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US based firm, Viventi Capital Management, has provided a considerable boost to the UK government’s build to rent development strategy, with an initial investment of £100m. The organisation has appointed FirstPort, a property management group based in Hampshire, as its BTR (build to rent) UK partner.

FirstPort is one of the most experienced property management companies in the UK, with 184,000 properties located in 3,900 developments within the luxury, retirement and residential markets.

The agreement between FirstPort and Viventi Capital Management was arranged in February 2019, and will combine experienced investment in property with UK property management expertise in the build to rent environment.

The funding from the institutional investor is intended to facilitate a portfolio of projects being planned, all situated in key regional towns and cities in Britain. These range from 250 to 400 new build to rent units.

Viventi Capital Management was founded by Charles Flynn in the US, and brings well-established large-scale build to rent property management and development expertise to the UK. The firm will work closely with FirstPort, with the aim of delivering a successful model which covers all aspects of developing build to rent for customers in the UK.

Chief executive at FirstPort Limited, Nigel Howell, commented that by working with Viventi Capital Management from the beginning of the planning process, it means that it will be able to deliver what its buy to rent customers need. FirstPort is also able to provide a single contact point for its customers, from helping to secure a tenancy, to helping them look after the home.

Echoing this sentiment, CEO of Viventi, Charles Flynn, stated that the partnership will provide the firm with the expertise and scalability to allow it to maintain, operate and design a portfolio of BTR communities across Britain.

Mr Flynn goes on to explain that these build to rent communities are designed for long term rentals for their customers, with each new build utilising the latest innovations in design and proptech, as well as high efficiency and reduced energy footprints.

The government has stated that it regards build to rent as a specific asset class in the PRS (private rented sector) and is separately defined within the glossary of the National Planning Policy Framework. This is in order for the scheme to be more simply evaluated during the planning process.

As part of the Making Progress plan, local authorities are completing local housing need assessments to analyse the need for a wide range of tenures and housing types in local areas, including ensuring there are provisions for people who choose to rent. The aim of the assessment is to enable judgement on planning to be made based on evidence and the requirement for build to rent properties to be constructed in the area, and how this housing can meet the needs of different social and demographic groups.

The National Planning Policy Framework has stated that approximately 20 per cent of housing in BTR schemes must consist of affordable housing, which should be provided in the form of affordable privately rented homes. The government has also stated that affordable rental units located in developments should be collectively managed by a single BTR landlord.

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