Build to Rent (BTR)

Will Build to Rent homes make things better for renters?

Can build to rent homes provide a better experience to renters? A 2019 survey suggests so.

Private landlords can be a bugbear for some renters. A 2019 annual survey by Homeowners Alliance found that four in ten renters are stuck in cold, damp homes that their landlords refuse to fix. And 17% are on short-term tenancies, so a lack of long-term security is clear. So, could Build to Rent (BTR) homes solve the problem?

Problems with renting from private landlords

  • One in six renters are on short-term leases.
  • One in six renters say their rent costs are unfairly increased.
  • More than a third of renters’ struggle to get their landlord to carry out essential repairs.
  • Over a third of renters face high upfront charges, for example for inventories or references.

Benefits of BTR homes 

  • BTR homes have longer tenancy options of over three years.
  • The rent is clearly laid out, including any basis for increases, which should be linked to a formula.
  • Developments are maintained by one landlord and they must provide on-site management.
  • They don’t charge upfront fees, other than deposits and rent in advance.

Having one landlord responsible for the management and operation of the whole development is the biggest benefit of BTR homes. For tenants, this will make life much easier should they need to contact the landlord with any problems they may have – and these problems should get resolved much quicker.

Another benefit of living in BTR homes is that the landlord must be a member of a recognised ombudsman scheme. This means they’ll have a complaints procedure in place, so tenants have the added comfort of knowing there’s a clear route to raise complaints.

Will BTR make things better for renters?

Research by Homeowners Alliance also suggests there are significant benefits to living in a BTR home. Almost half of renters say they prefer not having to pay additional upfront costs beyond a deposit and a month’s rent. And a whopping 40% said they’d rather rent directly from a responsible company or housing provider, instead of renting from a private landlord or lettings agent.

Over a third of renters said their renting experience would massively improve if they rented a BTR home, as they’d be renting a home of high quality – and ones which comply with health and safety and energy efficiency standards. 

Image credit: Nick Biring

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