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A people business

Name: Duncan Rendall

Role: CEO, Rendall & Rittner

Location: London

Background: CEO and co-founder with Matt Rittner of Rendall & Rittner, Duncan Rendall has advised lessees and landlords in relation to freehold acquisitions, RTM applications and management disputes. He has been appointed by the First Tier Tribunal to manage several Central London schemes. He has an MBA from the London Business School and a BA in law from the University of Oxford.

“Nothing is more important than servicing our clients well and ensuring that residents can enjoy their homes. This makes it a top priority to attract and keep top talent.”

Rendall and Rittner Ltd was set up in the recession of 1990 and there were a lot of difficult situations and buildings in distress at that time. A group of residents came together to save their building from severe mismanagement, and Rendall & Rittner was born. Now, as part of Odevo, Duncan Rendall hopes to bring positive change to how buildings are managed all over the world.

Certain that they could run their building better than their failing landlord, Duncan Rendall and Matt Rittner formed a residents’ association together with six other residents and took their building back. In the fight to save their homes, Rendall and Rittner realised that a lot of other people were in the same boat. 

“There were a lot of difficult situations and buildings in distress. Selfishly, we wanted to solve our own property problems, but we recognized that this was a service that needed improving,” he says. “When we first got into the market, for instance, money was not ring-fenced client-by-client. Balance sheets were not typically included as part of the service charge accounts, so no one knew how much money was behind a development, or how much was owed by individual owners. Now, that has become the norm.”  

In the beginning, they ran the company out of their homes. But today, Rendall & Rittner is widely acknowledged as London’s leading independent managing agent. They oversee a vast range of properties from traditional mansion blocks to substantial mixed-use developments throughout the UK with offices in Greater London, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Bournemouth.

“We need to operate at the forefront of innovation and provide opportunities for personal growth.”

How does technology make a difference?

A new era has brought new challenges. In the 90s, no one used email, Rendall recalls, and new communication platforms and social media require management and quicker response times. And, since the pandemic, people not only live in their home at night – their properties have become their workplace, and this puts even more pressure on services. 

“The rise of online shopping has meant that we now process hundreds of thousands of parcels through the concierge teams at our buildings,” Rendall explains. Together with their IT partners, Rendall & Rittner developed dedicated software to log, track and deliver the thousands of parcels that arrive on site. They also had to adapt quickly to the demands placed upon the sector by the Grenfell disaster, and establish teams to manage the new health and safety standards and help deliver remediation plans for buildings.”

“Nothing is more important than servicing our clients well and ensuring that residents can enjoy their homes, safe in the knowledge that the money that we spend in doing this is being spent wisely,“ says Rendall. “This makes it a top priority to attract and keep top talent. To do this we need to operate at the forefront of innovation and provide opportunities for personal growth, which of course is easiest to do when the company is growing healthily.”

Growth has been a key feature of Rendall & Rittner’s strategy. They have consistently achieved double-digit growth throughout their 30 year history. “Our people are what’s behind that,” says Rendall. “They are our most important asset. This is why we have worked so hard to ensure we have a disciplined approach to looking after our staff and in so doing have received a platinum rating by Investors in People, which is awarded to very few companies.”

“An incredibly exciting journey lies ahead.”

How property management can make the world greener

As Rendall & Rittner work with their clients, particularly their development clients, they have noticed an increasing focus on sustainability. “It’s not just a matter of trying to adopt green practices in terms of consumption and recycling, but establishing communities within our developments which provide local employment and engagement,” Rendall explains.

The company has undertaken all sorts of initiatives, from ensuring the use of green energy suppliers, to arranging local events, using sustainable cleaning products, and working to promote local businesses.
“Given that the built environment is one of the main contributors towards global emissions, this trend will gather more and more momentum as we get to grips with the challenges that were set out during COP26,” says Rendall. “Planners can be expected to mandate zero-carbon developments as a requirement of permitting new schemes.”

Why did Rendall & Rittner join Odevo?

Rendall says that the chance to partner with Odevo was an unmissable opportunity to access technology, benefit from investment capital, and participate in an exciting global vision. “We are certain this will inspire our staff and provide a long-term, stable platform for future growth both in the UK and elsewhere,” he says.

“We believe that we will be able to provide a stable and steadily expanding platform in the UK for further growth as Odevo’s investment philosophy attracts like-minded businesses and top calibre professionals to join the group and participate in what is truly a unique proposition within the U.K. marketplace. An incredibly exciting journey lies ahead.”

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