Longer tenancies – what do you think?


Longer tenancies have been in the news lately, with some build-to-rent providers offering tenants the option of a three-year contract instead of the standard six month or one year AST. The government picked up on the trend and recently consulted on the idea that all landlords offer longer rental periods to tenants. But is there really a demand in the market for longer contracts?

Some tenants say they would welcome the move, especially if they have children in local schools and an easy commute to work – after all, who needs the disruption of moving if they don’t have to? Others, particularly younger people with no family commitments, often prefer the flexibility of being able to move around without being tied into a long rental agreement.

According to AXA, six out of 10 renters are happy with tenancies of 12 months or less. A survey carried out by the insurer reveals that more than two thirds of tenants would still opt for a shorter tenancy even if they were given the choice. However, according to the survey,  long leases such as those commonly used in mainland Europe, would be attractive to a quarter of renting families as opposed to single renters and those without children.

A recent poll of 2,000 tenants by online letting agent MakeUrMove also found that only 7.2% of tenants would prefer a tenancy lasting three years. Around a third of those polled said they would like tenancies to remain at 12 months and a further 20% would like tenancies to last no longer than two years.

So three years doesn’t seem a particularly popular choice. However, some 29% of tenants did say they would prefer a tenancy to last significantly longer than three years. Over two in five surveyed (43%) had already spent more than five years in their current rental property.

Ultimately, it seems that the government’s Tenant Fees Bill, now making its way through Parliament is a far more popular proposition than multi-year leases. Six in ten renters say they have had to pay the types of fees to landlords and letting agents that the Bill seeks to outlaw, says AXA. These are mostly fees for starting, ending or renewing a tenancy agreement. And a quarter of tenants say they have had to pay for the pleasure of having a credit or reference check done against them too.

Landlords – could this be you?


Private landlords in the London Borough of Barnet are being offered a grant to help them bring empty homes back into use. Anyone who rents in London knows housing really is in short supply so its great to see a council bringing empty homes back into use as soon as possible. It’s also refreshing to see a local authority putting its money where its mouth is and offering a financial incentive to get the ball rolling.

The good news for landlords is that up to £25K is on offer to help get their properties into the rental market; either by refurbishing them or converting commercial properties to residential use. Of course the size of the grant on offer depends on the property in question.  At the moment, £15, 300 is up for grabs for a one-bedroom property, £20,400 for two bedrooms and the full £25,000 for three bedrooms. Obviously, to get their hands on the money, landlords have to agree to actually rent their properties out once works are completed – but to add an additional incentive an extra £2, 500 is available to anyone signing up by 30 November.

So if you live in Barnet and have an empty property – or more than one – in your portfolio, don’t hang around. To apply for an Empty Homes Grant, call 0208 359 4359. And who knows, if the initiative proves successful, other London boroughs may follow suit. Here’s hoping!



Is wearable tech on offer from your landlord?


We’re all used to seeing on-site gyms as part and parcel of the offer in smart apartment blocks but now build-to-rent housing developer Moda is taking personal fitness for residents to a new level. With the recent announcement from the World Health organisation that we are all sitting around too much and not getting our recommended one and half hours a week of exercise, this could be good news for anyone living in a Moda block who is worried they are turning into a couch potato.

In the first tie-up of its kind in the housing market, the company has just announced a partnership with a new health and fitness platform called Hero. The aim is to give residents access to a training club in their block that will use wearable tech and 3D body scanners to measure their fitness and create tailored exercise and diet regimes for them. Moda customers will also have access to personal advice from Premier League coaches and nutritionists. And just in case block managers are feeling left out, Hero will also provide ‘mental health first’ training for Moda’s on-site management staff.

This may be a property first but it certainly won’t be the last tie-up we’ll see between a developer and an outside provider. Block operators are ever-more savvy about what will encourage residents – particularly in the build-to-rent market – to sign on the dotted line. Increasingly flat owners and renters are buying into a lifestyle and providers are keen to set the pace. What will they come up with next? At Ringley, a quick office poll came up with some interesting ideas. Our money’s on smart flats where you can activate heating and appliances from your phone, free health screening, pet-friendly blocks and – to attract the growing number of families now renting their homes – on-site childcare, including a babysitting service. Watch this space to see if we’re right!

Why tenants increasingly love corporate landlords

Why tenants increasingly love corporate landlords

The corporate landlord is an emerging concept. Born from the rising demand for quality rental accommodation in the ever-transformative digital age, corporate landlords are changing the expected norms of the lettings industry. In recent months, awareness of this emerging sector has grown with more and more tenants looking for a different way to rent, but what exactly is a corporate landlord, and why do tenants seem to love them so?

  • Better facilities and finishes

Not only are more people now renting than ever before, but the expectations of what rental accommodation should provide its tenants has also gone up. Traditionally, it was often acceptable for landlords to provide what might be referred to as the bare minimum standard of accommodation. Almost everyone has their own version of this story: walls covered in mould; bathroom tiles falling off the wall; single-glazed windows covered in condensation; or all of the above.

Things are changing though, and the tenants of today simply won’t accept poor standards in the way they used to. As such, those landlords who were offering substandard accommodation are finding themselves with vacant properties, watching their tenants move out in favor of safe, warm, well-maintained homes that include premium facilities, and an all-round higher level of finish.

Many private rental landlords have been known to consider tenants a necessary evil, so it’s no surprise that corporate landlords who are building properties based on tenant requirements are winning the day.


  • Increased renting means homes need to feel more like home

People are generally renting for a much greater portion of their lives. What used to be homes for 20 and 30-somethings are now homes to those in their 40s and, increasingly, above. However, this does not mean that the natural human desire to have a house which really feels like a home of one’s own lessens. Instead, it has sent people on the hunt for a new type of rental accommodation.

Traditional rental properties are incredibly restrictive in terms of how free tenants are to personalise their environment; we’ve all heard stories of tenants who have been fined for nothing more than blu tack residue left on the wall.

Corporate landlords understand the need to make a house feel like a home, and this is often reflected in the service they provide. They will often be more flexible when it comes to redecoration for example, especially for those tenants who have signed longer-term contracts.

Looking forward, we can expect to see corporate landlords being a lot more accommodating when it comes to tenant demands. For example, landlords who allow tenants to bring pets into their rental homes are a rarity. As corporate landlords continue to tempt more and more tenants over from the private rental market, we expect to see an increasing number of them allowing their tenants to keep pets.


  • Demand for city centre space

When the majority of jobs are found in those cities which have the most severe housing shortages, the inevitable is going to happen. On top of that, jobs in big cities pay, on average, more than those in the suburbs.

These two facts converge to result in an incredibly short supply of city centre accommodation. Corporate landlords, those who can afford to acquire large plots of premium land, can take advantage of people’s desire to live in the heart of the city, avoiding a long daily commute and still benefiting from a high-quality home that doesn’t bankrupt them at the end of each month. Smaller private landlords simply cannot match this offering.

  • Community and friendship, company.

Corporate landlords offer tenants a ready-made community to move into. For young professionals, maybe new to a city, this can be incredibly appealing. With busy lives, the opportunities to connect with people outside of work are minimal, clever corporate landlords are helping their tenants form bonds and relationships that go far beyond those of mere housemates. On-site activities, bars, karaoke, games room, etc turn a building into a bustling, vibrant community.

  • Tech-inclusive living

The rise of the Digital Age has bought with it exciting new property and lifestyle innovations. Corporate landlords are taking advantage of this desire for integrated technology, offering cutting-edge technology to their tenants from the get-go.

Such innovation can be found in the form of smart goods like fridges and televisions, internet-enabled lighting and utilities meters, tenant-facing apps to handle contracts and report maintenance, and even smart keys, allowing tenants to unlock their doors and grant others access directly from their smartphone.

  • Work/Balance

Finally, and looking a little further into the future, corporate landlords are also starting to experiment with the idea of so-called corporate living, where tenants live and work in the same building, often owned by a large employer such as Facebook or Google. It’s essentially a hybrid of co-living and co-working and some are tipping it to be the next big thing.

There are questions being asked as to whether tenants will want to live and work in one place, alongside all of their colleagues, but it proves how vibrant the conversation of the shared experience currently is.

Corporate landlords have the ability to blend premium property with affordable prices, providing a tenant experience that goes above and beyond that which the private rental sector can offer. Because of that, we can expect to see more and more tenants falling in love with properties offered by corporate landlords.

Creator of Free Landlord’s APP wins Property Manager of the Year Award

It’s been 3 years since Ringley, creator of Planet Rent last won this most coveted of awards in property, but they did not stop there. A mixture of instinct and foresight led them to bring forward a game-changing homegrown Build to Rent Portal and Residents App – and they are about to release it to every landlord and every Letting Agent, everywhere FREE. Ringley Group were picked from 12 shortlisted companies last Thursday night to winner in the most competitive category ‘Property Manager of the Year’.

“It is constant and extremely hard work keeping thousands of residents happy on a daily basis in the leasehold sector” says CEO Mary-Anne Bowring. “we expect to increase this service effort 20 fold when it comes to operating blocks in the new Build to Rent sector. Not only do residents pay for and expect super-high levels of service for the rent premium they pay in bespoke high end rental complexes, the institutional investors are demanding and need to ensure leakage is minimised for their yields to stack up and achieve viability.”

There’s no point pretending that if you can rent a property that makes you a build to rent expert, site staff are the new lettings agent, it takes modern tools to build community and the operators head office has to prove they can manage risk – all in a new transparent way. Ringley recognised this early on and developed an end to end apps to re-craft the key parts of the lettings experience, streamlining move-in, contracts, repairs, welcome, utilities and events processes whilst getting rid of the paper and slashing the admin time and costs which plague the industry.

Their aptly named Planet Rent app is to be made available to the wider private landlord market and all Letting Agents too. With Planet Rent the tenant fees ban problem is already solved – the app is free with contracts on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Our 15 strong in house IT team alone deserve this award for the relentless hours and sweat they have put in to this unique offering….the Tweets, re Tweets and Linked in likes along (with strong praise and personal messages from competitors and clients alike) are testament to what Ringley have achieved – a massive well done team Ringley !

The judges summed up Ringley’s offering

In 2017, Ringley took its BTR capability to the next level. According to the company, it is the only managing agent to bring forward a ground-breaking BTR model, building on 20 years estate management experience and culminating in its 150-page BTR Guide. Ringleys vision is to help create a new asset class, akin in community to student living, but with the brand consistency of, say, Premier Inn.  Judges praised the modern approach and strong growth.