolio property companies and found homes for numerous high-level executives either working directly for their companies or via my network of specialist property finder contacts.
How do you approach the job?
It’s fundamental to gain a really in-depth understanding of the requirements and expectations of my client, and their concerns and their ambitions, relating to either the tenency they’re about to start or the property they wish to let. I put myself in their position to understand exactly what they want and need. Everyone is living their own life story and I try to consider how letting or renting a home or a portfolio of properties fits into theirs.
Our aim at Story of Home is to take care of every small detail in the letting of a client’s property. My job is to anticipate any potential problems before they happen. We are offering total piece of mind and reassurance that their property is in the right hands. It can be daunting, especially for landlords, and that’s where I consider myself an expert whose job it is to make things easier.
What is the daunting bit?
There’s a lot of legislation involved in the private rental market. It’s difficult if you are new to it, or even if you’re not, to keep up with all the new laws and regulations. For landlords, the way it should work is that I am acting as their counsel. I am there to protect them as much as to protect the tenant. Part of that process is to ensure that they are completely legally compliant and fulfilling their responsibilities.
That’s a very important part of my job, to make sure that landlords understand their responsibilities and are fully compliant with them. I’m here to guide them through that so they can relax in the knowledge that they are doing all the right things.
By helping and protecting landlords, I am simultaneously acting as a guardian to the tenant. The two things are interdependent. I am a caretaker to landlords and tenants and by protecting one, I look after the other.
What’s the fun bit?
Working with beautifully designed homes in the best city in the world.
It might surprise people to know that when I hand over the keys to a tenant, I get the same buzz out of that as somebody selling a home to a homeowner. I’m excited for them because it’s the start of a new adventure, a new chapter, and they are going to be looked after by me going forward.
And I take equal pride in that moment with regards to the landlord. I offer a concierge service. It’s not just the buzz of handing over the keys to a tenant that matters to me, it’s doing so with the promise to the landlord that we will take care of everything else. That includes maximising returns on their investment as if it was our own property.
Where’s home for you?
I live where North London meets the suburbs and it gives me a bit of everything. I’ve got very quick access into town, but I also like the greenery of where I live. There are some very good parks, one very good football club, and I’m close to the countryside. I love the variety of London, it’s a big city.
The West End is always exciting, there’s always something happening. All the years I spent working in property there gave me a taste for the inexhaustible number of venues for entertaining and going out in the evening that the West End offers.
I particularly like traveling around London to different live music venues. That’s a big part of my free time. I love live entertainment. That combined with my job means there are very few corners of this city I don’t know and haven’t got a feeling for.
And I guess being on two wheels helps you know London extra well?
Absolutely. My motorbike is an integral part of my working and non-working life. I love riding through town once the traffic’s died down. It’s just a great way of zipping around and reaching parts of town quickly that otherwise might be a bit difficult. I have been on two wheels for many decades just because of the freedom it allows you.
So, it’s city life for you all day long?
No way! The one thing I love as much as London is mountains, covered in snow. I’ve been a keen skier since I was a boy and try to get to the slopes whenever possible. Subsequently both of my daughters are also enthusiasts and there is nothing I enjoy more. I sneak in the odd round of golf although that is a pursuit that is expensive in terms of time and lost balls.
How can people contact you?
Tenants and landlords should contact me at absolutely anytime. That means at any point in the process, even if they are just beginning to consider entering the rental market. Even if they feel it is too early, it might be that they just have a few particular questions, or there may be some guidance I can give them. It’s never too early to speak because you never know what opportunities might be there.
Rob is a Member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (MARLA). He is also an Associate of the Institute of Residential Property Managers (AIRPM), offering expert advice and guidance to landlords with block management.
If you are looking for some advice or help get in touch with Rob on 0207 867 3999 or firstname.lastname@example.org