Is Build-to-Rent the Solution or the Problem?

The current situation in the UK’s property market is constantly changing, and sometimes not for the better. Fewer properties are available to let and fewer mortgages are being approved. This leaves those seeking housing in limbo. As the UK endures this affordability and accessibility crisis, experts are pondering solutions. Can build to rent solve the problem or will it further exacerbate it?

Presently, a large number of UK’s population are struggling to find housing. This is due to two main factors; a shortage in available rental properties as well as limited access to mortgages. There are 38% less properties for rent this year than previous years. As a result, rent rates have climbed and are continuously moving outside the reach of most renters. Landlord Buyers, who help landlords sell their house with sitting tenants, looked deeper into the statistics and found that current UK rent consumes about 35% of the average single income earner’s budget. The result is many tenants seeking and not finding house or flats to rent and many other struggling to make payments or facing evictions.

Build to Rent- A Potential Solution

Industry experts have proposed properties and developments crafted and built exclusively for renters (Build to Rent Developments) as a solution to the problem. Tenants of build to rent properties benefit from the relative stability offered by these units as their tenancy is safer from eviction than with traditional rental properties. This is because most build to rent units remain exclusively available for renters for at least 15 years. Many offer extra amenities such as a gym or spa for comfort and convenience. These types of developments have become quite popular in metropolitan areas such as London.

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The proposal is for more of these to be built in areas outside of the UK’s cities- a practical move as cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham are already bursting at the seams and have little room for developments. Sub-urban areas with proximity to cities are ideal locations for BTR properties as they offer a solution to the hundreds of people who need to live in or close to the city for work and other reasons.

Should sufficient build to rent developments emerge to reverse the dearth, rent rates are expected to fall. This should ease the burden for many tenants across the country. But legislation and government support is needed to facilitate build to rent developments. Interested parties are now lobbying for this support.

Not a Cure-All

Build to rent won’t meet the immediate need as developments take time to conceptualize and create. But they could help in the longer term. Additionally, they won’t solve the problem of demand for the cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham where demand is highest.