From Vacant to Vibrant: Transforming Properties with Licensees

Grace Hall, our Community Manager tells all on how she has seen remarkable transformations at our properties that are occupied with LOWE licensees.

For vacant buildings, property guardianship is one of few solutions. My role as Community Manager is to visit the buildings, ensure licensees are seen and heard, the building is serving its purpose and it is being utilised correctly. Vacant spaces are more than just unoccupied buildings; they are four walls that provide safety and comfort.

What I love about my job is that each day is different. Our properties are unique and our licensees are remarkable people that have an array of careers, lifestyles and stories. One day I could be speaking with a nurse and another day an architect. What I have definitely found is that with the rising costs of living in London, I see more and more creatives and key workers moving into our properties. With the rising cost of living that we are all experiencing, so many people just can’t afford to live and so we see ourselves as a stepping stone that provides a platform for our licensees to put money aside or progress in their chosen career. 

Having LOWE licensees occupy commercial and residential spaces breathes new life into empty spaces and I particularly love to see…

The unique interiors

The transformation of the spaces can be really amazing – I am always so impressed by how creative the guardians can be and often in such a short period of time. Some dress their space with cushions, pops of colour and photographs and others can be minimal, selective artwork – they tell me “it’s scandi” and I love it! When it comes to the communal spaces, we provide the white goods and they do the rest. We have seen some really unique designs over the years and it’s so great to be able to provide a blank canvas for creatively that wouldn’t always be possible in a traditional rental. 

The art 

Not dissimilar to the interiors but definitely worth it’s own mention is our licensee’s artwork that we see around the properties. With so many creatives living in our spaces, we get to see a wonderful array of mediums – from watercolours and portraits of housemates to homemade jewellery and clothing. It gives me a lot of pride to know that I am helping to provide so many people with the option to pursue their passions and not have the constant worry of skyrocketing rents weighing them down.  

Blossoming communities 

Last but definitely not least – the amazing communities that have been created across our properties are without a doubt the best part of my job. A lot of our guardians are new to London and don’t have a network. When they say they have made friends for life, we feel a big part of the job is done. Guardian occupancy goes beyond mere property management – it fosters a sense of belonging and community stewardship. Licensees, often young professionals, or community-minded individuals, bring energy and creativity to the spaces they occupy. They organise events, collaborate on projects, and contribute to the cultural fabric of their neighbourhoods, thereby enriching the community as a whole.

Not only is it wonderful to see the interiors, art and communities transforming these properties, it’s a sustainable approach to helping to solve the cost of living crisis, rising housing costs and the ever increasing trend towards isolation. I’m incredibly proud to work in such a purpose-led industry.