The Build To Rent (BTR) sector in the UK may currently be a modest size now but it’s definitely on the rise with continued year-on-year growth.
According to Savills research current BTR stock includes 50,800 completed homes, with 172,000 planned, under construction, and operational across the UK. Even when built out, this will only amount to 3% of the private rented sector by volume but that is set to grow, helping boost the growth in the rental sector as a whole.
With rising house prices and work-from-home requirements due to COVID-19, there is a wider pool of professional tenants looking for suitable, long-term rental properties that are of a high-quality with all of the modern amenities.
Typically the benefits for Build to Rent landlords/operators are:
- Longer tenancies are common (3 years +)
- High tenant demand
- Higher rent rates (around 11% higher than standard rental accommodation)
- Reliable rental income and likely growth
- Landlords retain control over their investment
- Long term investment rewards
- Easy to advertise and fill vacant rental properties due to the building quality and amenities
And benefits for the tenants include:
- Quality, purpose-built buildings with special amenities such as communal workspaces, laundry services, concierge, event spaces and gyms
- Access to convenient services such as security, laundry and concierge
- Modern, sustainable buildings
- Bills usually included
- Longer-term tenancies usually available
- On-site management
For landlords there are many challenges with getting a Build to Rent new build block ready to come on stream. When a block is nearing completion, there are many moving parts, not least getting the apartments finished off, snagged, furnished and cleaned ready for tenants to move in.
And what about the all-important inventory report?
One of the most important documents to agree with the tenants at the move in is the contents of the inventory, particularly when the property and contents are in a new, unused and unmarked condition. Yet compiling the inventory can be one of the last jobs to be done, and can be time-consuming when multiple apartments are being completed at the same time and tenancies are due to start.
At TouchRight we are working with a number of BTR clients to assist with the inventory process, and speed up the time taken to create batches of similar inventories. Once fixture and fittings details are known for the apartment block, we can start to create a core ‘master report’ including all of this information, down to the type, colour and quantity of light fittings, sockets and switches and floor coverings.
Then once the furnishing packs are known, these details can be added to the ‘master report’. We can even create a series of ‘master reports’ if furniture packs are different within a single block, which is helpful if, for example, the beds are the same but with different coloured headboards.
Time can be in short supply
The best part is all of this work can be done ahead of time, ready for the property managers to simply ‘copy’ a master report to one of the apartment addresses, sync it to the app, go to the apartment just before the tenants move in and simply add date/time stamped photos. It saves a huge amount of effort and stress at a busy time!
As well as the inventory report, there are also other useful customised reports that can be set up and completed using the TouchRight app, including snagging, concierge, inspections and SOP reports for the block along with the usual PRS reports for the apartments including inventories, mid-term inspections, and check outs. TouchRight can help BTR operators produce these report templates as they look to add digital efficiencies to their business as part of their overall sustainability model.
However it’s more than just property reports…
BTR operators can also enhance their repairs and maintenance process by tagging issues separately so they can share with their contractors, or if they use Fixflo, seamlessly share the information in their Fixflo account using the integration.
The TouchRight open API integrates with a number of platforms including agentOS, Acquaint, Qube SLM, Reapit, SME Professional, Fixflo and Signable for seamless sharing of data, with more in the pipeline. Plus the app includes some basic lone worker protection to assist with health and safety policies.
TouchRight is a supplier member of the UKAA (UK Apartment Association) and we are working with a number of UKAA operators.