In 2017, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) accounted for 5 million households. This is a huge increase from 10% in 2002 to 20% and indicates that the market is growing fast. However, is the current rental market fit for purpose?

The rise in the number of people choosing to rent has inevitably led to more diversity in the rental population. The Build-to-Rent target market is now comprised of families, young professionals and retirees and collectively known as Generation Rent all with one thing in common. The desire to live somewhere they can call home, without worries about eviction or poor-quality living conditions.

Currently, the standard lease length is between 6 to 12 months, which can be disruptive to both landlord and tenant. There is no consistency or stability for the tenant, especially for families who need to move home before they had planned to, which can mean children moving school, alongside the uncertainty and costs associated with taking on a new rental property. In addition, there is little onus on the developer to create a building that will stand the test of time.

Lord Best, Centre for Social Justice said: “The CSJ is right to stress that the types of households living in the private rented sector have changed profoundly over the last two decades. The rules governing the sector have not kept apace. The prevailing culture of insecurity has harmed both private tenants and landlords. The recommendations we advance update the sector so that families are able to put down roots and landlords can feel confident that the system will work for them.”

The CSJ has declared their chief objective is to introduce four-year standard tenancy durations, which aligns with the average length of residency for renters in England - 4.3 years.

What is the potential impact on the Build-to-Rent market?

The national policy definition of Build-to-Rent states that developers will offer longer tenancy agreements of 3 years or more to all new tenants who want one.

As Build-to-Rent is more focused on future-proofing the asset, satisfying more of the market means a more stable income. The demographic has changed and longer leases work better for families as they have more stability to choose where they live based on proximity to local schools and amenities. As 73% of tenants wish to live 10 minutes to the nearest public transport this means a site can be more centralised and therefore revitalise town and city centres.

The building becomes easier to manage from an operator perspective as everything is integrated, with just one manager per building. More stability also means more investment. Since the landlord is planning to hold on to the stock for 40 or 50 years, they want to minimise the risk of repairs, which benefits the tenants who are getting a higher-end product.

The number one consideration for tenants is the condition of the property. Its place at the top of the list corroborates the shocking statistic that 25% of private rented homes fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard set out by the Ministry of Housing. In an effort to improve the situation, the latest government white paper advises that longer leases of 3 years should be in place.

Dan Batterton, fund manager at L&G, says the company is putting “more money into the things you don’t see” in order to reduce long-term running costs. That includes investing in things like higher quality kitchens, as well as plumbing and electricity. The pension fund manager is also having bespoke furniture designed.

However, it’s not just the physical structure of the building that benefits from a long-term approach. From the initial choice of site in the right location to the design of the kitchen, these buildings are designed to last. The physical nature of the property being developed differs significantly from received wisdom around Build for Sale: the most crucial difference is long-termism. It sounds obvious, but it permeates the entire build process, from initially securing a site in the right location to deciding how to fit the kitchen – and making sure the internet is future-proofed.

Build-to-Rent is leading the way in how we think about the housing market, so it makes sense that it should be at the forefront of this change in policy. When people are hoping to stay in the same place for over 4 years, it makes sense that they can do so with a greater sense of security. Build-to-Rent properties are making this a reality.


  • English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018: headline report
  • Centre for Social Justice: A Social Justice Housing Strategy
  • Savills: What Do Tenants Really Want? 2014

Smart Fibre Infrastructure™ (SFI™)

Glide Residential’s SFI™ is a full fibre, landlord broadband solution that provides a fast and simple way to cable a building, specifically designed for the Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector. With SFI™, buildings are future-proofed for the next 25 years, as there are no restrictions on what can be delivered via fibre. SFI™ also enables the provision of many smart technology services such as Wi-Fi controlled lighting and heating, door entry, CCTV, digital signage, smart metering, and SkyQ. SFI™ helps add rental value, whilst reducing operational costs, and is designed with developers, landlords, and their residents in mind.

Managed Internet Service

With Glide Residential, you can also benefit from a fully managed internet service for private rented residents and fully managed internet solutions. What this means is everything is managed from the cabling, to launch, to ongoing 24/7/365 support. Complete managed broadband services from a single provider. The network is monitored around the clock to ensure everything is running smoothly, and each customer has their own dedicated service manager as one single point of contact to provide everything you need.

Get in touch with a member of our team to find out how we can enhance your Build-to-Rent (BTR) development. Call us on 03333 800 800 or drop us an email at, or find out more details on our website /connectivity-and-smart-solutions/sfi

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