ANYA Mathewson has seen an eventful month in charge of York letting agent Letters Property Management Ltd. The reopening of the company’s flood-hit offices in Walmgate with a rebrand coincided with a celebrations to mark her ten years’ ownership of the independent company.

Today she says taking over Letters was the best move she ever made – although it was never part of her career plan. After growing up in Edinburgh, she read law at Aberdeen University, then worked in finance and IT for international oil companies in Aberdeen and London.

She moved to York in 2000 and took a short career break with young sons Ben and Adam – studying sign language at York College along the way – before returning to the workplace as finance manager for Letters.

Ms Mathewson immediately realised she had found her niche in the independent company with a caring ethos, and took the chance to buy it four years later.

Ten years on, she has expanded the business significantly, expanding the block management department and holiday lets business, InYork Holidays, as well as the core business of residential lettings. Letters also manages several almshouses in York.

When Letters was deluged by the Boxing Day floods, it was “a shock, a challenge and ultimately an opportunity”, she said. “After six months of squeezing all 12 staff into our upstairs offices, we reclaimed the ground floor with a modern new look.”

She said helping both landlords and tenants was the most rewarding part of her job – and the biggest challenge was implementing all the increased compliance regulations. “I’m also studying for my RICS [Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors] exams, so empathise with my sons who are in the depths of A-level and GSCE courses. My husband keeps us all sane and motivated, thank goodness.”

Anya unwinds with the help of good food and wine, counterbalanced by running. She has several 10ks and two Great North Runs under her belt, raising more than £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

Following my interests , I’d look to be a film critic, book reviewer and cultural tour guide on a round the world trip. Surely I could combine all three?

Greatest Achievement?

Without a doubt this would be my two boys. Watching, helping and nurturing them into the caring, thoughtful and amazing young men they are has been a privilege. When I bought the business they were only four and six. They have grown as the business has grown. More recently, 2016 so far has been an achievement in itself. The floods took our IT system, phones and 20 crates of documents - but the Letters staff, which are its greatest asset, helped us through by pulling together. I now realise it was an amazing achievement to not only keep Letters running throughout, but to take on new business, too. And I managed to squeeze in getting married.

What makes you most angry?

Judgemental people who make their minds up about people, politics and the like without taking into account anyone else’s point of view. By listening to others we learn.

Biggest mistake?

Selling our flat in Wimbledon in 2000 thinking we were selling at the peak of the housing market in London! Ironic considering the industry I am in now.

What do you need to make your life complete?

My friends and family. And a letting industry thoughtfully regulated so we can do our job without being hounded as rip-off merchants.

Why do you make a difference?

I listen. I educate landlords about the good and bad sides of the letting market and insist they treat their tenants well. It’s not just about the rent. I don’t cut corners to make a sale – ever. I’m proud of our ethical approach, which my staff wholeheartedly embrace. It makes a difference - our landlords and tenants tell us so.


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