Households in the private rental sector stay an average of 4.3 years according to the latest English Housing Survey for 2015/16. But what might persuade a renter to stay longer? Institutional investors are keen to enter the Private Rental Sector and, with little existing stock available, a new Build to Rent sector is emerging in the UK - homes purpose-built for rent rather than sale. Investors need to know what will attract renters to their buildings.
Investors need to understand what is the rental premium for a concierge, a courtyard garden, shared workspaces, gym, barbeque areas, allotment boxes, community events, an app to report maintenance issues, good technology. Perhaps uses can be flexible - a pilates studio one day and a video conference the next.
A recent panel discussion at MIPIM - the property industry's big annual conference in Cannes - and reported in Property Week, concluded that 'happy residents are at the heart of any successful scheme.' Research for one panel member found external green space is the number 1 priority for residents.
But amenity space is not a given in Build to Rent. 'It has to have a purpose, a compelling reason for people to use it'. US Build to Rent tends to offer amenities but in Scandinavia and Germany it is unusual - the focus instead is on 'well-run buildings, in good locations'. And key is that the property manager should talk the language of customer service where the customer is king. â€˜What keeps people in buildings is good service.'