Ashley Clements (right)
‘First-class service all the way. If you're looking for an honest, professional lettings agent, then I can highly recommend Horton and Garton.’ – R.Patel, landlord
Ashley Clements is Horton and Garton’s Lettings Branch Manager for Chiswick and Hammersmith. Working closely with co-Directors, John Horton and Paul Cooney, last year Ashley and his team once again expanded the company’s market share: in W4 and W6 combined they agreed 106 lets, 10% more than the nearest competitor.
‘At Horton and Garton our philosophy is always to focus on the basics. As lettings specialists, we represent the landlord, so it’s essential to make a good first impression; that means turning up on time for appointments, being polite and friendly and knowing exactly what you are talking about. It sounds very simple, but those basics go a long way and make the whole process much easier.
‘Equally important is what happens after a rental agreement has been signed and the tenant has moved in. Our high level of service remains the same, we’re pro-active and we're always there as an immediate point of contact for both the landlord and tenant.
That commitment is one reason we take our fees on a monthly basis, not upfront for the entire period of the tenancy. It’s a statement from us to say that we want to build an ongoing relationship – we’re not going to disappear once the tenant is in place.
‘For landlords, there are three key concerns with any tenancy; the rental value, the calibre of the tenant and ensuring no void periods. All these elements are linked to setting an accurate, realistic rate for all parties.
We always research what similar properties are achieving in the same road, within the same development and within a radius of a quarter of mile. However, there’s no substitute for local knowledge and our lettings team has many years’ experience in West London – I myself have worked in the area since 2006.
‘We also offer a comprehensive property management service. As the buffer between landlord and tenant, speed of response is vital. Tenants must feel confident that they will be looked after if, for example, there’s a maintenance problem that needs fixing. Most disputes arise when issues aren't being addressed. Every six months we carry out a full property inspection, take photographs and produce a written report and, if we see a repair that needs doing, we make the landlord aware.
‘In lettings, an increasingly important part of our role is to take care of tenancy regulations, such as gas safety and smoke alarm checks, energy performance certificates and local authority licensing.
The legislation is moving fast – the next major change will be mandatory electrical safety reports – and we keep our landlords up-to-date about any action that needs to be taken.
‘Thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations, we have a growing number of new landlords in W4 and we’re fortunate to be working with some excellent properties. In terms of the market, there is now a shortage of rental stock and, since last summer, values have returned to their 2015 peak.
‘So, whether you are buying, selling, letting or renting, pop in and talk to us at our Chiswick office in Gable House on Turnham Green Terrace or at our new Hammersmith office on the corner of Studland Street and King Street. We will offer the best advice on the market in your road and neighbourhood as well as guidance on how to achieve best price.’
– Ashley Clements, MARLA MNAEA,
Lettings Branch Manager
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