The UK’s first private housing scheme specifically aimed at family renters was approved this week — 249 homes at Creekside Wharf, Greenwich. There will be plenty of open space and play areas, buggy storage, laundry rooms, rooftop gardens and large terraces with communal barbecues and pizza ovens.
“The buildings are built for rent and managed professionally on-site,” says Quentin Keeble, director of developer Essential Living.
London’s private rented sector is already leading a nationwide boom in lettings that is likely to change the face of the property market over the next decade.
The high cost of home ownership has forced tens of thousands of Londoners to opt for rental living. As this becomes long-term, the challenge is to find decent quality, fairly-priced accommodation from a landlord they can trust. Developers are switching their focus to rental projects and taking advantage of a £1 billion government Build to Rent fund.
Backed by big pension funds and institutions such as insurance giant Legal & General, the private rental sector is gathering momentum in the capital. About 50,000 private sector rental homes are in the pipeline.
These new landlord companies aim to provide a “branded” service so renters know in advance what they will get — fair, flexible and transparent contracts, on-site property maintenance, free Wi-Fi and super-fast broadband, furniture packs and a portered building.
Typically, rents start at £250 a week and rise to more than £600 a week for townhouses for sharers and families.
Most rental developments are in inner travel zones close to train and Tube stations.
Fizzy Living, an offshoot of Thames Valley Housing, has unveiled schemes in Stepney Green, Lewisham, Poplar and Finchley. It targets the Facebook generation and markets properties through social media rather than estate agents.
Fizzy Living managing director Harry Downes, who has a 25-year-old daughter, knows that connectivity is crucial for “rentysomethings” — typically 25-40 year olds earning about £35,000 a year, whose lives are governed by the internet. For many, fast broadband is as much a priority as hot water.
Tenants log into their account via an intranet site, giving them access to phone, TV and broadband packages, furniture options and links to local businesses offering deals and discounts. Potential sharers are able to post their profile on the sharers’ forum. Longer-term tenancies — up to five years — are available at reduced rates.
Each development has a round-the-clock porter, yoga classes are on offer and even pets are allowed. Call 020 3078 7905.
The success of Get Living London, a 1,439-home rental community at East Village in Stratford, has spurred developer Delancey to build more rental homes across the river at Elephant & Castle.
Properties will be built on a bordering site once the famous pink-coloured shopping centre is bulldozed in a couple of years. Call 020 3714 8080.
If you like football
Wembley in north-west London is to be another rental hub. About a third of the 5,000 homes in a new district ringing Wembley Stadium will be for private rental, typically costing £1,500 a month, according to Quintain, the developer.
This rental price is said to be an affordable figure for junior workers in finance, law, retail, technology and media as well as public sector employees such as teachers and doctors.
‘Green space is so close’
In Sweden, renting in cities is routine, so when the Johansson family moved to London they opted for the new rental district called East Village, in Stratford. The 2,818-home development has a new academy school and health centre and lies next to 560-acre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“It’s a really family-friendly neighbourhood, and amazing to have so many facilities and summer events on the doorstep,” says David, 33, a security consultant. “Being close to so much green space is our favourite thing.”
David and wife Helene, who have a daughter, Alissa, pay £400 a week for a two-bedroom flat with terrace. With property managers on-site seven days a week, the landlord company, Get Living London, aims to make renting easier.
Renters deal directly with the company. There are no up-front or renewal fees, tenants can opt for one- to three-year contracts and choose furnished or unfurnished accommodation. They also get free broadband and Sky TV discounts.