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HMO Property in the 21st Century

Kelly Lemon talks with Midlands based landlord Garry Slater

Make no mistake about it, running a property portfolio is an expense and can have its challenges.” With over ten years’ experience as a professional landlord and owning a lettings agency that manages close to 400 properties, Garry Slater can definitely talk from experience. His lettings agency currently manages a 32 bedroom HMO and over the years he has been forced to adapt his investing strategies as government policies have changed. His most recent move has been into HMOs after the introduction of Section 24. Despite the impact, this seasoned investor thinks the current changes being made will help the PRS. After getting to know Garry’s journey I am not surprised at his optimism for the future.

Garry is a self-confessed ‘corporate man’. After leaving school with no qualifications he soon found a job working on the shop floor within the printing industry as a printer operative. He enjoyed it so much he decided to return to education as a mature student in order to help him up the corporate ladder and it worked. Until the age of 35, Garry enjoyed a successful career working for one of the biggest companies within the industry; St Ives Plc.

“Working for a large Plc gave me real insight into the commercial practices behind a successful company. Nothing was left to chance and the devil was always in the detail. Perhaps one of the best things that came out of my time at St Ives was the exposure to the board of directors as I was based at the London HQ. Looking back now it’s fascinating to reflect on just how many things I learned including how to search out new opportunities, how to pitch for business, how to manage key accounts and perhaps most notably, how to build your credibility within a team as I had to liaise with six factories, each with their own management team and supporting staff.”

During his time in the corporate world Garry also took an interest in property. Like many people it started when he bought his first home at the age of 25. “My very first property was a one bedroom off-plan flat that I purchased in Woking, Surrey in 1996. I paid £59,950 which at the time sat just below the Stamp Duty rate of £60,000. I had been renting in London up to this point but couldn’t afford to buy in the capital. Woking made sense as it was a very straightforward commute into London Waterloo station and
if necessary I could drive in just under an hour.

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