Demand for rental properties continues rising, and there are only so many traditional buy-to-let homes available for renters. Fortunately, the build-to-rent (BTR) boom has taken full effect in the last few years as it mirrors the popular multifamily market in the United States. Currently, there are 77,000 BTR homes in the UK, with more than £3bn invested in the sector. If you’re considering moving into a BTR home, you probably want to know about the build to rent pros and cons. With that in mind, this guide features the benefits and negatives of moving into a build-to-rent property.
What is build to rent?
Build-to-rent homes typically involve at least 50 apartments in a single building. They’re purpose-built for renters. You won’t find any BTR properties on the sales market, and everyone living in one of the apartments is a tenant. Build-to-rent homes are primarily funded by financial institutions and employ professional operators to manage the properties.
Build to rent pros and cons: the pros
Flexible tenancies will appeal to many who are thinking about living in a build-to-rent home. Tenants usually have a choice of tenancy length at BTR developments: some properties have tenancies as long as three years, while others might be as short as one day. Many build-to-rent setups understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach and tend to offer solutions designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of renters.
Build-to-rent homes are professionally managed in-house. That means there’s a team on-site to improve the service, from concierge services greeting you at the door to maintenance teams (more on that shortly). A professionally-managed setup leads to a better customer experience for tenants and allows you to get to know building managers and other team members.
Faster maintenance and repairs
Many tenants lament the time it takes for a repair to happen in their homes. With build-to-rent, however, maintenance and repair times are usually much faster than traditional buy-to-let properties because there’s an on-site maintenance team to fix issues. There’s more transparency over the process, and problems often get resolved more quickly.
On-site social spaces
Many build-to-rent properties feature on-site social spaces where you can get to know other renters in the building and take advantage of extras. These include gyms, yoga studios, resident loungers, co-working areas, cinema rooms and outdoor spaces. Regular events encouraging tenants to come together and socialise also occur at some BTR properties.
Not only are many BTR homes pet-friendly, but they often also have on-site amenities for dogs and cats. From dog walking services to pet salons, the build-to-rent experience embraces pets and encourages renters to bring their furry friends. You’ll rarely find a BTR property that doesn’t accept pets, with the overwhelming majority welcoming them with open arms.
App to manage the tenancy
Tenants can manage their tenancy often via an app, which allows them to book social spaces for private use, contact the concierge, track repairs and maintenance and manage and view documents, like your tenancy agreement. Apps accessible via smartphones make it easier for renters to manage their tenancy.
Build to rent pros and cons: the cons
Build-to-rent homes are generally more expensive than their buy-to-let counterparts. Most developments are new and come with added extras, such as on-site amenities. For this reason, renters can expect to pay a premium when moving into a BTR property.
They might lack character
If you like charming period properties with features like fireplaces and bay windows, a build-to-rent property might not appeal much. It’s not uncommon to find them located in purpose-built buildings that all look similar. Some might argue that they lack character.
Still too few developments
By 2032, build-to-rent is estimated to account for 8% of the rental market. It’s quite the rise in such a short period of time, but it’s still not anywhere near enough to meet the demand for homes. While build-to-rent offers a tenant-driven experience built just for renters, there still aren’t enough of them, and the available ones are at the moment concentrated in big cities, especially in London and Manchester.
Living in a build to rent home
If you’re renting a build-to-rent home, you can expect a professionalised setup explicitly designed for renters. The pros far outweigh the cons in this type of property, with tenants able to enjoy modern homes, on-site social spaces and five-star customer service designed to enhance their renting experience.
Last Updated: February 10th, 2023