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Grainger makes plain its PRS ambitions

Listed residential landlord Grainger has made clear its ambitions to grow a portfolio of private rented sector homes around the UK, hiring a new big hitter.

Derek Gorman has been appointed as managing director of Grainger’s market rented assets, starting in January. Gorman was until recently chief executive of Get Living London, heading the business running the massive private rented estate created from the Olympic village in Stratford.

Derek Gorman is joining Grainger to head its PRS activities

Derek Gorman is joining Grainger to head its PRS activities

Grainger chief executive Andrew Cunningham called the appointment “a clear demonstration of the scale and seriousness of our ambition to be a truly national, leading market rent residential landlord. We look forward to benefiting from his wealth of industry knowledge and experience.”

“It is a pleasure to be joining Grainger, a company with a hundred year history as a residential landlord,” said Gorman, who has a remit to help grow the company’s platform of market rented assets.

And at a results recent presentation, Cunningham made clear the company’s ambitions: “There is very strong and growing demand for market rented properties, And in London over half of all occupiers are now tenants.”

Cunningham said the group would be looking nationally, not just in the south east. “We see opportunities in the regions of higher yields than perhaps in London, and there is a lot of government support for the private rental sector.”

He indicated his support for the recommendation in the recent Lyons review, creating a new, restricted type of planning permission specifically for private rented. “That is one of the things that will make a big difference to the private rented sector going forward. As soon as you get planning conditions or covenants that make sure that land will be used for private rented you will see a very good level of growth in that sector.”

While Grainger’s main business is in buying, holding and selling on tenanted properties, it already has a small but growing PRS portfolio. This market rented portfolio saw a 9.1% increase in new lets in 2013-2014 which, said Cunningham,“is a very strong performance, it is one area where active management pays dividends in terms of returns, so we’re always looking for refurbishment opportunities.”