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UK's first specialist Build To Rent industry body set to launch next month

The UK Apartrment Association - which describes itself as the first organisation exclusively servicing this country’s Build To Rent sector - is launching in the UK.

It says it is the “first international chapter” of the National Apartment Association, which is the leading organisation in North America’s very well established and large Build To Rent sector, known there as Multi-Family Housing.

The NAA over there has around 170 organisations involved, representing developers, landlord bodies and tenant groups operating 8.1m Build To Rent apartments throughout the US and Canada.

The UK chapter has not taken the ‘softly softly’ line of some in the build to rent sector with regard to buy to let landlords, who make up the vast majority of the lettings market. 

Instead in a statement it says one of UKAA’s primary roles will be to “differentiate the build to rent, multi-family housing market from the amateur ad hoc rental service provided by small-scale landlords that currently make up the bulk of rental properties.”

The UKAA is launching with founding members including Roger Southam, (chief executive of block management company Chainbow), Jonathan Ivory (managing director of the UK division of US build to rent firm Atlas Residential), and Richard Gerritsen of Yardi, a global software supplier to the real estate industry.

In a message welcoming the launch of the new body, housing minister Brandon Lewis says: “I want to see the private rented sector respond to the nation’s housing needs by providing new forms of supply and improved quality and choice. I welcome the UKAA as a body that can help the build to rent sector, bringing together the needs of private renters with the institutional capital that wants to invest in meeting their demands.”

The UKAA says it will provide training, customer service delivery, study tours and provide a suppliers’ forum, market data and a range of resources for the burgeoning sector.

Around 30,000 build to rent homes are under construction or have planning consent in the UK, with many more proposed by institutional investors including Legal & General. Knight Frank calculates that build to rent will account for five per cent of UK residential letting units by 2020.

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