In an interview with Chris from Urban Student Life, we look at what a typical day is like for a student accommodation manager in PBSA (purpose built student accommodation), at the kind of service that student tenants can expect from such a property and also at the demand and waiting lists that exist for student blocks like Keele House (where the interview took place).
Interview with Chris from Urban Student Life at Keele House
Rob: Chris, what are the roles and commitments that are required, on a day-to-day basis, for managing a block like this? I appreciate you said you have people on-site and there are phone calls that will come in but what does a typical day look like?
Chris: A typical day is always a busy day.
So, from the moment I walk in, I'll assess the building. I'll do a walk around, I'll make sure that everything is tidy, that there are no obstructions for the fire exits.
After that, I'll go through my email and check everything. Once everything is answered, I will then go through compliance, building compliance, which means making sure that the fire alarm panel has no faults, making sure that all the fire doors are closing properly, all the fire strips are there, that the dry riser is dry.
I'll be handing out post. I'll get tenants coming to the reception all the time to collect their post. We sign it in and keep it securely and then they sign for it when they pick it up.
Rob: So, it's a way more intensive management process than with a normal apartment block.
Chris: It is. And also, throughout the day, I'll get enquiries, of which there are a lot. Those inquiries, for example, this year, the building is full and last year it was full, as well. So, I do have about 30 or 40 people on a waiting list and I added another 5, today, so, it's slowly growing and I have no more rooms.
Rob: So, these are people who are wanting to move in?
Chris: Yes, exactly, they still want to move in but we are all full up. So, what I do is I'll make a note of them and then, later on, I will contact them with next year's prices, so they can already have an idea.
I'll also send emails to the tenants, advising them to turn off the lights, to think about the environment, to make sure that the rubbish is thrown out correctly in the recycling. Energy efficiency, basically and eco-friendly.
Also, I will send them... I'll take deals on things like pot pasta or Coke Zero. I have had a lot of pot pasta delivered. They are not out here, at the moment, I need to bring them out. So I give these out for free, just to make people feel welcome.
So, I think that is most of it.
Rob: So, it's quite a good spot for students. They are looked after quite well.
Chris: Yes, they are looked after and they always have somebody they can talk to. And it is most important that they feel welcome and if they are happy, they will book next year, again.