With the growing demand for rental properties, as Generation Rent is forced out of the housing market due to soaring prices, tenants are demanding more than a furnished home or flat in a converted housing block. Thanks to advances in the prop-tech industry, the private rental sector can meet their needs much better than before. Prop-tech allows landlords and tenants to meet `virtually` to discuss properties, homes can be seen on the web and rental prices can be compared to other properties in the same area. Now, the increasing need for efficiency and technology in the housing market is leading to short-term, furnished accommodation, with additional services similar to those found in quality hotels.
Co-founder of Yotel, Gerard Greene, has launched Society, which offers rental homes across the UK. He says he plans to use digital technology to cut the time it takes for tenants to move into an apartment so they can be unpacking their suitcases within 48 hours. The property will be managed using a smartphone app. Mr Greene says prop-tech is helping the housing industry to respond to tenants’ needs.
His new company, Society, is investing in short-term, hotel-style rentals, which fits in with his background at Yotel hotel chain, providing affordable but luxury rooms. Tenants will have a 24/7 service, either on-site or online, to help them move in, organise weekly cleans, arrange food deliveries, or fix the plumbing. Through the Society App, members can find, view and secure their home as well as connect with Society’s other renters. Contracts are flexible, so tenants can stay for one month or a year. They can also move between Society properties, as their life changes. The company is also working with developers and property owners for further projects in the private rental sector.
With more young professionals renting, adapting properties to suit their needs makes good business sense. If they are single or young couples, they may want shared space within the building to meet up with the neighbours, a coffee shop or cafe, media room for movie nights, games room or gym. A study by PwC about the continuing rise of Generation Rent projects that a further 1.8 million households will start renting privately by 2025, bringing the overall total of private renters to 7.2 million households. That is nearly one in four UK households. In particular, more than half of the 20-39 age group will be renting by 2025.
Large-scale landlords, property developers and financial institutions are also investing in Generation Rent, providing new homes, particularly in and around London, aimed at 20-45 year olds in paid employment. For example, a development at Greenwich has a nursery, play areas, laundry rooms and communal terraces with barbecues and pizza ovens. These new corporate-style landlords are providing apartment blocks or complexes with gyms, swimming pools, free wi-fi, furniture packs and a concierge, to create a community.
These new purpose-built complexes could turn renting on its head, so that it is seen as a lifestyle choice, because of the extra services and community hub, instead of people feeling they are being forced into renting because they cannot afford to buy.