Build to Rent is a hot topic of conversation in the London property market, as developers look to expand their offering with this rental model. While fairly new to the UK Build to Rent has proved successful elsewhere, most notably in the US and it is hoped that the Build to Rent model can help London’s struggling ‘Generation Rent’.
This morning Currell hosted its latest breakfast seminar, discussing the topic ‘Build to Rent – A Viable Option?’. We were lucky enough to be joined by two experts in the area, to discuss their experiences working in this expanding sector.
Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture is an experienced architect specialising in urban regeneration, master planning and large-scale mixed-use projects. She joined us to share her experience being involved with Build to Rent projects across the UK. Assael has been closely involved in the evolution of Build to Rent in the Private Rented Sector in the UK since 2008. Through researching foreign multi-family models in-depth, particularly in America, producing several design guides and advising clients, investors and government institutions, Assael now have several Build to Rent projects throughout the country, some under construction and many more in the pipeline.
Félicie discussed the particular importance of planning the back of house element of a Build to Rent development very carefully, so that residents are not disturbed by the daily management required to keep the property running smoothly. This includes carefully located goods entrances and plant locations.
Félicie also drew attention to the need for units within Build to Rent developments to be carefully thought out, so that when one tenant moves out costs can be kept low due to minimal damage and easy redecoration. This extends down to small factors such as light switches that are easily removed from the wall for painting, and hanging wardrobes without cupboard doors to minimise the chance of damage and the need for replacement.
The second speaker of the morning was Tim Lewis, Client Strategy Director at branding agency Small Back Room. Tim has been an integral part of the team developing the brand for East Village and Get Living London for over five years along with a number of other high profile Build to Rent schemes.
Tim’s talk focused on the importance of relationship management in the Build to Rent sector and the need for property companies to reassess how they interact with their customers, how they appeal to them and how they reach them. The process of understanding this customer should be in depth like in the FMCG market, not just based on demographics. Unlike a traditional property transaction the decision to rent in one of these developments is a long term one which will require trust built through quality service.
Build to Rent developers and agents must also, Tim said, take into account the change in the way the generation under 30 communicates with one another and with companies through social media and other online channels. Word of mouth and friendly recommendations are incredibly important in this market. By monitoring these channels and producing quality content for them, you can ensure that you have some influence in that conversation.
A very big thank you to both our speakers for informed, interesting discussion which was greatly enjoyed by everyone in attendance. We look forward to seeing you all again at our next seminar.
For more information on our speakers please visit their websites: