Gold Standard Award Interview with Michael Paul

Michael is the Founder and Managing Director at Strangford Management and is continually striving to deliver the best service within the industry.  He has been awarded OPR’s Gold Standard for November 2020!


1. What makes a good block manager?

That is quite a broad question and it really comes down to a mix of experience and softer skills. The best property managers I have worked with are the ones that have had experiences, good and bad, which they have learnt from and improved themselves thereafter. This role entails a constant cycle of learning and the best ones are the ones that constantly strive for an improvement to themselves and others around them. The softer skills are communication, strategy, persuasion and empathy, all needed for the role!


2. What do you class as excellent customer service?

I think it comes down to communication really, that when combined with a strategy leads to successful results. With an effective strategy you can start to pre-empt issues, solving them before they become large enough to be noticed and if you can start to achieve results in that manner, then communicate them frequently, you will start to notice peoples reaction to your customer service.


3. What advice would you give your younger self 5 years ago that you know now?

Well I started Strangford Management about 5 years ago so that would be a very long answer as the difference between then and now is considerable. Steering it away from Property Management for a moment, one great bit of advice I received (amongst many others) was to read more. You can gain such valuable experience vicariously through someone else’s experiences so whilst you may not be exposed to certain situations yourself, you can make great improvements just through reading more. That, and meditation, huge game changer!

4. What is your favourite place in London?

I feel like I have a favourite place in each borough of London really so that’s difficult but as our office is in the City I will stick to there. I would say St Dunstan in the East, early in the morning as the sun breaks through the ruins, it’s a magical place at that time and it’s a special place for me personally.

5. How has Covid effected block management?

With property management being a customer led business, and with Covid having a huge impact on all our customers, it has brought many challenges, from the restrictions of meeting face to face, learning new technologies to adapt, the challenges of managing staff remotely and issues around mental health both internal and external, it’s been a learning curve that we have all experienced and are continuing to do so.


6. What is the biggest challenge within your role?

I am quite a hands on Managing Director and sometimes that is a blessing and a curse. It is a challenge to be getting involved in day to day issues whilst at the same time promoting the vision of the company and helping the employees and business on a macro level. Business is all about people and that can be a juggling act at times.


7.What do you look for when hiring onsite staff?

Experience in the industry and the softer skills I mentioned previously however I think a lot of agents overlook the suitability of matching the staff to the development. Certain onsite staff will match a certain type of development or building and therefore we really look to find the best fit for both the employee and the development as a whole.


8. Why do you love your job?

I love the people first and foremost, from the people I work with to the people we engage with outside of Strangford. I find people fascinating and love dealing with all sorts of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, you can learn so much and experience a lot in this industry through the people you deal with.


9. What makes Strangford Management different to other managing agents?

We look at Block Management is a different way to most and that is reflected in the way we have internally structured our staff for each client, the way we charge our clients and the systems we have in place to promote reporting and communication. I believe we have a deeper understanding that the industry is not just managing buildings but managing people, managing systems and managing results. We have a fantastic network of consultants that allow us to introduce technology to the company that continually innovates and promotes improvements.


10. Where is your favourite place to holiday?

I would say San Diego in California, I have family there, that combined with the beaches, the relaxed culture, the food, the weather….I could go on!

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  • Sarah Fitzpatrick, Senior Estates Manager

    From our very first conversation Andrew knew exactly the kind of role I was looking for, I didn’t have to go through job role after job role asking him to go back to the drawing board, there was an immediate understanding. During the recruitment process, Andrew was supportive and gave me all the tips and confidence I needed to sell myself during the interview stages. Once I was offered the job, the contract was explained to me in full and the process of negotiation and finalising was very easy thanks to Andrews reactive working and Client relationship management.   A big thank you to Andrew for placing me in a role I am able to be excited about again, I now love my job finally.

    - Sarah Fitzpatrick, Senior Estates Manager

  • Dorrie O’Brien, Customer Experience Manager

    Andrew is an extremely dedicated and hard-working recruiter. He’s friendly, listens to what you want and knows how important it is to match you up with the right role for you.

    - Dorrie O’Brien, Customer Experience Manager

  • Aki Spyrou, Estate Manager

    Zoe possesses a deep knowledge of the residential property management sector and works with a wide network of organisations ranging from developers and managing agents. What I value the most is that she always listens and was available to talk, recruiters have a tendency to treat property managers/estate managers as a commodity and this was not the case with Zoe. She is supported by like minded colleagues Andrew and Lucy who are great people also. Making the decision to look for another job is always daunting and Zoe was there to guide me and offer   career advise. Thank you so much Zoe for finding me the next step in my working career, I will forever be grateful.

    - Aki Spyrou, Estate Manager

  • Faye Davies, Assistant Estate Manager

    I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Lucy for your help in placing me in my current role. You were so easy to deal with and your communication was amazing! In the past when I've had contact with agencies they have failed to chase back up on leads or arrange interviews that they had promised. From start to finish you were so efficient and quick at what you do and I'm very happy in my new role. It was exactly what I was looking for and you kept in constant contact with me throughout the whole process. You're a star!

    - Faye Davies, Assistant Estate Manager

  • Ben Belcher, Head of Operations

    I have worked with Zoe for a number of years and can happily say that she is one of the most professional and diligent recruiters I have ever worked with.   Zoe  has always ensured that every candidate has been properly vetted prior to passing me any CV’s for review.  For those I progress to the interview stage, Zoe will always make sure they come properly prepared which shows her diligence for understanding the needs of the client, as well as understanding of the position being advertised.    I am also thankful to  Zoe for acting as my recruiter for my most recent appointment as Head of Operations.  I have to say she is  proactive in ensuring I was kept up to date every step of the way through the interview process and has regularly  kept in touch with me since to see how I am developing into the position.   

    - Ben Belcher, Head of Operations

  • Tom Young, Senior Property Manager

    I cannot recommend Zoe enough! My client was having difficulties securing a maintenance operative given their specific requirements, and had interviewed 8 candidates from two alternative agencies, but to no avail. Zoe was attentive in understanding the business needs, and the client swiftly secured a prime candidate at a competitive market rate. Her market advice and professionalism meant that the process was efficient and effective

    - Tom Young, Senior Property Manager

  • Anthony Bryan – Concierge

    Lucy was professional and genuinely wanted to find the best job to fit my needs. She was able to land me a progressive role within days, helping me throughout the whole process. I was extremely impressed with the dedication to regularly check in to see how I was doing after starting the new position. Thank you!

    - Anthony Bryan – Concierge

  • Jigar Savla – Property Manager

    Lucy helped me find my new job. She is an absolute pleasure to work with. Very attentive, she communicated very efficiently at every stage of the process giving me enough notice to prepare along with very useful tips. She never failed to wish me luck before every important juncture be it a telephone interview or the final interview with the Directors. I cannot recommend Lucy enough!

    - Jigar Savla – Property Manager

  • Funmi Akinwande – Property Manager

    Lucy is a fantastic recruiter, she really took her time to listen and find out my needs and requests. She is very proactive, attentive, friendly and very easy to communicate with. She helped me secure my dream job and I would highly recommend her to all my friends in the property industry.

    - Funmi Akinwande – Property Manager

  • Sampson Burrows, AIRPM – Block Manager

    I cannot recommend Lucy enough. Her professionalism & organisation are second to none and her knowledge and efficiency meant that the entire process of finding me a new role was stress-free and made simple. Lucy’s communication was brilliant and she was always available to answer any of my many questions. She is infinitely patient and nothing was too much trouble and I can’t thank her enough for that. If you are looking for a genuine and honest consultant to deal with, look no further than Lucy - she’s a superstar!

    - Sampson Burrows, AIRPM – Block Manager

  • Chris Peters – Head of Property Management, Inspired

    Inspired Property Management have been working closely with Zoe to find candidates to fill vacancies within our workforce. Zoe and her team have demonstrated high levels of professionalism and courtesy when sourcing candidates. They are always prompt to respond and honest and understanding of our needs. We would not hesitate to recommend them for recruitment services.

    - Chris Peters – Head of Property Management, Inspired

  • Dean Clarke – Director Lee Baron

    Zoe consistently provides us with quality candidates and exemplary standards of practice. Zoe is there for market advice when needed and without hesitation I would highly recommend her for your recruitment needs.

    - Dean Clarke – Director Lee Baron

  • Alannah Cairns, Operations Support Manager

    Zoe has been absolutely amazing throughout the entire recruitment process. I have never met such an honest and dedicated recruiter. Zoe listens to you and advises based on her strong knowledge of the sector and your career/client objectives. I found Zoe to be supportive, motivating and highly professional during my job search and felt nothing but confident during every part of the process. I cannot thank her enough for believing in me- Zoe you are brilliant at what you do!

    - Alannah Cairns, Operations Support Manager