Essential Living, one of the new breed of private rented sector developers in the UK market, is undertaking research and conducting focus groups in a bid to understand just what today’s home renters want. Everything is up for grabs, as the group tries to redefine home renting as a painless service, rather than a hassle.
Quentin Keeble, Essential Living’s recently appointed development director, says initial feedback has been invaluable in helping the company design its upcoming schemes. “What is already clear is the principle that a person’s home should begin at the door of the building and not at the door of their flat,” he says, in an opinion piece published in Property Week. That could include, for example, turning over a penthouse apartment to shared space for residents; while this would mean foregoing the additional rental from a flat, it could deliver an equivalent long term value by delivering a more attractive package for those renting flats elsewhere in the building.
Essential will be aiming to use good design to deliver apartments with:
* fixtures and fittings selected for their high quality rather than just a brand name
* high energy efficiency, to keep running costs down and make a clear statement about sustainability
* smart, functional spaces with good daylight that create the feel of a home.
By getting these items right, Keeble says Essential can combine low running costs with flats that people want to not just rent, but to stay in – reducing voids and marketing costs, and maintaining long term asset value.
“The concept of selling housing as a service disrupts a market that has, until now, stigmatised renting for the many reasons we’re all too familiar with,” says Keeble. “In the PRS there’s a genuine opportunity to change how people live.”
Essential is working up private rented sector projects across London, and in key commuter locations including Maidenhead and Croydon. Several of its developments will see former office properties adapted and converted to create new apartments for long term rental.