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What is build-to-rent?

Fancy renting in a brand new flat with an onsite gym and cinema? Build to rent is all about high quality, purpose-built homes designed specifically with renters in mind.

Guest Author
Words by: Nicky Burridge

Contributing Editor

Build-to-rent homes are designed, constructed and managed specifically for people renting. They aim to redefine the entire experience of renting a home.

Build-to-rent apartment developments have a range of in-house luxury conveniences, most of them included in the rent.

On top of stylish furnishing, there are gyms, cinemas, communal chill-out zones and gardens, concierge services and even in-house baristas for your pre-work flat white at no extra cost. 

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Build-to-rent developments are professionally managed and they offer flexible renting terms, allowing residents to extend or reduce their lease easily.

Initially build-to-rent apartments were concentrated in London, but now they are becoming more widely available in other cities. 

How popular are build-to-rent apartments?

Business is booming in the build-to-rent sector. Initially seen as niche, it's now booming, with developments springing up in cities across the country.

Gym in build-to-rent development Manchester

In 2021 alone, 237,000 build to rent homes were completed, started or in planning, according to the British Property Federation.

And record numbers of local authorities - 45% - had build-to-rent developments in the pipeline.

A combination of rising demand for rented accommodation and changes to government policy, including planning permission requirements, are behind the rapid surge in build-to-rent developments. 

My Rental: A two-bed apartment in a Manchester build-to-rent development

What are the positives of living in a build-to-rent?

The apartment buildings are purpose-built with impressive facilities and they enable renters to become instantly part of a community of fellow professionals who love stylish living.

Build-to-rent schemes tend to be big - from 100 to 300 homes in each development. 

Build-to-rent offers more flexible tenancies than the standard 12-month contracts offered when renting privately, while the professional management behind the developments mean there is a service-led culture and any problems or maintenance issues are quickly fixed.

Other advantages include the fact that many of the buildings are pet friendly, while some offer a package rate that includes rent, utilities and wi-fi, making monthly budgeting easier.

Any downsides?

The main downside of build-to-rent is cost. These high-spec flats and extra facilities don't come at bargain rates when compared with traditional rented homes in the same area.

That said, there is a percentage of affordable housing included in each development. Local councils and student housing organisations are also behind some developments.

Most build-to-rent homes are apartments only, so less attractive to families with young children. But more high-spec houses are beginning to become available.

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