The pioneering project is the first of its kind in the UK, creating a purpose-built rental village owned and professionally managed by an on-site landlord, Qatari Diar, whose other notable London scheme is the redevelopment of the former Chelsea barracks.
The service aims to change negative perceptions of private renting with sensible contracts and costs. The new East Village neighbourhood will include a complex of well-designed homes first built as accommodation for the athletes at the 2012 Games.
No pricey add-ons
A key feature of the scheme is the absence of costly fees. Apartments and townhouses are available to rent from £310 a week. Tenants can sign up for three years, rather than the 12 months that normally applies in the private rented sector, and there are tenant-only break clauses and rent discounts for longer-term residents. Residents pay only their utility bills.
“There are no check-in fees, reference fees or inventory fees because there are no middlemen,” says Liz McCallum, the scheme’s director of lettings. “We want to change people’s mind set on renting versus buying so they consider renting as a longer-term solution, knowing we are a responsive landlord and one they can trust.”
Tenants who take out a three-year contract will even be allowed to paint the walls of their home a different colour. Get Living London will maintain the homes and all aspects of the village — the public spaces, the private courtyards and landscaped areas, the shops, restaurants and cafés. An onsite office deals with day-to-day management.
“So a tenant reporting a problem to us on the way to work in the morning will find it is sorted by the time they return in the evening,” adds McCallum. Quality of accommodation is another aspect being pushed. The furnished flats have design packages “curated” by Wayne Hemingway and the accent is on British manufacturers and heritage brands, such as G Plan.
Renters in the 20-40 age bracket are expected to be the mainstay of this new community, with City, West End and Canary Wharf commuters looming large. Stratford is one of the best-connected places in the capital – Jubilee and Central lines, the DLR, Overground trains plus the high-speed service linking St Pancras (seven-minutes) and the Kent coast.
More than £10 billion of public money has been pumped into Stratford. The 500-acre Olympic Park is the largest recreational space to be created in Europe for 150 years, and includes the wonderful Mirabelle Gardens (locals can even pick fruit from trees). Next-door “Stratford City”, which includes the giant Westfield shopping centre, is a new commercial centre for east London.
Five more new neighbourhoods with 8,000 homes offering different tenures are being built during the next 15 years aimed at attracting a broad community — better-off middle-class homebuyers, as well as low-budget first-timers; singles, couples and families.
* Visit getlivinglondon.com