In a bid to drive up standards in the rental market,the government is considering introducing three-year minimum tenancies for private renters to give greater security of tenure, making renting more family friendly and bringing UK regulations in line with what is offered in much of mainland Europe and also in the US.
By Johnny Caddick, managing director, Moda
Any attempt to give renters a better deal should of course be welcomed, but it should be noted that many build-to-rent landlords – including Moda – are already looking to offer long-term tenancies of typically three to five years. There’s a commercial imperative here: it encourages residents to stay for longer, minimising costly voids, and also helps with financial planning – for both tenants and us as a business.
Yet it is crucial that any government proposals for mandatory three-year tenancies respect the fact that renting’s flexibility is a major draw for many consumers, which shouldn’t be a surprise given today’s increasingly footloose, globalised job market.
To really help Britain’s growing army of renters, the government should do more to encourage BTR, which offers a level of service, accommodation and professionalism far above what is available in the traditional private rented sector. In practice, this means changing the planning system to make BTR development easier and looking to apportion public land, where appropriate, for BTR schemes.
Giving renters certainty is only half the battle
By Gavin Barry, chief executive of Prosperity Capital Partners
The BTR sector has been pushing for longer tenancies as it makes economic sense by reducing costly voids and giving certainty of income but also because we want to transform the image of renting for good.
For too long, the demands and concerns of renters have fallen to the wayside while the buy-to-let landlords have benefited hugely, fuelling the sense of injustice many renters feel. But by offering renters greater certainty while still providing the freedom to move if needed, the rental market can begin its long overdue transformation to a becoming a service-focused industry that is flexible and responsive to the needs of its customers.
Prosperity got the green light for a £175m BTR scheme at Old Brewery Gardens last month
However, establishing security of tenure is only half the battle in winning a better rental sector. The other half is creating quality homes. A longer tenancy agreement is of no use to renters if the accommodation is unfit for purpose and uncomfortable to live in. Without ensuring that the rental units coming onto the market are of a high quality finish that cater for a diverse range of demands, the new model rental market will continue to grapple with ghosts of old.
Buildings that are designed and then delivered with renters specifically in mind will encourage residents to stay put for a long period of time, helping create communities that extend from inside the building, to the outside.
A professionalised, customer-centre rental offering, combined with great design and service culture will raise standards across the board by showing renters that there is a genuine alternative available to both homeownership and buy-to-let.