Learnings From the US Multi-Family Model

We recently sponsored a conference on the private rented sector, looking at what the UK can learn from the US multi-family housing model.

It was the first ever UK event hosted by the National Apartment Association, the organisation that represents the professional rental industry in the USA and was attended by over 300 UK property professionals. It served to highlight just how much more evolved and professional the rental housing market is in the States.

The USA has indeed had a good head start and over the past 20 years, it has grown into a sector that represents some 25 million homes managed by professional property management companies. As you would expect from the American way of doing things, there is a great emphasis placed on high levels of customer service and investment in brand loyalty.

Jeff Rowe, Vice President of our parent company CORT, presented a conference session explaining the role that furniture rental plays in turning a rental property into a home. Apartments are usually let unfurnished in the US but operators often offer a furniture rental service. This is supplied a third party furniture rental company such as CORT, which is the market leader, but offered as an extension of the property management company, giving tenants the option of renting furniture without the landlord having to invest in buying it. This model is readily transferring to the UK and we are already working with PRS/Build to Rent operators to offer a full furnture rental service for tenants with an exceptional range of furniture packages and offers.

Something that really stood out to the British audience was the sheer range and variety of resident facilities available in US multi-family schemes. Fitness rooms and pools are a given, but rental developments in the US have all sorts of extra amenities from wine rooms and bike workshops, to pet spas and even doggy daycare. All of this is about creating an attractive lifestyle for tenants and establishing a sense of community that makes people feel at home.

There is clearly a lot that the emerging build to rent sector in the UK can learn from the experience of their US counterparts. The NAA is keen to establish a presence in the UK to share best practice and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with them in the future. The presentations from the conference are available to download at: http://prsmasterclass2015.com/downloads/

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