“Long-term thinking makes our business profitable”

Charlie Taylor

Published: February 22, 2022, 10:54Christian Mariager, property manager at Ikano Bostad. Long-term goals, sustainable properties and safe housing. Here is the successful model that makes their residential areas a profitable business – for everyone. – The long-term makes our business profitable, while giving us the opportunity to take social responsibility , says Christian Mariager, property manager at Ikano Bostad.This is how Ikano Bostad works with safe areas When Ikano Bostad takes over several properties in Hagsätra, Rågsved and Högdalen in southern Stockholm, it is in many ways an unexpected deal. The areas are characterized by insecurity, low employment and for many houses the renovation needs are fast approaching. – In the summer of 2006, the leisure center in Rågsved was to be closed over the summer. We invited the district administration and asked what it would cost to keep it open. We received an amount and at a sitting meeting we promised to pay for the opening hours. Even today we take the invoice in the summer. That was where it was born, says Christian Mariager. The initiative with the leisure center will be the start of Ikano Bostad’s management model, which today is spread across the country and consists of three legs: Sustainable neighborhoods, safe housing and a good social actor (see fact box). – We saw a need for a structure to get the areas in order, to find communication with the residents. It is in the relationship with them that we can solve common questions. Being a trustee is not just about taking care of the houses but also being sensitive to those who live there. That is the key to success.In recent years, the areas managed by Ikano Bostad have become calmer and safer. At the same time, Mariager is careful that the housing actor can not take all the credit: – We can not do anything completely on our own, but it is together with the district, non-profit organizations, the police, sports associations and the residents. When you hook your arm, you can make changes, everything is based on cooperation. Another factor behind the company’s successful model is a clear investment in keeping the properties in good condition. In the last ten years, Ikano Bostad has refurbished properties with approximately 2,500 rental apartments around Sweden. – We always look at the entire houses and take a holistic approach to the properties, says Mariager and gives an insight into the scope: – Sewers, trunks, waterproofing for reduced energy consumption , contemporary kitchens and bathrooms but also generally in stairwells with lighting and the outdoor environment. Everything takes place in a consultation process with the tenants, who can choose from three different packages. The rent is negotiated with the Tenants’ Association before the tenants say yes or no.To invest in keeping the areas clean and tidy, that the houses and apartments are of a good standard is obvious to us as a housing player, says Mariager: – I think it is responsible to extend the life of the houses, that the residents have a good living regardless of what one has for wallet. If we only looked at short-term profitability, we could postpone renovations and maintain only the essentials. But we believe that when you come home and are met by something good, you become a little more satisfied with your area and care that it should be so. And the numbers give Mariager the right. Ikano Bostad is a profitable company – which at the same time succeeds in creating societal benefits: – Of course we want to make money and we do, but we want to show that it is possible to do things differently. There is no contradiction in making efforts and making money, it goes hand in hand. But then you can not only be short-term and aim for quick economic cuts, but have a longer perspective that provides both a good return on capital and creates the conditions to be a good player in society, he says and allows himself a comparison: – We are like an equity fund, we grow at a reasonable pace over time.This is how Ikano Bostad works with safe areas

Ikano Bostad’s management model

Sustainable neighborhoods – Long-term ownership and management – High local presence – Living center – Consultation before densification of the area Safe housing – Consultation agreement with the Tenants’ Association before redevelopment – Help with finding housing – Consultation for major renovations and refurbishment of farms – Entry model or increase of rent renovations– Active work to combat illegal sublettingGood social actor– Activities that support education, work and meaningful leisure– Ikano Academy – helps people into work– Leisure center – Summer job for the area’s children – Close collaboration with local businesses, associations, schools and the police

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