Introducing Tom Rees

3 September 2020
  • Tom Rees Cooke & Arkwright

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Our ‘Meet the Team’ series continues with an introduction to Thomas Rees, who is a Surveyor within the Property Management department. Tom deals with commercial property from single buildings to large property portfolios, with instructions from private investors, pensions funds and Plc’s. When working from home, if the weather’s favourable his office migrates outside, and we can see why!

What was your route into surveying as a career?

I originally did a Built Environment course at the University of the West of England as I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do at that point and it gave me a lot of exposure to different sectors such as construction, property, economics and geography.  Whilst on the course I found the property aspect the most interesting and decided to study Real Estate.  Following my graduation, I joined Cooke & Arkwright and began working in the Property Management team and have not looked back since.

Tell us about your work at Cooke & Arkwright.

My work usually includes carrying out a variety of duties on behalf of the client, such as collecting rent and insurance from tenants and administering a service charge. I also deal with statutory compliance of managed buildings and landlord and tenant matters, such as rent reviews, lease renewals, and applications for consent to assign or sub-let, among other duties.

Give us an overview of what an average day for you could entail.

No two days are the same in the Management department.  In the last few weeks I have been involved in a wide variety of different matters such as dealing with tenant requests for rent concessions, going through expenditure reports, setting budgets and negotiating leases. These are alongside my weekly site inspections and meeting contractors on site.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of the job would be going out to site for meetings or inspections. We have a huge variety of sites and tenants so it’s always interesting to meet new people and see how other businesses operate.

What advice would you give someone starting out in property now?

I would encourage anyone to try and get as much work experience as possible to get a feel for the industry.  Whether you are just starting university or starting your first job in property, that experience you’ve picked up will be invaluable.

Tell us a bit about your experience of working from home.

The transition to working from home was a lot smoother than I expected!  I was able to move back to West Wales for lockdown which was great for me as I was able to be closer to my family. The only downside to this was the dogs, who would naturally do their best to interrupt my morning zoom calls with the team.

I have enjoyed the chance to work from home as I find the office can sometimes throw distractions at you which you do not get at home. However, I think I would struggle working from home permanently due to the lack of social interaction. Currently, I am doing three days a week from my home in Cardiff Bay, where on pleasant days, I work from my balcony and enjoy the views! This is balanced with two days in the office, which I feel is the best combination for productivity and morale as it allows me to balance my working life and personal life effectively. 

One thing I don’t miss, is getting caught in the Friday afternoon traffic trying to get back to the Bay!

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group