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The Characteristics of Build To Rent Communities

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Build to rent (BTR) has changed the private rental sector (PRS) in the UK. Alongside traditional rental properties, it offers an alternative that’s run by professional building operators and emphasises community living. So far, more than 200,000 build to rent developments are either completed, under construction or in planning. But what are the characteristics of UK build to rent communities, and how are they different from traditional PRS homes owned by single landlords?

The build to rent amenities

It’s possible to find traditional PRS homes in buildings featuring amenities like gyms and lounges. Yet, it’s not a standard feature, and most rental properties owned by buy-to-let landlords don’t offer additional amenities. The situation with build to rent is different, however. 

Almost every build to rent development on the market has on-site amenities for residents. The type of amenity varies, but it’s not uncommon to find resident gyms, outdoor spaces, co-working areas and lounges. As well as cinema rooms, game rooms and more.

Common build to rent communities amenities include:

  • Resident lounges
  • Gyms
  • Cycle rooms
  • Games room
  • Cinema room
  • Communal gardens
  • Terrace areas
  • Concierge services
  • Parking
  • Bike racks
  • Parcel lockers

The on-site amenities are one of the primary selling points of build to rent properties. Residents are promised more than just a place to live, with on-site spaces designed to enhance their living experience.

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The build to rent social spaces

Indeed, those social spaces form a core part of build to rent communities. Many build to rent homes are located in big cities, like London, Manchester and Birmingham, which can be isolating and lonely. Especially if you’re moving into the city from abroad or another part of the UK. 

The social aspect plays a prominent role in the success of build to rent communities. With developments advertised as somewhere to socialise and feel a sense of belonging. Social spaces, like lounges and games rooms, offer areas where residents can converse and get to know each other better. 

Some build to rent operators also host monthly events, from quiz nights to competitions. To encourage residents to participate and be part of the community. But it’s not forced, and the beauty of build to rent is that you can fully engage with the community. Keep to yourself or find a happy medium. The choice is yours. 

Build to rent professionalised services

Countless tenant surveys reveal that renters are often left disappointed by the service from landlords, especially regarding repairs and maintenance. Build to rent solves this issue by employing an operations team in the building to ensure high levels of customer service. 

As a result, maintenance issues tend to be resolved quicker, and there’s more communication. Beyond the repairs, concierge services are typically deployed in buildings with a hotel-like service to give residents a better overall experience. 

Indeed, the service is another key selling point, with tenants promised more communication and better all-around service compared to properties owned by single landlords. This isn’t because landlords neglect their tenants; it’s merely a numbers game. With an on-site team on hand, renters can get a fast, more efficient service. 

Led by technology

Technology also plays a significant role in the build to rent living experience. Tenants typically have access to an app to make requests, such as repairs and maintenance. They also can book social spaces for private events. 

The entire experience is more seamless, and there’s often no need for long email chains regarding leaking taps or doors that won’t shut properly. As technology evolves, so does the renting experience in build to rent properties, thanks to apps that allow residents to manage their tenancy. 

Many build to rent communities are also all-inclusive, meaning you get complimentary internet included in the monthly rental price. In some buildings, you may also get TVs in your apartment, which can save you hundreds or even thousands of pounds. 

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Are build to rent communities more than a home?

What is build to rent? Build to rent properties are billed as ‘more than a home’ because they offer much more than a place to live. Many build to rent properties also give tenants the freedom to decorate the property and mould it in their style by painting the walls and putting their personal touch on the home. 

Properties tend to be offered either furnished or unfurnished. Further underlining how much input a tenant wants in their new home. You can also bring your pet; some buildings even have pet-friendly services, such as dog walkers and grooming. 

The idea of build to rent is to professionalise the renting setup while giving tenants a community living experience that sees them stay for the long term. For many, it really is more than a home; it’s a place where they can feel like they’re part of something bigger – a community of like-minded individuals

Are build to rent homes of better quality?

Ultimately, build to rent homes offer a high-quality rental product not found anywhere else. These homes have been designed with renters solely in mind, and the idea is to provide tenants with a personalised experience that offers them a better quality of life. 

There will always be demand for buy-to-let properties from single landlords, especially for tenants who prefer homes with more character (BTR properties tend to be located in modern buildings). But build to rent communities offers the whole package, from professionally managed stylish homes to on-site amenities and social spaces where there’s a genuine sense of community. 

More choices for renters

Whether build to rent or traditional PRS homes, renters now have more choice when deciding where to live. That can only be good in a market where demand currently outstrips supply. The build to rent boom is well and truly underway, and renters are seeing the benefits of better homes and more options in the rental market


Last Updated: June 14th, 2024

Phil Spencer

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