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How a Mixture of Old and New Developments Will Drive the Future of the UK's Lettings Industry

Rent Guarantor Sep 21, 2021

It's no secret that the past 18 months have been testing for the UK's lettings industry but now, even as government rental reforms are being finalised it’s becoming clear that the future success of the sector will require a mixture of the old and the new. Industry experts and professionals have recently shared their plans and views highlighting that while there's a clear appetite from all involved for more technologically driven options, the use and redevelopment of existing properties is also essential in the provision of rental homes.

One UK-based commercial and retail landlord has recently announced plans to redevelop an existing in town shopping centre into rental homes, highlighting that existing real estate that can be suitably updated and changed will help provide the rental homes that continue to be in demand across the country. However, a lettings agent who sold his business to Chestertons in 2020 has created a new proptech firm, supporting an online lettings platform as he believes the future of the lettings industry is digital.

Mixed Use Developments Support Rental Market

At its latest financial update, UK commercial property developer and landlord Capital & Regional announced it was moving ahead with redeveloping part of its existing Walthamstow-based in town retail centre into residential homes. The business described changing shopping habits with fewer visitors but still good levels of spending and the benefits of mixed-use commercial properties.

“Unlocking further value from the portfolio through a mix of uses is another key initiative where we have made good progress, with the planning consent for our Walthamstow residential project taking us one step closer to a significant capital receipt,” said Lawrence Hutchings, Chief Executive of Capital & Regional.

Of course, while the move of using space in retail shopping centres for residential homes will support financial growth for the company, it will also help provide some much-needed rental homes in different areas of different towns and cities. That’s something that will likely be welcomed by various groups including tenants, letting agents and the government.

This development isn’t the first time a retail site has seen residential homes added to it, but it highlights the importance of redeveloping existing properties and the wide-range of benefits it can provide, not least for the rental market.

Moving Forward with Digital Letting Agencies

While the importance of re-utilising existing space is clearly an important part of the future of the UK lettings market, according to one letting agent there is room for more innovation in the industry. The former co-founder of a letting agency that was sold to Chestertons in 2020 has founded a new lettings business, but this time it’s all digital.

“Unfortunately, the lettings sector has seen little change or innovation whilst other industries and businesses have been roaring ahead during this tech revolution,” Imran Khan writes in his LinkedIn post. The lettings market entrepreneur adds that lettings agencies on the high street “have become the Blockbuster video stores of today”.

Khan has created a new company that’s based completely online and can give landlords and tenants everything they need. While proptech isn’t a new development – just take us at Rent Guarantor and our sister company EzyLet – its an industry that is growing. That’s something that, provided it can develop alongside other rental innovations such as the creation of mixed-use developments from existing properties, will help ensure that tenants and landlords around the UK can move forward in a way that works best for them.

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