Build-to-rent is a relatively modern concept, which is why you may not be completely clued up on this new way of renting. The phenomenon, which is now sweeping across the country, is based on a type of community-style living in the US known as ‘multi-family’.
But what exactly is build-to-rent, and what are the benefits? How will build-to-rent in Stoke change the face of renting in the region? Read on to find out…
What build-to-rent means
Ordinarily, residential developments are constructed and then units are sold off to landlords or owner-occupiers individually. However, build-to-rent (BTR) schemes are designed and built specifically with renters in mind – with ownership of every unit being retained by a single investor (often very large investment and pension funds), who oversee all the lettings and management, including looking after the lives of everyone who lives in the building.
How does this benefit tenants?
The benefits are numerous. With prospective renters securing properties directly from the building, it means that there’s no “middle man”, so communication is more efficient and problems can be resolved at a far faster rate.
Build-to-rent schemes also offer tenants (who are referred to as ‘residents’) a richer, more exciting rental experience, with a much greater emphasis on customer service. Because they’re built exclusively for renters, the developments often come with concierges, residents’ lounges for socialising, gyms, and sometime private outdoor spaces such as a roof terrace. There may also be on-site maintenance for fixing problems efficiently. The objective is to make renters’ lives as hassle-free and easy as possible, aiming to dispel all the typical problems tenants face when choosing to rent a property from a private landlord. The concept also helps to foster a community amongst residents, allowing people to create friendships and alleviating the loneliness that 24% of 25-34 year olds are said to experience.
It’s in the long-term interest of the investor to keep residents happy so that they stick around, thereby guaranteeing continued revenue. Therefore, tenants of build-to-rent properties can pretty much count on a much better level of service as well as brilliant amenities.
On a much larger scale, many people have suggested that build-to-rent developments such as Smithfield could go some way in helping to solve the housing crisis. Whilst this sounds ambitious, it makes sense – given the UK’s urgent and immediate need for more homes, a huge benefit of BTR is that it can bring homes to the market quickly and on a massive scale. This is reflected in the rate at which schemes are let – according to the Investment Property Forum, homes can be sold at a rate of roughly 1.5-2 per week, whereas lettings rates can reach 10-15 units per week.
So, what does this mean for Stoke?
The Smithfield development marks the first time that the build-to-rent model has ever been brought to Stoke-on-Trent. As a result, renting in the region is about to undergo a renaissance, with a new standard being set. Nightmare landlords, sub-par service levels and tricky caveats have traditionally been accepted as coming with the territory of renting, but it’s hoped that BTR will usher in a new era for Stoke-on-Trent – where residents will be able to have peace of mind that their needs will be met and their money will be well-spent.
As Stoke-on-Trent continues to flourish and develop, it’s crucial that the ever-growing number of professionals who will naturally be attracted to the city can identify that Stoke is a place in which they can lay down their roots and find homes to rent of superb quality.
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