Haruka brings with her solid experience of the international property market where she started outin 2011 working as an Administrator in a Japanese asset management company. Moving on to the investment division of a leading realtor in 2015, she became involved in the acquisition and management of high-value properties, concentrating on increasing their value before resale. Haruka also worked as a brokerage project manager before joining Benham and Reeves where she joins the Japan Desk team. A keen cook who loves the outdoor life, Haruka keeps fit by playing tennis.
Anna previously worked in the sales department of a Japanese advertising company where she learned about building strong customer relations through effective communication skills. Well organised and motivated, Anna enjoys the challenges of working in a cross-cultural environment which includes liaison with landlords based in the UK, Japan and various overseas countries. Anna greatly values the strong team ethic of the Japan Desk and looks forward to maintaining the high level of customer service that Japanese corporate tenants routinely expect. Passionate about food and travel, Anna also likes to read and practise yoga.
Many Japanese business expatriates are arriving in London well into the summer to take up their secondments – this is later than usual as there have been visa delays caused by recent uncertainty over the situation in Ukraine. As a result, rental demand remains strong and we are still busy finding homes for Japanese professionals and helping those we have already helped get settled into their new homes.
Demand generally has been much higher this Summer compared with this time last year when Covid uncertainty was still a concern. In fact, despite ongoing shortages of housing stock in London that have been widely reported in the media, we have completed around 20% more transactions this year compared to the same period last year.
This increased demand may also be due to the higher profile of Benham and Reeves amongst Japanese professionals and corporations. Our growing reputation means we are now the first choice for many Japanese professionals starting their property search when they move to London, often due to word-of-mouth recommendation from friends or colleagues. Corporate clients are confident we can help them navigate the complex London lettings market and find them the right property in the right location.
The shortage of suitable rental properties remains a challenge for all lettings agents across London and we’re working hard to overcome this – we’re currently expanding our Japan Desk team and this is helping us enhance our service further. We’ve been pleased to see our Google reviews are all 5 stars for the Shoreditch branch where our Japan Desk is stationed. This is very pleasing to me as a Manager and also for the whole team who work very hard to provide the very best service.
During our initial discussion with clients, we aim to establish their key ‘must haves’ when renting their new London home. And Japanese professionals have a number of priorities – they prefer a new-build home if possible, preferably with a parking space, close to transport links and good amenities including a Japanese supermarket. Many professionals move here with their families so proximity to good schools is often essential too.
A number of residential developments across London are particularly sought-after by Japanese expats owing to their good security and facilities, namely Dickens Yard Ealing which is at the top of many wish-lists. And now the Elizabeth Line has opened a station in Ealing, rents have jumped up making it very difficult to secure a new rental property as most people are renewing and not moving on. Fulham Reach and Sovereign Court in Hammersmith are also popular while White City Living in Shepherds Bush has also recently become a favourite since Harrods opened a store in Westfield London, Europe’s largest shopping mall. As we have branches on-site at all these property developments, it means we are the first agent landlords come to when looking to let their property out.
Closer to the City, developments such as One Tower Bridge, London Dock Wapping, Royal Mint Gardens and Goodman Fields are popular and in Canary Wharf preferred locations include South Quay Plaza, Landmark Pinnacle, One Park Drive and 10 Park Drive. Here at 250 City Road where the Japan Desk is situated, we are also very busy, but we desperately need new stock to meet the current enquiries we have from Japanese professionals and executives with small families.
Unlike many other companies, our Japan desk has many unique advantages:
We provide a dedicated account manager throughout the whole process to act as the main contact, handling any issues or questions that arise.
Before the employee arrives, we will discuss both the company and the employee’s needs to establish priorities in terms of
so that you can be confident your new rental home meets all your requirements.
We will research all suitable properties within the specified budget, offering advice on areas which we believe will meet your needs and be conveniently located for your job, with good transport links. Once you have approved the properties you wish to view, we will take you take you around to view all the properties including pointing out where the local amenities, such as shops, gyms and of course where the local transport is.
Once a property has been selected we will negotiate the best terms complying with any specific requirements made by the company.
And once the offer is agreed, we will draw up the tenancy agreement (using the company’s agreement where one has been previously approved), register the deposit with an approved scheme (where tenancy is in employee’s name) and complete other essential documentation to ensure that both company and employee are fully protected under UK law.
When you move into your new home, we provide assistance from attending the inventory check-in (if required) to supplying relevant information about the property such as instructions for appliances and support setting up accounts with council tax, gas, electricity and other service providers.
Most companies insist employees rent a professionally managed property as this means repairs or maintenance issues are handled quickly. Over 65% of the properties we let are managed by us so employee and company can rest assured that the property will be well-maintained and hassle-free.
Your dedicated account manager will be on hand during the tenancy to assist with any issues or questions that arise.
Many of our corporate tenants are so happy in their rental home that they choose to renew their tenancy at the end of their tenancy agreement. If so, we will handle any negotiation with the landlord and the completion of a new tenancy agreement on the company’s or employee’s behalf. If a new property is required, then we will research suitable properties in the chosen location and ensure that they meet the employee’s criteria to avoid time wasting or the need for additional searches.
At the end of the tenancy, we will assist both employee and company with the end of tenancy procedure, including recommending reliable and reasonably priced cleaners and attending the inventory check-out (if required).
Once the tenancy has ended and the inventory check-out has been completed, we will liase with the landlord to ensure deductions are reasonable and push for a speedy return of the deposit.
We offer a number of additional services for HR departments including
And of course we are always available to offer professional advice and assistance - we view our relationships with companies as long term and as such are always available to help where required.
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