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Hands-on key to properties in transition.

New York City office buildings grab headline attention when news of foreclosure actions hits the streets. But once a building enters receivership and the furor dies down, the real work begins behind the headlines for the newly assigned property manager.

Winoker has recently taken over the property management for a number of buildings in receivership -- and we've learned first-hand the unique and important role the property manager plays in shaping the successful turnaround of such properties.

First, a property in receivership requires extensive and intensive reporting. A property manager is accustomed to providing complete and up-to-date information to owners. However, in the case of a property in receivership, reporting must be made to the receiver and, more often that not, reporting must also be made to the mortgagee or party which started the foreclosure action. At the same time, the managing agent is under careful watch by the building's ownership.

Given the fact that Winoker's Property Management Division is completely computerized and staffed with trained professionals in the field, this would normally be a relatively simple task. However, we have found that many properties in receivership are delivered to the property management company with incomplete documents.

It is not uncommon to take on a new building management assignment for a property in receivership missing pertinent lease information, insurance certificates, and previous real estate tax, porters wage and other agent billing information. Generally, some of the missing documents do turn up many months down the road. In the interim, we take on the arduous task of piecing together information, filling in holes, and creating streamlined and complete systems for the management of important information.

In addition to this, we often encounter partially completed projects, non-compliance with many local laws, as well as many outstanding violations. These challenges must also be met.

The consuming investigation, reporting and correction work is just one job for the receiver's property manager. Concurrent with this work -- and equally important -- is the new building manager's role in tenant retention.

Often a building in receivership has recently gone through a period of shaky tenant-owner relations, sometimes coupled with a reduction in building service. It is the role of the receiver's property manager to neutralize tenant concern and strive to establish new, positive relations between tenants and the property.

To this end, once we begin an assignment as managing agent for a receiver, we immediately seek out and meet with every tenant in the property. Our message: their building will be run at the highest level of service and we are on-site to make sure all problems are addressed, all questions are answered.

This hands-on approach to property management serves a twofold purpose. First, it allows us to improve the building's relations with its users. This, in turn, initiates the stabilization of the property's tenancy -- imperative in the retention of existing tenants. The development of positive "word of mouth" by the tenants also facilitates the leasing of space to new users.

Second, meeting with tenants and listening to their complaints and concerns, enables us to learn about building systems and services that require immediate attention and repair. Once we are made aware of specific issues of concern to tenants we are able to tackle and correct any problems.

One other important task for the receiver's property manager is the development of a cohesive on-site building team. We take the time to acquaint ourselves with the existing building staff, educating them about the property's situation and our style of management. We also listen to them, learning about situations and services unique to the property. The success of the property depends, to a great extent, on an agent's ability to quickly establish loyalty and teamwork with the existing building staff. This results in immediate, efficient service.

Clearly, serving as managing agent for a property in receivership is a major undertaking. It requires a team effort between on-site managers, top executives and leasing specialists. Working together as such a team, we at Winoker are able to deliver the complete billing and financial reporting required by the receiver while developing positive relations with the property's tenants and running the property at the highest level of service, cleanliness and order.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Building Management & Maintenance; advice for property managers
Author:Winoker, David
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 6, 1993
Previous Article:Water metering: is it worth it?
Next Article:Informed owner reps facilitate leasing.

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