Social Values at Heart

East London property provides homes for local key workers after lying empty for seven years

49 professional LOWE property guardians – including many local key workers – have become trusted caretakers of a former care home in Homerton, in the borough of Hackney which had been vacant for seven years.

The property, which had suffered two fires while empty, now provides affordable accommodation for our carefully vetted guardians – a solution which protects the building while also creating short-term, cost-effective homes.

“Our client at Peabody was clear that their two main drivers were a) the security of the building and b) serving the local community,” explained Tembi, LOWE’s Partnership Manager.

“Having a property of that size left unoccupied just didn’t make sense,” Tembi continued. “Hackney is a popular area, and it was important to the client that local people would benefit. It’s close to the hospital whose key workers are in need of low cost, local accommodation. We knew we could offer a solution.”

Peabody selected LOWE to repurpose the unused building for meanwhile use, which is now saving them thousands of pounds on hefty security fees, and benefiting the local community.

45 units across three buildings were refurbished by our Property Services Team – including redecorating and recarpeting, installing quality white goods, and ensuring the property met all fire and health & safety regulations.

The premises are now diligently maintained and regularly inspected, and the combination of self-contained flats and shared living space have become home to our trustworthy guardians – including key workers from the nearby hospital, local teachers, young professionals and even trainee cabin crew.

“It already has a really nice community feel,” said Tembi. “Our guardians are making use of the communal spaces. We’ve shown the client around and they’re really pleased with the new usage of the property; it meets their drivers of giving back to the community and fits well with their social values.”

Previously, the building had been safeguarded by a traditional security guard with a dog, which was expensive, and not always the most effective way to defend the vacant property against the risks of vandalism, theft, squatters or fire. “Having a physical presence in a property is by far the best solution,” said Tembi.

But the proof of the quality of LOWE’s refurbishment is in the reaction of our client. “The Head of Specialist Housing Management, Sonia Palfrey, at Peabody said her benchmark in terms of the level of finish was whether she would allow her children to live there,” Tembi recalled. 

“When she saw the property once we had repurposed it, she said she’d be happy for her daughter to move in – so we must have passed the test!” 

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Discover how LOWE can give your empty property new purpose. Visit us at or call us on 0207 856 0171.