Blog | Lettings | Build-to-Rent [BTR] has arrived in Birmingham.
Build-to-Rent? And why should you care?
you with the property mumbo-jumbo; Build-to-Rent means that the whole building
is generally owned by one landlord and run by one management company – a bit
like student halls, but a hell of a lot nicer.
are large companies who invest in the initial quality of the build, in the
amenities provided to residents, they provide concierge, on-site maintenance;
these elements add up very quickly to a great tenant experience.
differs from traditional buildings where each individual apartment is owned by
different landlords, managed by different agents and the building run by a
block management company
Is there a
catch? Well, kind of. But not really.
Living in a
building like this is a tad more expensive. But it’s worth every single penny.
Why? We’ll get to the flowery stuff like amenities and communities in a minute, but first what really matters: living in a safe and fully functioning apartment, always.
traditional method of residential lettings is fairly clunky and cumbersome. Even if the
process to find and secure the property is easy enough, it’s not always such a
success story once you have moved in. High street agencies have two very separate
teams of people who deal with you during your journey; the first team, who help
you secure the let are trained to persuade you of the dream (and rightly so) of
the property that you eventually choose. Your new life in your new home will be
perfect and beautiful and perfect Instagram fodder. Except then it isn’t,
because the second team you are transferred to quite often are trained only to
be reactive. Only to jump when you report a problem, and then, only to their
first month your heating fails. In mid-December. And nobody can come out until
January. And now it’s snowing… Sounds like an exaggeration, but unless the
agency has a dedicated team of contractors who are willing to come out over the
festive period, then you are up a creek, as they say. For the record,
FleetMilne does have a dedicated
team, so we won’t ever leave you without heat over Christmas, but you get the
point… Not all agents are FleetMile.
Even if the
agency is well run and reacts promptly, you’ll have had to make several calls
or send a few emails to get the problem sorted and to arrange access to the
apartment. You will no doubt then have to chase for updates. This all eats into
your valuable time, and all for a problem you didn’t want in the first place.
you a world where you report any problems through an app (or online system) and
click a button to grant unfettered access whilst they sort the issue. Your
updates are sent to you by message. And by the time you get home, it’s all
resolved by the onsite dedicated maintenance team.
operators are obsessed with customer
service. You will see a resolution, no matter the efforts they’ve had to go to
in the background to make it happen. A traditional landlord has a mortgage to
pay and can’t afford to just throw money at the situation to keep you happy,
even if they’d like to. Whereas, BTR’s number one goal is to keep their tenants
of BTR, however, is a long-term multinational business model that doesn’t get
hung up on the minutiae of the day’s takings. It’s about long-term sustainable
growth and the key to this is tenant happiness. Schemes that have great
reputations will attract waiting lists, more investment from the owners, and
will financially perform the best.
residents, the way to achieve this is to ensure their every needs are met,
without a big song and dance. Your online orders are delivered to your building
and the concierge doesn’t get grumpy with you about it – in fact, they take
delivery and let you know you have a package! Perhaps your Ocado delivery
arrives and needs chilling or putting into your own fridge…done. These sound
like they are perks out of a fairytale, but they are the near future of BTR.
Some schemes already offer these perks or something akin, and many are
preparing to offer far better.
must-have in most people’s books, will be provided onsite so that you don’t
waste crucial space in your home, and range from privately-caged bicycle
parking, to pushchair storage, to lockers for storing large seasonal items such
as golf clubs and skis. Nobody wants to be using up their precious storage
space on items that will get used occasionally, but equally, who wants to have
to schlep across town to Big Yellow?
Many of the
schemes offer either subsidised or free gym areas – weights, spin machines,
yoga rooms, Pilates areas. The operations company will monitor these areas and
adapt them if necessary, meaning that space doesn’t get wasted. Areas of the
scheme don’t end up as dead zones with wilting plants and sad grubby walls. If
the fashion for Zumba passes (as it likely will) then the space can be
repurposed to fit the new needs of the residents. Perhaps a number of the
residents have had children and a morning creche is more appropriate, then this
can be organised and staffed – it’s all about what the residents want and need.
you’re baby-free, office-free and on your own timetable? Then head down to the
onsite coffee shop and plug into the free Wi-Fi and check your Facebook or
Instagram account for the eighth time today – why not? It’s all designed for
your comfort and convenience.
Of course, some schemes are going to try and compete by offering
‘more than’ their competitors, and time will only tell if these are useful or
just gimmicks. Cinema rooms, swimming pools, saunas, running tracks… if it
looks extra, it will get an airing at some point.
finally, if you aren’t interested in faffing about with setting up utility
accounts (who is?) and navigating the laborious work of electricity and gas
companies, most BTR schemes also include bills in the rent.
point is that the new model of living is designed around the residents’
convenience, and if it makes life easier and tenants happier, it will feature.