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Happy residents make happy investors

  • Households in the private rental sector stay an average of 4.3 years according to the latest English Housing Survey for 2015/16. But what might persuade a renter to stay longer? Institutional investors are keen to enter the Private Rental Sector and, with little existing stock available, a new Build to Rent sector is emerging in the UK – homes purpose-built for rent rather than sale. Investors need to know what will attract renters to their buildings.
  • Investors need to understand what is the rental premium for a concierge, a courtyard garden, shared workspaces, gym, barbeque areas, allotment boxes, community events, an app to report maintenance issues, good technology. Perhaps uses can be flexible – a pilates studio one day and a video conference the next.
  • A recent panel discussion at MIPIM – the property industry’s big annual conference in Cannes – and reported in Property Week, concluded that ‘happy residents are at the heart of any successful scheme’. Research for one panel member found external green space is the number 1 priority for residents.
  • But amenity space is not a given in Build to Rent. ‘It has to have a purpose, a compelling reason for people to use it’. US Build to Rent tends to offer amenities but in Scandinavia and Germany it is unusual – the focus instead is on ‘well-run buildings, in good locations’. And key is that the property manager should talk the language of customer service where the customer is king. ‘What keeps people in buildings is good service.’
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