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Author: Rent Guarantor

20/01/2021

A lack of suitable housing remains a big issue across the UK and the growing Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector is helping to increase the proportion of attractive and affordable rental homes. However, the 'BTR' label might be replaced by something more appropriate that can help boost the sector's image - although construction activity will continue with new rental homes becoming available, regardless of whether a new name and/or image emerges.

As BTR industry members - through a new committee as part of the UK Apartment Association (UKAA) - discuss the topic, Legal and General, one of the UK's BTR operators, has announced that some 6,000 new rental homes are on the way. The firm said that since March 2020, planning permission has been obtained and work begun on these homes to help provide a range of rental properties for the growing number of renters in the country.

Understanding of the BTR Name

A new national communications steering committee, launched through the UKAA and with the support of the British Property Federation is set to assess the sector’s progress and work to enhance the industry’s positioning with investors and consumers alike. 

The sector is expected to be worth of £550 billion by 2030 and with that in mind, the committee, made up of industry competitors are planning to consider “how the sector can re-position its brand and communications strategy so that it better resonates with the public.”

While the industry has proved successful in recent years and attracted investment and tenants, the name Build to Rent is thought to be considered among the high-end of the UK’s rental market and this is one thing that a potential rebranding could look to remedy.

The steering committee, with members from Moda Living, Quintain, Greystar, L&G, Grainger, Get Living, PLATFORM_, urbanbubble, Savills, JLL, Homeviews, Love to Rent, SAY PC, The Oracle Group, & RoomService by CORT, will help build on the rapid growth in recent years, including the discussion of the term Build to Rent.

The UKAA said that committee members will “explore the term ‘Build To Rent', its connotations and consumer understanding of the phrase, with consideration given to how the sector can re-position its brand and communications strategy so that it better resonates with the public.” 

Although no set details have been shared yet, it’s possible this could result in a new title for the sector; one that presents the right image and reputation of the committee members. If the sector does take on a new name it will be interesting to see what industry experts decide on and whether or not it’s a winner with potential investors and tenants of the future.

New BTR Homes Planned

While the image of the BTR industry is undoubtedly important, of even more importance is the delivery of rental homes in the right locations and at affordable prices. To that end, UK BTR firm Legal and General recently announced it had 6,000 new rental homes in the pipeline. Once completed they will be available through a variety of rental options, including build to rent.

Legal and General state that while the completed properties will provide much needed homes across the UK, there are other important reasons behind its investment – employment and economic growth.

Nigel Wilson, the company’s chief executive, says: 

“With UK unemployment likely to rise significantly over the next 12 months, it’s essential that financial institutions continue to invest in the real economy, recycling pensions funds and savings into projects that help to create jobs, housing and vital infrastructure,” said Nigel Wilson, the company’s chief executive. He adds that the business is constantly looking at different ways its investment capital can help to support and re-build the economy after the devastating blow dealt by Covid-19 and its clear that building homes for sectors including BTR is considered a key element.

Given the focus on BTR right now, it’s likely the industry will continue to play an important part in providing rental homes across the country and a boost to the economy too – regardless of what it is called.