In order to look at what Build to Rent (BTR) property management means, it’s important to first examine exactly what Build to Rent is, and how it differs from the traditional lettings model. Build to Rent was originally an American invention that (like all the best sitcoms!) quickly took off when it made its way over the pond. The clue is in the title; Build to Rent means properties built specifically to rent, rather than to be owner-occupied.
How is that different from traditional buy-to-let properties?
What sets Build to Rent apart from traditional buy-to-let properties is the purpose-built nature of the blocks involved. Build to Rent blocks are built specifically to be rented, with the majority, if not all, of the units owned by an investor or developer. Build to Rent blocks commonly have a focus on community, often offering communal spaces and amenities like gyms, cinemas, exercises classes and so on. What really marks them out is the focus on service, as they usually offer professional on-site management.
So, what does Build to Rent property management involve?
Being an on-site property manager for a Build to Rent development is a pretty all-encompassing role. You need to be on hand to respond to any issues brought to your attention by the residents of the block, as well as liaising with the leaseholders of the properties and keeping track of any repairs and maintenance issues, both structural and cosmetic, affecting the block as a whole.
Surveys repeatedly show that the biggest pain point when it comes to Build to Rent property management is responsiveness to maintenance issues.
Just like in traditional buy-to-let rental relationships, good communication and a swift turnaround for repairs issues were ranked as the most important topics when it came to ranking the management of build-to-rent properties, while friendliness and good communication were also scored highly.
What skills are required of a Build to Rent property manager?
When it comes to Build to Rent property management, it helps to be a master of all trades. Having a working repairs knowledge helps but the most important skills for the job are soft skills; being organised and effective at communication will take you much further. Property management software, which allows you to lay out all the particulars of the Build to Rent block on a single screen, as well as track schedules and planned maintenance works, will make the role easier. As property management software grows increasingly sophisticated, Build to Rent property managers can use it to engage contractors, check qualifications and issue invoices.
Is Build to Rent the future?
The first quarter of 2021 witnessed the highest level of BTR investment ever recorded from 2012 to present.
One thing we can say is that, as the landscape evolves through the pandemic, digitalising Build to Rent property management in line with the rest of the industry can only increase service levels and encourage the productivity required to survive in the post-pandemic world.
We've talked about the importance of offering good service to residents, but how can you ensure this, and what happens when your offering falls below expectations? We discuss this with three industry experts in this informative webinar.