Lancaster student property firm goes bust

John Sanderson of Lancaster Property Network Management
John Sanderson of Lancaster Property Network Management

A leading Lancaster property management company has gone into voluntary liquidation.

Peter Jackson, from Preston-based Jackson Wright and Co Financial Recovery, told the Guardian this week that Lancaster Property Network Management Ltd (LPNM) went into voluntary liquidation on September 10.

Mr Jackson, who is acting as liquidator, said: “We have a duty to realise the assets of the company, and get as much money back for the creditors, which is what this is all about.

“If creditors have any concerns, one of the duties of the liquidator is to investigate. I am happy to accept comments​ and ​questions from the creditors about their experiences. If people have got specific ​issues​ that they wish to ​raise​ I​ will be happy to receive them.”

​Mr Jackson, who will be carrying out a comprehensive review of LPNM, stressed that “no specific allegations have been made that director Mr John Sanderson had removed assets from the company”.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr Sanderson said: “It is most regretful that the huge losses encountered by the company due to voids and student bad debts meant that property owners lost some of their income for 2014/15.

“However it must be said that certain of these owners have tried letting their properties for 2015/16 to students and have proved unsuccessful or taken a residential let at 50 per cent of the income.

“I personally have lost some £425,000 and due to the constant virtually six to seven days a week work load my health has consequently suffered.”

Mr Sanderson has since set up two new companies – Lancaster Property Network (Properties) Ltd and Homestay Properties Ltd – offering property management, including properties for students, in the city.

He added: “We are continuing to provide student accommodation, despite there still being a huge surplus of bedrooms and the number is still climbing.

“To put this into perspective there is still approximately £4.75m of uncollectable rent in Lancaster from empty bedrooms.

“It must be noted that we are 99 per cent let for 2015/16 compared to other prominent agents who still have dozens of empty houses to let.

“This achievement speaks volumes as to the manner we conduct our business and look after the students.”

Mr Sanderson added that he would now be diversifying into new areas, including new property building and maintenance, and a major restoration project.

Anna Lee, Vice-President (Welfare & Community) at Lancaster University Students Union (LUSU) said: “We have been aware of the difficulties LPNM is facing for some time.

“We were recently in contact with the company and received an assurance that students will be able to move into their properties as expected at the start of the coming academic year.

“As a students’ union we’re committed to defending our members’ right to good quality, affordable and well-managed housing and we are here to offer support to students when difficulties arise.”