Guinness Partnership senior director Linda Robinson joins Citi UK backed AHTO as new Managing Director

AHTO Group Ltd (AHTO) ‘Affordable Homes to Own’ has appointed Linda Robinson, previously Development Director at The Guinness Partnership (TGP), as the new Managing Director of AHTO to help lead their £1 billion investment drive in the Intermediate Rent-to-Buy housing sector and build partnerships with Housing Associations (HAs), local authorities and UK housebuilders.

Linda has over 25 years of property experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining AHTO as Managing Director, Linda was Development Director at The Guinness Partnership, one of the UK’s largest social housing landlords, where she was responsible for the largest land transaction (£95 million) ever undertaken by TGP at Imperial Street which will deliver 965 new homes (c.57% affordable). In addition, Linda led the £1.6bn Clapham Park Regeneration Project, one of the largest and complex regeneration projects in Europe that will deliver 2,500 homes (c.53% affordable). Clapham Park remains, to date, the largest detailed planning permission, by number of homes, in the UK.

Before joining TGP, Linda served as Executive Development Director of Metropolitan Housing Association, delivering 45 housing projects in 21 local authorities with a combined contract value of £1 billion. Linda has also worked as a Director of FPD Savills and Colliers Jardine in Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific Rim in real estate and asset management.

As Managing Director of AHTO, Linda will operate out of the Central London head office, joining a team of seven existing directors and associates, alongside additional support staff, reporting into the board of directors and AHTO co-founder and Chief Investment Officer Sam Senchal.

AHTO is a privately owned business with a social purpose driven by outcomes which benefit local communities. Fully funded and supported by a network of investors, AHTO was established in 2020, with a head office in London.

AHTO provides an affordable Intermediate Rent-to-Buy (IRTB) product that supports Government, local councils’ and partners efforts to help thousands more people onto the housing ladder. AHTO’s IRTB product allows tenants to transition to full home ownership at a demonstrably lower cost than shared ownership, and breaks down deposit barriers.

The average time taken by a UK household to save for a deposit is now thirteen years. With the AHTO IRTB product, tenants pay affordable rents allowing them to save enough for a deposit and build their credit rating. When they are ready to buy, AHTO enable tenants to purchase at a significant discount to the property’s open market value.

AHTO partners with HAs and local authorities, empowering them to meet their affordable home deliverability targets and manage their existing stock sustainably. AHTO’s product also has a further positive social impact in terms of offering a real and cheaper alternative to current affordable home models.

In her new role, Linda will help to spearhead AHTO’s newly announced £1 billion investment drive over the next five years in the Intermediate Rent-to-Buy sector of the housing market. With Citi UK acting as a structuring advisor and financing arranger to institutional capital, AHTO will purchase (at a discount to open-market-value (OMV)) newly built affordable housing units (Section 106 units) or private sale units from either HAs or UK housebuilders, including the purchase of projects in pre-planning.

AHTO will focus on investing up to £150 million per project in order to secure residential developments of up to 500 units, including apartments and houses, in cities and commuter towns such as London, Leeds, Bristol and Manchester, Reading, Dartford and Woking. AHTO will then lease the acquired stock to a HA partner who will secure tenants for the units. The tenants will be given the opportunity to purchase their home for a discount to OMV.

Linda’s role will be to help build AHTO’s partnerships with HA partners, UK housebuilders and local authorities, and acquire and assemble a portfolio of AHTO Intermediate Rent-to-Buy units, which will be managed by HA partners.

Linda Robinson, Managing Director of AHTO says: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining at this pivotal time and helping to lead AHTO’s monumental investment and partnership drive to help expand the UK’s Intermediate Rent-to-Buy sector. Thirteen years is now the average time it takes a UK household to save for a deposit. I believe that AHTO’s Intermediate Rent-to-Buy model offers a compelling solution to the UK housing crisis providing a favourable alternative to renting and a financially accessible route into home ownership for households on lower incomes who are struggling to save for a deposit.”

Sam Senchal, Chief Investment Officer of AHTO says: “AHTO is delighted that Linda Robinson has joined our team of directors. Linda’s impressive property background in both the public and private sectors working for industry leaders such as The Guinness Partnership, Metropolitan Housing Association and FPD Savills, and her track record of portfolio assembly provides a perfect skill-set match for AHTO.”

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