After 15 years of business ventures in different industries across different countries, I finally stumbled upon a money-making machine. Flatshares.
I went from a broke, wannabe businessman to an international entrepreneur with the capacity to double, even triple returns on buy-to-let properties. After a decade of hard work, I found myself running offices across two continents and four countries, with a 30-person workforce and an operation generating seven-figure annual profits.
At the peak of my personal portfolio in London, I decided to change our business model from a conventional estate agency setup to a members club. Our innovative club model allowed members to relocate between any of the properties within our thousand-room strong portfolio without restrictions. It simplified the process of moving, allowing members to book rooms like hotels without having to go through the conventional viewing process. There was no need to commit to a specific area of London, a group of people, or the property itself. The emphasis was on joining a membership club rather than renting a room.
We expanded our operation and moved to a large office in Islington. The model was running smoothly until a journalist from The Guardian decided to write an article about us. The article caught the attention of the Islington council, which is represented by the communist Jeremy Corbyn. The council had already reviewed our business model a few months prior and found nothing of concern, simply asking us to display a sticker on our door.
Now, after the publicity from the Guardian, the council started an aggressive war.
While I never proclaimed myself a saint, I was not about to fold to these leftists. So we fought, partly out of my own curiosity but also as a learning tool. In the process, I learned a lot about the UK judicial system, the nuisance of unwanted attention, the power of the media, and the incompetence of leftist bureaucrats.
In the original prosecution, Islington Council claimed we were depriving our members of their rights by providing Licenses to Occupy instead of traditional Tenancy Agreements. Our lawyers destroyed their claims - and we filed a dismissal to prove it. With a legal defence bill getting close to £50,000, the council returned with new subjective charges of unfair trading, claiming that since we had loud music playing in our office and didn't provide our members "enough time" to read their agreement, we were acting unfairly. At the time, our club had over 1,000 members and the council just about managed to scrape together 5 complaints in total from members and 0 from partner landlords.
Ultimately, the club model was not ruled illegitimate in court. Our club remains a legal and efficient way of housing young professionals. They could not invalidate the membership model.
However, money talks. There was no point in continuing to waste our time and resources defending our model and its benefits while leaving our unique platform open to competitors to replicate.
If you have ever had to reason with a communist before, you will understand that in this instance, it was better to cut one's losses. Simply give them some breadcrumbs and keep moving forward.
That is what we did. We adapted to the circumstances, restructured the business and the portfolio of properties, and sold it to investors while keeping the core business model.
Thank God the council couldn’t set a precedent for future disputes. Imagine a world where people can't contract freely without the approval of the communist council. We took one for the team, and the whole UK can rest assured that Licenses to Occupy are a lawful and valid way to provide accommodation as long as certain boxes are ticked.
Today, I am grateful to all those involved in the dispute. You compelled me to make a big decision. It was the push I needed to cash out on my 8-figure operation and hand over my London portfolio to a third-party operator. This move allowed me to explore even larger business ventures and restructure my tax affairs to leverage my non-domiciled remittance tax status, enabling me to run my business from London and operate worldwide.
By partnering with established businesses, I am now able to focus on doubling their property portfolio returns through flatshares across the globe, in exchange for equity. I am truly grateful to the UK, the British public, and London for providing me, and many other international entrepreneurs, with a smart and dynamic operational base from which to manage our global structures.
Although there was a time when I began to lose faith in the UK, seeing the recent events has rekindled my admiration for the British people. With the rejection of the leftist Corbyn, the UK public asserted its ownership over the country and made it clear that it is not a woke, communist playground.
Thank you, Britain, and Brexit for your unwavering spirit and for inspiring me to keep pushing forward.
Your friendly neighbourhood entrepreneur,