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Co-living in Lockdown

Editor Richard Bowser talks with Oxfordshire based investor David Granat

The lockdown period in the UK obviously affected business trading activity and disrupted many property entrepreneurs’ plans for their portfolio growth. In many cases this has led to some stressful times for landlords with void periods and unpaid rents, and sadly without the recourse to evict tenants in default. In the first of a series of articles and interviews looking at prospects ahead within the shared accommodation sector I met up a few months ago with David Granat, an Oxfordshire based HMO landlord and developer who also runs a local letting agency working with other landlords. He explained how he got into property investing.

“My background is in Electrical Engineering and I started my career with an apprenticeship at the MINI plant in Oxford where I went on to achieve a degree in electrical engineering at Oxford Brookes University. I then moved on to start work at Jaguar Land Rover based in Coventry where I first learnt about the world of property investment through a work colleague called Jim who showed me the ins and outs of his property portfolio.

“After seeing Jim's success I decided to follow suit and remortgaged my personal flat which I'd purchased in 2013 and bought two single let properties just before the stamp duty increase in March 2016. After this I had really caught the property bug and decided to educate myself further through Simon Zutchi's mastermind program which ended in 2017. I was then fortunate enough to be able to replace my income and go full time into property investment. This process has enabled me to create and grow Ox Living which now owns 129 rooms in shared accommodation properties and also has a further 131 rooms
under management.”

I initially met up with David in Botley, just outside the city of Oxford and for reasons which will become clearer later in this article, its location was pivotal.

We stood outside a large detached residential property, which at that time clearly was undergoing a major renovation. FirstIy, I asked David about the project and his intentions for it. “This was a probate property and had been empty for about three years. From what I understood it was a ‘messy’ probate and as it was empty for so long had been quite neglected. It was a large four bed house in a bad way with the roof leaking at the back and it needed a complete rip out.

“Most of my property investment projects in recent years have been in Banbury, just up the M40 in north Oxfordshire where we have a total of about 100 rooms in various developments. Obviously there comes a point where you consider market saturation so I started to look at other locations in Oxfordshire.

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