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New threat to buy to let? John Lewis gets into Build To Rent

Another new Build To Rent player is emerging - in the unlikely form of the John Lewis Partnership.

The company has long let it be known it wants to get into the private rental sector but now more details have emerged.

The retail giant is to build some 10,000 rental units through joint ventures with established developers. 


Plans for some 7,000 of these are already at initial stages on sites currently operation as department store car parks, Waitrose grocery stores, or company distribution centres. Other sites will also be developed from scratch.

The Times says residents of the new rental properties will be offered a choice of unfurnished or furnished with items from the current John Lewis Home range.

John Lewis has already said that food delivery options will exist for its tenants, from the closest Waitrose branches.

The company, which has a long term target to secure 40 per cent of its annual income from non-retail activities, is reported to be considering offering staff discounted rents if they take tenancies.

In a letter sent to 80,000 John Lewis and Watrose staff last year, the chairwoman of the company - Sharon White - said converting some stores or parts of stores to housing is under consideration.

In addition to its retail premises, most of which are freehold, the partnership also owns owns a 2,800-acre farm in Hertfordshire, four hotels and warehouses for logistics facilities.

The firm also owns a small number of homes in the village of Leckford in Hampshire.

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  • George Dawes

    If it's anything like my last visit to their Flagship store , there's not too much to worry about

    Upon enquiring about some garden furniture the very unhelpful sales person told me to 'go on line' and then wandered off chatting to another colleague

    Very unimpressed

  • icon

    The market is changing, those who build to rent are I believe cashing in on the increase demand from middle class who now prefer to rent than buy.

    What concerns me is the attack from the social sector who are renting or buying up property from the private sector rather than building their own and are offering housing where they get enhanced housing benefit now called universal credit which means they get paid in my area three times as much to house the same tenants as I do along with enormous government subsidies.

    Net result the cost of housing for the unemployed is going to cost a lot lot more for the taxpayer. Such is the the hatred of private landlords by the government that they would rather pay a lot more for a very inefficient service provided by the social sector.

    That leaves the blue collar workers for the private landlords or what is often referred to as key workers.

    Jim haliburton The HMO daddy

  • George Dawes

    I can see a future where all houses look the same , like little rabbit hutches for us plebs , all epc a rated and all boring , dull little boxes . Very sad but that's where we're headed and now the big boys have started ...

    What will happen to all the properties that can't meet the new epc standards in 2030 ????

    Theodor Cable

    Like a prison you mean?

  • icon

    John Lewis will only be offering flats/apartments. Who wants to raise kids out of choice in one of those. They won’t be able or willing to change their lifestyle to save a deposit so they will end up moving to rent a nice semi nearby. I’ll be waiting!

  • icon

    I welcome the competition as long as it’s a level playing field. Or will Lloyd’s/John Lewis get better eviction & damage recovery powers than than we do. Can’t see them being able to tolerate the DPS (three witnesses and a time stamped video before you get anything) How will they deal with Shelter now that will be interesting

  • icon

    There is a big conflict of interest here, all those are in direct competition with their customers shouldn’t be allowed. They have all your personal information, know your income & outgoing, profit & loss giving them an unfair advantage over their customers. Shelter won’t be in opposition to them they’ll be entertaining each other. This is not competition more like a cartel.


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