Our promise to you (and we mean it)
This unprecedented viral outbreak that we’re all experiencing in one way or another has already had a significant impact on our daily lives, and will no doubt leave lasting effects long after the virus itself is under control. At Paramount, we’ve always been committed to connecting with people on a level that puts business aside, and to using our resources to help our community because we know that it’s the right thing to do. Our promise to you is that we will continue to carefully consider the challenges that our tenants, landlords, team, and the people around us are facing, and will face as things evolve, and what we can do practically to help in a way that makes a difference.
What we are doing to help now
Our entire office is fully operational working remotely. Our Property Management team is currently in the process of calling every one of our tenants and landlords, one by one, to find out if everyone is ok, if they are in need of help, and what we can do to accommodate individual circumstances to help people get through this. During these prolonged times of isolation, sometimes just having someone to chat to can make a difference in your day. It certainly makes a difference for us.
In addition to our whole team being accessible by phone or email (our contact info can be found here), we have a live chat (to the right) that we respond to immediately, and someone is always available 24/7 to respond to emergency calls. For tenants reporting a maintenance issue through Fixflow, we now check whether anyone in your household has symptoms, has been tested for COVID-19, or has been in contact with someone known to be positive for the virus before we attend. We're also conducting inspections over Zoom whenever possible.
For people who are self-isolating and are in need of necessities, we have a small team of two that will pick these items up for you and drop them off at your door. Doing so, they make sure to follow government recommended practices to prevent spreading the virus (for example, wearing masks and gloves, using hand sanitiser where appropriate, and follow social distancing practices). We have already successfully delivered quite a few of these packages within our community, and what continues to motivate us is being able to solve that problem for people to help them stay home.
We know that some tenants are now in uncertain circumstances with their employers and are experiencing financial challenges that are out of their control. We have our whole team working on a case-by-case basis with these tenants and their landlords to find the best possible solutions to get them through this. We’re also offering advice to our landlords on ways to reduce their costs in the short term to help them adapt.
The reality of the current (and necessary) lockdown is that some people are losing their jobs, and consequently, more people than ever are needing to use local food banks to get by. Our office is temporarily closed and for the time being cannot act as a collection point, but we continue to strongly urge those who are able to donate to their local food bank directly (ours is Camden foodbank). Many neighbourhoods have also created groups through messaging apps to check in with each other and share necessities, and we encourage you join yours (check online) to see if there are people around you that might need help.
We are now using our social media to help promote local independent businesses, which are extremely vulnerable to the economic impact that this outbreak will have, and encourage our community to support their initiatives. If you’d like to find out more you can click here for our Facebook (@paramountpropertieslondon), Instagram (@paramountldn), or Twitter (@west_hampstead).
What our plan is for the future
The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures have taught us a lot about how adaptable we already are, and how important it is to be even more so looking into the future. We were able to get the whole team set up and running at full capacity in 6 days with only minor adjustments to make sure things run smoothly from department to department. Of course, it couldn’t have been accomplished without the team that we have, who are so ready to take on these new challenges and problem solve until we have a system that works for our tenants and landlords.
The following quote from my recent conversation with Spencer, our Managing Director of Lettings, sums up how we will go forward from this crisis:/p>
“Now that we have a bit of time on our hands, it’s time to reimagine the business, not to rebuild what we had, because what we had wasn’t good enough…”
As life changes for our tenants, landlords, and the people in our community, we promise to change with them.
Let’s share acts of kindness
Amid this crisis, we’re witnessing heartening acts of kindness and compassion from people around us that really motivate us to do more. We’ve had landlords, including those with properties close to hospitals, reach out to us to arrange free accommodations for the NHS staff working on the frontlines. We’ve had other landlords (who are in an able position) reach out to us to grant rent breaks for tenants working in industries that are most vulnerable to the lockdown, and we’ve had the honour of being able to break this news.
Hannah, one of our veteran Property Managers, commented:
“It was really emotional for me to hear what it meant to each and every tenant that I spoke with. It felt like I was able to provide some relief for them in such an unpredictable time. It was amazing to know that at the end of the call they had one less worry to deal with – that worry being their home.”
During these times it’s important to share news of how people are helping each other to lift our spirits and spread the inspiration. If you have a story that you’d like to share, we would love to hear it. Get in contact with us on Facebook (@paramountpropertieslondon), Twitter (@west_hampstead), LinkedIn, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 020 7644 2312.
To help support each other, our team check in with each other often, sharing funny videos, making sure we each have everything we need to get by, and generally making sure that although physically we’re isolated, socially we’re not. Our living spaces have become multi-purpose offices/gyms/classrooms/rec rooms/virtual conference rooms/daycares – you name it! – but we are adapting, as we know many of you are adapting.
We’ve also taken on a few new four-legged coworkers!
Frankly, the new hires are a bit lazy, but they make us smile so we’ll keep them on for now.