Good design could be the key for build-to-rent sector

Good design could be the key for build-to-rent sector

We're all aware of the success story that has been the buy-to-let market in the UK property sector over the last few years. As demand from tenants rises and the sentiment among landlords goes the same way, buy-to-let has become one of the most popular ways to invest. 

However, while the rise in demand from tenants has been great news for landlords, there is still a shortage in rental properties, and as more and more people look to invest in this lucrative area of property, there could be a new emerging branch on the horizon - build-to-rent. 

Build-to-rent, as the name suggests, is a model in which new build homes are constructed specifically for the rental market rather than just being purchased by a landlord. These homes are obviously constructed differently from those being sold to homeowners, because they are attracting tenants rather than buyers. And according to a new study, the design of this type of stock could be all important to its future success. 

In the report ‘Funding Britain’s rental revolution’, by Addleshaw Goddard, a law firm and the British Property Federation, a trade body, it is said that this is a crucial time for the market, with institutional investment of some £30 billion ready to be poured into the private rented sector. The companies said that there has never been a better opportunity to get it right. 

The report states that in dedicated rental homes, fostering a sense of community in buildings is key, and in order to do this, it said that construction companies and designers need to realise that a move away from traditional constructions and layouts will be important in the success of build-to-rent.

Thankfully, the experts stated, most of the institutional investors are open to this idea, and realise that it's vital to cater to the needs of their tenants, something that their long-term investment strategy allows them to take into consideration more than would be the case for people or organisations with a short-term investment in mind. 

"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," said Marnix Elsenaar, head of housing at Addleshaw Goddard.

So how do companies building to let make sure that they are keeping their tenants happy? 

According to the report, it's all about fostering a sense of community. This includes creating areas for meeting and socialising. Such communal areas mean that people are better able to get to know their neighbours, a reality which is likely to make people want to stay in one place for longer. This can, of course, only be good news for investors, who make a steadier income when tenants are in one place for longer, removing issues such as costly void periods.  

In addition to this, it is important that companies are creating a space that is modern and attractive. Particularly in cities, tenants are young people who are choosing to live in rental properties, rather than doing so because they have to. They are more scrutinising than ever before, and it is vital that investors are innovative and modern in design in order to create a rental property that people would love to live in.