Build to Rent in London

4th July 2022

The Build to Rent (BtR) market continues to be a booming market in London, with over one fifth of new homes now built to rent. Since the BtR housing model was first introduced, public policy has continued to evolve to support its growth. So, what is BtR and what are the benefits for developers?

The London Plan defines criteria which must be met in order for development to qualify as Build to Rent. This includes:

  • That the development (block or phase), has at least 50 units.
  • The homes are held as BtR for at least 15 years.
  • All units are self-contained and let separately.
  • Unified ownership and management of the private and Discount Market Rent elements.
  • Longer tenancies (three years or more) are available to all tenants.
  • The scheme offers rent and service charge certainty for the period of the tenancy
  • On-site management.
  • Providers have a complaints procedure.
  • Providers do not charge up-front fees.

In accordance with the London Plan, the majority of London Boroughs also have dedicated policies to support the delivery of BtR schemes including:

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Brent
  • Camden
  • City of London
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Greenwich
  • Hackney
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Haringey
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Lambeth
  • Southwark
  • Wandsworth

Within these London Boroughs, BtR is seen as a way to increase the delivery of housing in the short-term, whilst providing a choice of housing types for Londoners. This is primarily linked to the fact that the delivery of BtR schemes does not need to be paced against the sale of the units, with investment companies often purchasing the entirety of the BtR component. This pace of delivery can be an incentive for Councils to allow schemes with reduced affordable housing, where supported by viability evidence.

If you would like to understand more about BtR and how best to strategise for its inclusion as part of the planning process, please do get in touch with us.

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