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Staff quarters

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
03 May 2016  |   Mark Lawson

We are definitely seeing an increase in buyer’s requirements to have staff accommodation and that is particularly noticeable at the top end of the market. Throughout the £2m plus market the increase is more noticeable as people are busier than ever. Both husbands and wives are often working so the convenience of having a ‘handy person’ who can be security, take the kids to school or be an ‘odd jobs’ person, is definitely on the rise. This is true in London but even more so in the country market where people will have bigger gardens, more maintenance and most likely be away from home longer given they might commute.

The rise in requirements for staff accommodation is particularly noticeable in the Home Counties where there are more international buyers who like to entertain and have live in staff for security. We have also represented a number of buyers who have an eye to retirement, so they buy considering the future and having support nearby to help them in their dotage.

The better quality the staff accommodation, the better quality staff you are likely to get and the more likely they are to stay longer. It is a question of what you can fit in; there will be a strong preference for separate staff accommodation rather than a flat in the main house, for example. That is usually the preferred requirement of both the principal homeowner and the staff member so they can have their own privacy when off duty.

Top end developers in Wentworth and St. Georges Hill are picking up on this trend so they are, as a priority now, putting staff accommodation into the best houses and where possible they are separating them, for example a flat above the garage rather than in the basement. Ideally the staff will be completely self-contained and in a perfect world they would have a spare bedroom for children, friends or family coming to stay.

The super-rich travel with their own members of staff often including their personal man of affairs, nannies for the children, personal security and in quite a lot of cases we see clients travelling with their own chefs. In particular Eastern Europeans who’s most important members of staff are their very close personal assistants and their personal security, both go absolutely everywhere with them.

We have represented Middle Eastern families in the past who could travel with up to 20 members of staff, so one of their key search criteria is to have a huge amount of secondary accommodation to house the staff comfortably. If it doesn’t come with the chosen property we have had to purchase nearby or adjoining property for this purpose in addition.

As part of the TBS service we will source staff for clients if required as it forms part of our completion management and handover service.

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