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Designing whole buildings for rent is key to driving Build to Rent

Words: Laura Edgar
Rent / iStock

The key to driving the Build to Rent sector is designing whole buildings for rent, according to a new report.

Funding Britain’s rental revolution, by law firm Addleshaw Goddard and the British Property Federation (BPF), stresses the importance of good design to the future of the 'build to rent' sector, particularly when there is “around £30 billion of institutional investment earmarked to build and manage homes for rent”.

Marnix Elsenaar, head of housing at Addleshaw Goddard, said that crucially, the build to rent sector could also deliver additional housing.

Additionally “Build to rent has the potential to vastly improve standards in housing and because companies invest for the long-term, they are more open to innovative design and more creative approaches which keep customers happy,” he said.

Getting tenants to know their neighbours, the report explains, will encourage them to stay for the long term. Ian Merrick, operations director of private rental home developer Essential Living, writes in the report: “By having areas you can share with your neighbours and friends when they visit, you are more inclined to stay.”

This is, Merrick continues, good for the company, “as we have greater certainty about customers staying for the long run”.

Addleshaw Goddard explain that many of the build to rent schemes coming forward will include a range of communal space throughout the buildings, such as top floor amenity decks in the place of penthouse flats.

According to the law firm and the BPF, the move towards a professionally run rental market, with developments owned by single companies rather than several companies and buy-to-let investors, “promises to offer Britain’s nine million renters higher standards, better value and greater transparency”.

Distinct from commercial real estate and buy-to let, build to rent has emerged as a “separate new asset class”, according to the BPF and Addleshaw Goddard.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the BPF, said: “The industry, supported by us, needs to start a conversation with the consumer about what build to rent is about and what it can offer those seeking, or in need of, a home - something different from the private rented sector.”

Download Funding Britain's rental revolution from the Addleshaw Goddard website (registration required)