London's distinct landlords and where to find them

  • August 28, 2018

London's distinct landlords and where to find them

London has been the top spot for international real estate investment for many consecutive years. In 2017, investment in London property came from more than 27 different countries. International interest for London property has resulted in many distinct landlords in the capital.

There will always be individual property moguls like the “King of Soho” Paul Raymond or the actual Queen, but London has a surprising number of incomparable landlords, such as other nations or institutions.

Breakdown into London's property

In the UK, the Forestry Commision, Ministry of Defence and the National Trust are the top landowners, but once more London goes its own way when it comes to real estate. London’s highly desired parts are still owned by a few high-profile individuals or even other states, such as Malaysia or Qatar.

Traditionally the Church of England has owned many of London’s landmarks, only to have the portfolio reduced in recent years to a tenth since the Victorian times. Currently, a part of Hyde Park, the Royal Lancaster Hotel, and hundreds of rather lucrative car parking spaces consist of the Anglican Church portfolio.

There are certain landmarks that make London’s landlords fascinating. For example, the O2 Arena is owned by Cambridge’s own Trinity college, with entertainment company AEG as the current tenant

You may have heard that Qatar really loves London, and it is true. The Canary Wharf Group Investment Holdings, which is co-owned by Qatar Holdings, part of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and American investment group Brookfield, is the capital’s largest property owner, with almost 21.5m sq. ft. of space on its portfolio, according to data from the research firm Datscha. Besides Canary Wharf, QIA is the largest shareholder at the Shard and has also shares on Chelsea Barracks, the former Olympic Village and Camden Market. As regards to Harrods, the British shopping landmark, it is wholly owned by QIA. According to Datscha, QUIA leaves the Crown Estate behind in London’s top landlord list.

It seems like a secret fact but in London’s West End, people who entertain are also the landlords. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company owns six theatres in the West End, making him one of the few individuals who own lucrative property of that significance in Central London.

Battersea Power Station, recently made history, as the actual Power Station is the most expensive building in UK history. The Malaysian owners valued the property at £1.6 bn, breaking a record for the lucrative development project.

London’s second-biggest landlord is the City of London Corporation. The Corporation owns the city’s bridges: Southwark, Millennium, London, Blackfriars, and Tower Bridge. Besides the bridges, the Corporation owns 12,000 acres of green space in Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath.

Insurance firm Aviva and French bank BNP Paribas make up the rest of the top five property owners in the capital, with almost 9m sq. ft. and 7.5m sq. ft. respectively.

London’s most particular landlord’s list wouldn’t be complete without the government of Kuwait that has amassed 3.65m sq. ft. in just a short amount of time.

It remains to be seen how many more unusual landlords will fall for London’s eternal charm. If you are aware of any other landlords that could make our list, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.