Senior industry figure tells LandlordZONE the sector will revolutionise how properties are rented, help consolidate the market and usher in a new era of tech.

Lesley Roberts, who is a partner at property management giant Allsop’s growing build-to-rent division with some 7,000 properties under management in the UK, tells LandlordZone that she believes the rental market will eventually go the way of the travel sector.

Where once every street corner had a travel agent, many people now book their holidays online either direct or through large aggregator sites, and build-to-rent is part of a trend that will see the same thing happen to private renting.

“However, some traditional landlords also see build to rent as a threat but remember that comparisons between their stock and build-to-rent properties are not ‘apples for apples’,” she says.

“Build-to-rent apartments can be more expensive than the traditional market but in some cases, you get a lot more for your money such as utilities bills included in the rent, resident amenities, high quality finishes and better transport links,” she says.

Consolidation

Roberts says she believes the coming years will also see a landlord consolidation within the private rental market, a trend that is also being accelerated by smaller landlords being eased out of the market by the government’s tax changes and regulatory onslaught.

“I think this has forced many landlords to think about their investment returns and look for other places to put their money, and of course they can invest in build-to-rent through a REIT, or through their existing pension fund provider, many of whom are investing heavily in the sector,” she says.

The other big change that build to rent will bring to the market is to alter how landlords find tenants.

These big operators are keen to separate their properties out from the blur of rental properties on Rightmove, for example, and lettings apps such as Movebubble and services such as HomeView, which is a TripAdvisor-style service for tenants, are beginning to change how properties are let and managed, Roberts says.

“Portals like Rightmove are a bit of a blunt tool when there are nuances within the market,” says Roberts. “The industry is definitely looking at alternative ways to get properties to the market.”


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