The private rental sector and build to rent

The shortage of homes across the UK and the rising cost of getting on the property ladder have made the private rental sector (PRS) one of the largest and fastest growing areas of the UK real estate market, especially within the London area.

The sector has doubled in size over the last decade and many believe that as developers and institutional investors increase investment in PRS and build to rent (BTR) schemes, within 15 – 20 years, more people will rent in the UK than own their own home.

More widely known to tenants as ‘co-living’ developments, BTR is a housing option that is becoming particularly attractive to millennials. Designed and constructed specifically for renting rather than for sale, and managed with a high service-led culture, the proliferation of co-living developments is set to radically transform the UK property market. At Collyer Bristow we are working with companies at the forefront of that change.  

We work closely with developers, including both ‘niche’ challenger brands and national house-builders, as well as institutional funder clients, to support the funding, building and ongoing operation of properties in the sector. Our well established network of property professionals and extensive knowledge of the property market in London and the South East makes us a go-to firm for PRS and BTR developers and landlords looking for a more bespoke and partner-led legal relationship.

Our multi-disciplinary team brings together specialists from commercial real estate, real estate finance (including expertise on Forward Funding Agreements), construction (both contentious and non-contentious services), and real estate litigation. Combined, our team provides an end-to-end service that begins with site acquisition and continues far beyond the development of the property: we support operators in tenant management; commercial contracts with third-party vendors; employment issues and even in the protection of their brand. A truly holistic offering.

Examples of recent work:

We are currently acting for an exclusive development company in connection with the acquisition and obtaining planning permission for a large development in the home counties, and its disposal by way of forward funding of the land value and development costs. Planning permission has just been obtained and the forward funding documentation is currently being negotiated.

We acted for the developer on a £30m forward sale of a development in London to one of central London’s largest residential landlords. The development involved the conversion of an existing Victorian warehouse building into apartments and 5 new build townhouses fronting the River Thames. This was one of the most significant PRS schemes in London in 2017.

We are acting for a joint venture in connection with the site assembly, funding, development and sales of a multi-phase development in East London. This is a ten year programme for the construction of over 1,000 units, including a community centre, health centre, retail space and a new public square. The GDV for the development is in excess of £300 million.

CB Restore - Property repossession support

Our Real Estate Litigation team provides property repossession support for PRS and BTR landlords in the event of a break-down in landlord and tenant relations. You may wish to immediately obtain possession of the property from a tenant, or in the first instance take steps to require a tenant to remedy a breach of their tenancy agreement. We can help with both. Our CB Restore team can initially advise on your options, and subsequently provide a streamlined step-by-step service to ensure you get the right result as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible. Our processes require the minimum involvement from your team, beyond providing the initial information, freeing you up to concentrate on managing your portfolio. Along with the reassurance that comes from straightforward fixed costs, you can be confident that your property will be restored to a revenue generating status with the minimum amount of hassle and legal expense.

Additional information