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Is this the future for tenants? Build-to-Rent flats with no deposit required

17.04.19

Renting often receives a bad reputation when rogue landlords or managing agents are involved, and tenants don't receive value for money. But a new development in North London hopes to redress the balance, offering tenants homes in purpose-built rental blocks of flats that include a host of benefits. These include the utilities bills and broadband in the price, no deposit, and a concierge.

Other factors that may appeal to tenants include being able to bring your pet along to live with you - although you'd need to pay an extra amount every month for doing so, with costs varying from £50 a month for a dog, £30 a month for a cat or £50 a month for two cats.

The development is a so-called 'Build-to-Rent' one, made for the sole purpose of renting out the flats. None of the properties are available to buy on a Build-to-Rent site. A Build-to-Rent development also tends to be only managed by one single landlord, although developers can sell part of the site to another landlord. It is thought that Build-to-Rent may one day fill the void in available rental properties that has been left by landlords quitting the sector following a raft of regulatory and tax changes they have endured.

The Build-to-Rent scheme in Wembley Park is being built by Quintain and then managed by its subsidiary Tipi, which describes itself as a 'mid-market option' for tenants. Tipi is only active in Wembley Park at present, with the first buildings on the site opened in early 2016. It makes no apologies for the standard of its facilities and that it charges a premium for having them.

This includes an app enabling tenants to choose for their flat to be cleaned at the touch of a button. Communal lounge areas close to the entrance come with kitchenettes and Sky television, while there is even a gym and screening room.

Rental prices range from £1,450 for a studio measuring 419 square feet, which is just over a sixth of the 2,808 sq ft size of a tennis court. A one-bedroom flat covering 559 sq ft costs £1,590. This depends on the block of flats as there are currently three different ones located at the Wembley Park development and prices are higher in the others. A two-bedroom covering 731 sq ft costs £1,900 and a three bed covering 968 sq ft costs £2,641.  Again, this depends on which site a tenant chooses with the block of flats called Landsby having the highest rental costs.

A three-bedroom flat covering 968 sq ft at Landsby costs £3,125, and includes two bathrooms and a view of Wembley Stadium. It compares to the average rent of £1,237 for a one-bedroom flat, £1,588 for a two-bedroom flat and £2,033 for a three-bedroom flat, across the whole of Wembley Park, according to property website Zoopla.

Who can afford to rent the flats? 

Tipi claims that its typical tenant has an annual salary of £40,000, which equates to take-home pay around £2,550 a month. It is perhaps unsurprising therefore that Tipi also acknowledges that most flats are shared, as it would be virtually impossible to afford any but the smallest flats on this single salary. It means the average household income for just two people sharing would be £80,000. The developer is planning on demand for shared rental homes rising in this part of the capital, with 550 flats already completed and a total of 5,000 being built at its Wembley Park site by 2027.

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