Major competitors join forces to promote BTR through a steering committee

A national communications steering committee has launched to enhance how Build to Rent is positioned - through sharing experiences and having a cohesive voice.

GCS birdseye view of Moda's Great Charles Street Build to Rent scheme, committee members | BTR News

Monday 11 January 2021 marks the launch of a national communications steering committee through the UKAA supported by the British Property Federation (BPF). The committee’s founding members include Moda Living, Quintain, Greystar, L&G, Grainger, Get Living, and other leading developers and operators, including PLATFORM_, Way of Life, Fizzy Living, Sigma Capital, Packaged Living, Watkin Jones and more. Other founding members include JLL, Savills, CBRE, Oracle Group, SAY PC, RoomService by CORT, Global Apartment Advisors (GAA) and more.

Members also include investors, agents, and portals, including Homeviews, Love to Rent, Allsop, urbanbubble, CA Ventures and Howsy. The group will extend to the other sub-groups within Build to Rent including architects, contractors, lawyers, regulators and other suppliers.  

“Despite the game-changing initiatives we are executing as individual businesses within Build to Rent, effecting positive change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration. It is important for us all to be aware of what others are doing, applaud efforts, acknowledge successes and encourage innovation, because the success of one becomes the success of many. 

“It has been inspiring to see the willingness and motivation from my peers to join forces in giving Build to Rent the representation it clearly deserves. In a sector predicted to reach £550bn over the next decade, there is room for everyone. The ethos of this committee is the understanding that if everyone is moving forward together, the sector’s success will in time take care of itself.”  

Lucy Sharp, Head of PR, Moda Living & Chair of the UKAA Communications Committee 
Lucy Sharp, Head of PR, Moda Living & Chair of the UKAA Communications Committee | BTR News
Lucy Sharp, Head of PR, Moda Living & Chair of the UKAA Communications Committee.

The national communications steering committee – through sharing experience and having a cohesive voice – will help enhance how Build to Rent is positioned with investors, policymakers and residents, as well as offering a voice to smaller businesses in the sector who are driving positive change. There is a common goal uniting each – the belief that the sector will benefit significantly in the long term through collaboration.  

“This initiative is a clear demonstration of how the Build to Rent sector is maturing and working together for the benefit of our customers and our members. It is undoubtedly one of the most important initiatives for the UKAA and the sector in 2021, with the potential to be a game-changer in public and media understanding about what we offer. We are strengthened as an association and an industry when our members come together like this.”  

Dave Butler, Managing Director, UKAA 

Historically Build to Rent housing has been perceived as a high-end product. The sector has evolved with major players now offering a complete range of housing options across geographies, price points, and specifications, but with an ingrained focus on quality and value for money. 

Build to Rent assets are typically much quicker to bring to market than homes for sale, thus the sector is well placed to help address the housing supply crisis through expedited delivery of high-quality homes in the areas that need it most. The UK’s Build to Rent homes and communities offer flexible (often fee-less) tenancies and professional management.  

The committee hopes to normalise sector-wide data sharing and insights – including annual funding announcements, investment into regeneration, social impact scoring (such as job creation and housing supply), as well as best practices when it comes to sustainability and promoting a green agenda including moving towards a zero-carbon future.   

The committee will also collate real-life case studies from residents in Build to Rent accommodation – to paint an accurate picture and remove the stigma attached to homes for rent, by showing that renting in 2021 is frequently a lifestyle choice and not a necessity versus homeownership.  

The committee will also explore the term Build to Rent, its connotations and consumer understanding of the phrase – and consider how the sector can re-position its brand and communications strategy so it better resonates with the public. 

“The Build to Rent sector was still very much in its infancy only a handful of years ago, yet in such little time, it has made significant progress. Last year we managed to secure its formal recognition in the Government’s revised National Planning Policy Framework and the sector continues to maintain momentum behind its strong growth across the country. 

“There is, however, so much still to do to build upon the sector’s successes to date, to further improve understanding of its value to customers, communities, local job markets and city leaders’ housing ambitions. I look forward to working with the UKAA PR steering group to drive collaboration across the sector to achieve this.”  

Drew McNeill, Head of Communications, British Property Federation 

A centralised knowledge bank will also be created – which will be accessible for the national broadsheets and trade press. It will help educate a wider audience on the important role Build to Rent is playing in the housing market.   

Examples include how the sector is helping to address the national housing crisis as well as the UK-wide regeneration of city centres, the creation of resident wellbeing initiatives and the adoption of meaningful ESG targets. The sector is also committed to attracting and growing a diverse and inclusive talent base – supporting long-term growth and success.  

“Build to Rent is coming of age in the UK. A far less mature market than others but together with the UKAA, we have collected voices and expertise from across the industry; representing firms that design, build and successfully manage large and growing portfolios and specifically to this group, manage the reputations of those firms and represent the Build to Rent industry as a whole.”  

Harriet Pask, Head of Corporate Communications, Quintain