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Interview: The ex-Foxtons agent transforming rent-to-rent into ‘shared living’

London Shared founder Jake Willis tells The Neg why his model of rent-to-rent is already changing the sector.

Nigel Lewis

jake london shared rent to rent

A leading rent-to-rent HMO operator is looking for more properties via letting agents as it tools up for expansion both in its home territory in London and soon, in other major UK cities.

London Shared founder and former Foxtons estate agent Jake Willis tells The Negotiator that his company, which was established in 2007, is poised to bring its model to a wider market after a difficult 12 months during the pandemic.

“A lot of the more fly-by-night operators have been in trouble during the pandemic as their tenant have moved out of London or returned to their home countries, but our more strategic approach and long experience in the market has helped us avoid these problems,” says Willis.

“We’re now looking to expand out of our core areas in London and then take our model to other cities.”

The 37-year old says London Shared is now back up to its pre-Covid occupancy rates of approximately 98%.

Shared living

His Wandsworth-based firm was one of the ‘shared living’ pioneers in the UK and operates some 500 rooms across the capital in 13 areas with the endorsement of TV presenter Phil Spencer.

It’s portfolio is worth £150 million and is targeted largely at working professionals, although Willis says the business is not solely focussed on ‘posh tenants’.

Shared living firms like his are the more professionally operated and marketed operators within the long-established and sometimes controversial rent-to-rent HMO market.

But Willis says firms like his along with the clutch of other more reputable players are poised to bring greater professionalism to the sector as increasing HMO regulation and tougher enforcement force less-reputable operators out of the market.

London Shared offers fixed-term management contracts of between three and five years.

Read more about rent to rent operators.

April 12, 2021

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