What is Build to Rent?

Posted on 21 Jan, 2020

First-time buyer, EPC, buy-to-let and SSTC, to name a few. The property industry is full of acronyms and catchy phrases but one seems to have passed many people by – Build to Rent. In fact, as many as 59% of Brits have never heard of the term Build to Rent, according to website Love to Rent, and of those who had heard of it (38%), less than a quarter felt they knew what it meant. For the uninitiated, here’s Viewber’s guide to get you up-to-speed.


What is Build to Rent?

Instead of building properties specifically for the owner-occupier market - houses and apartments sold via estate agents – developers are creating brand new homes exclusively for the rental market. Tenants are able to choose from a number of different schemes where every single property is available to rent directly from the developer.

Who is encouraging Build to Rent?

The Government is keen on more rental properties and is urging local planning authorities to ‘include a plan policy setting out their approach to promoting and accommodating Build to Rent’. To boost the creation of Build to Rent developments, the Government has offered a £1 billion fund. A report issued by Savills in October 2019 claimed the UK-wide Build to Rent sector had grown by 20% since Q3 2018, with 34,840 complete homes and a further 35,760 units under construction.

Does Build to Rent come with longer tenancies?

The Government is using Build to Rent as a way of improving tenancy security for renters. Its National Planning Policy Framework glossary details that Build to Rent developers should offer tenancy agreements of three years or more as the norm. If they don’t, they many have planning permission refused. These arrangements are also known as ‘family friendly’ tenancies, aimed at those who wish to settle into a community, although there is no obligation among tenants to sign up for the maximum tenancy duration.

Is Build to Rent changing the typical tenant lifestyle?

Many tenants prefer renting at a purpose-built development as there are a number of lifestyle perks. Not only are the properties build to high standards and offered brand new, the schemes usually feature enhanced service levels and community facilities. At many Build to Rent developments, tenants can expect professional management, an on-site maintenance team, concierges, free broadband, communal gardens, residents’ lounges, workzones and fitness/wellness centres.

Why don’t more people know about Build to Rent?

Behind many Build to Rent schemes are pension and insurance funds, which bankroll the construction before handing the management of the units over to a third-party property company. Therefore the usual promotional channels – letting agents – are often cut out of the loop. Addressing this is an emerging proptech sector developed especially for Build to Rent. From dedicated online portals to tenant matching algorithms, the visibility of Build to Rent is being addressed.

Here at Viewber we are keen to build links with Build to Rent companies.

We can undertake property visits and accompanied viewings on a nationwide basis – ideal for professional block managers and self-managing funds that do not have the resources to keep up with the growing Build to Rent sector.

Let’s start a conversation today!

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