Last edited 17 Nov 2020

Build to rent best practice guide

Build to rent involves the construction of dwellings specifically for the rental market, rather than the more traditional route in the UK in which developers build dwellings which they then sell, either to householders or to landlords. Build to rent creates a longer-term business model in which income is generated over time from renting dwellings, rather than a one-off sale the profitability of which will depend on short-term market fluctuations.

Build to Rent: A Best Practice Guide was published in April 2014 by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The guide was co-sponsored by the UK residential council and the UK government’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) Taskforce. It aimed to provide a practical guide for the development and ownership of purpose-built rented residential properties, meeting the needs of both the future tenants and investors.

The guide was developed as a result of the increasing need for accurate, unbiased information in the residential sector around the potential for a high-quality private sector market. It aimed to identify the key points of difference between property that is built for the rental market rather than for private sale.

The guide emphasises the importance of developers who enter the build to rent sector having a clear and focused approached to their customers. High-quality homes are required along with high-quality customer service for residents. The guide encourages institutional landlords to recognise that tenants are not only renting their flat, they should feel part of the whole building through the lifestyle amenities and community facilities offered. The aim is to create new private-rented communities.

Nick Jopling, Chair of the ULI UK’s Residential Council said, “This Guide is a best practice document that we hope will become a useful reference tool for the UK residential market… It is not a house-building manual. It tackles what has to be done differently for the successful delivery of high-quality and wide-ranging UK Build to Rent housing, in contrast to building ‘For Sale’. It considers location, scale, the exterior, the public and private interior zones, the services and how, if everything is taken into account, this should make living and working in a purpose-built rental building a great experience – and a concerted choice for many more people in the UK.”

Russell Pedley, Director at Assael Architecture, said: “Our research, and working with this multi-disciplinary ULI team across the whole spectrum of the delivery of professionally managed large-scale PRS, has enabled us to draw out the design differences, that not only identify the efficiencies that help improve the viability and durability of Build to Rent. It demonstrates that with the right approach, it can help foster communities in a building that are easy and fun places to live for singles, couples and families, and combined with strong integration of the public realm, can bring on early regeneration of a place.”

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