Property people Q&A: Miles Pickard

Miles Pickard, Director of Pickard Properties, which specialises in homes for rent.

How did you end up working in property? Pickard Properties is a family business and has been in existence for over 50 years. After leaving university 30 years ago and deciding against pursuing a career in accountancy I joined the business and now work alongside my brother, Simon, sister, Catherine and father, Brian who are all directors at Pickard Properties. We have ben long-term investors in residential property and also undertake property developments in both the private rented and student accommodation sectors and have a substantial commercial property portfolio consisting of high street shops and other industrial and retail properties.

How is the housing market faring in your area? The market is very strong in our area, with demand for both professional and student rental accommodation outstripping supply. Retail property is clearly a changing market at the moment, however, on the high street there are still a lot of opportunities in the right areas for the correct tenants.

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Are there any up and coming places? In Leeds, the Hyde Park and Campus areas are more popular than ever for student accommodation. However, as people increasingly appreciate the great transport links and wide range of leisure and cultural activities that the area has to offer, we are now seeing Headingley challenging areas such as Chapel Allerton as an attractive place for families and young professionals to live.

If you were the Housing Secretary what would you do? There is now a substantial group of people who see renting as a lifestyle preference instead of a necessity. Current government policy does not recognise this, with house ownership being prioritised as the only desirable type of tenure. So, I would do more to encourage responsible, good quality landlords and reduce Stamp Duty on property purchases. I would reposition council planning departments to process applications quicker and in a more positive way to increase the supply of new accommodation for this purpose. I would also ensure that strict standards are better enforced across the entire housing sector, with more money spent on environmental health budgets. This would then be targeted to resource more inspections of properties and allow local authorities to use more of their existing powers to combat poor accommodation.

Where and what is your ideal home? I have always been drawn to older, unusual houses that are in need of some tender loving care. Unfortunately, there havebeen many times when I have moved on to a new challenge before enjoying the benefits of the property I've recently completed.

*Pickard Properties has won multiple awards for its developments.