Leading residential HMO landlord, hotel operator and property expert Jimmy London reveals the challenges his businesses have faced during the Coronavirus crisis.
Busy landlord Jimmy London is coping with a lack of income from his two hotels as well as managing rent losses from his large property portfolio.
As the owner of House 2 Home, a property management company which sub-lets HMOs to tenants, he also runs online rent-to-rent training courses and is now looking to buy a portfolio of 15 residential properties on lease option for £2.2 million to turn over to HMOs.
He’s £11,000 down from his large portfolio of 30 HMOs around the South-East where some of his 200 tenants are battling the effects of Covid-19. London has also been hit hard by cancellations in the hospitality industry and had to delay the opening of his new hotel above the famous Bill Nicholson pub next to Tottenham’s ground in the capital.
“My friend bought the freehold, I lease the pub and transformed the upstairs into 10 serviced rooms,” says London. “The lockdown has been a been a kick in the teeth.”
London also has run a nine-bed hotel in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex for the last three years which is closed with all staff furloughed and bookings refunded.
Says London: “I run that at 95% occupancy, six days a week, which I’m really proud of. We had bookings in May and June but I’ve refunded people as it wasn’t fair to keep their money.”
He adds: “I’m also owed about £11,000 in rent because some of my tenants have lost their jobs, but I’m working with them – I don’t want the mickey taken.”
However, he remains positive and feels confident that the businesses could even survive until Christmas if they had to.
“I’m making sure things are all ticking over at the hotels each week and on the phone a few hours a day working. I’ve got a good team around me and it’s really important to communicate with them all and to make sure everyone’s OK and safe. I won’t let Covid-19 pull down my businesses.”