Love to Rent, which describes itself as “the first and only digital marketing platform for the Build to Rent sector”, has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Anne-Marie Brown, founder of the LtR website, has described recent months as “a summer of chaos” and claims that “the industry at large” wants a government minister dedicated to the rental sector.
Here is her letter to Sunak in full:
“Dear Prime Minister
“A summer of government chaos has led to several questions being left unanswered, particularly for the property industry. When Michael Gove unveiled the Levelling Up White Paper, setting out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it, it was made clear that the rental market must reform.
“The proportion of people living in rental accommodation in the UK in the past 20 years has doubled and is projected to overtake owner-occupiers for the first time by 2025. The Build to Rent market is anticipated to grow five-fold during the next decade and can play an important role in the UK residential market to help deliver on the manifesto pledge of building 300,000 homes.
“The industry at large believes a dedicated minister is needed to support the millions of households who are living in private rentals, and to champion and play a part in the growing Build to Rent sector, which shows a 20% year on year increase in the total number of homes in regional towns and cities as the sector continues to evolve to meet demand. (Source British Property Federation). Local authorities are also planning for the delivery of Build to Rent homes more effectively, with 47% of local authorities now having Build to Rent in their housing pipelines, versus 20% in 2017. This sector has the ability to improve the lives of millions in the future.
“Love to Rent, the first and only digital marketing platform for the Build to Rent sector, developed with customers’ needs at the forefront, has called upon your predecessors since 2017 for a dedicated Minister for Renting to address the problems in the private rented sector and support the quality renting sector, that is providing a new choice of home for customers. We believe there has never been a more important time to act and make this appointment.
“With the rising cost of living impacting every facet of day-to-day life; alongside the ever-increasing Bank of England Base Rate to contend with, it is no surprise there is a loss of confidence in the private sale market and homebuyers are searching out stability for their onward property journey. The traditional routes allowing first-time buyers to get on to the housing ladder are also being adversely affected. Even the more affordable option of shared ownership is giving buyers pause for thought, with agents reporting that many are saying they are waiting for six months to see how things play out.
“However, for many lives cannot be put on hold and people still need somewhere to live, which is what makes the incredibly flexible option of Build to Rent ideal. One of the sector’s biggest advantages is the total control it gives to tenants who can decide the length of their tenancy, with flexible leases as standard.
“Since the start of the cost-of-living crises, statistics from Love to Rent has supported this viewpoint. With an increase of 36% in website sessions, +32% in page views and a staggering +127% in property enquiries it is clear that customers are seeing these homes as a quality choice for their new home.
“Despite challenging financial times, the Build to Rent sector has already proved its resilience during the pandemic. Operators reported strong occupancy levels and high levels of rent collection, despite the challenging environment some tenants were facing. The rental market has since recovered well and there is a huge increase in the number of Build to Rent homes being delivered.
“There has also been a recent change in the type of product being delivered, which makes it an ideal option for all age groups, including families and downsizers. Traditionally, the UK Build to Rent market focused on highly amenitised schemes, which met the needs of city professionals. Now, the mid-market is blossoming, giving an affordable rental option while still being fully serviced and secure.
“We believe a Minister for Renting will be able to best plan for the future of this vital sector.
"We would be delighted to meet with you or your team to discuss the role of a Minister for Renting further.”