Manchester Life, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi United Group and Manchester City Council, has not only been responsible for the significant regeneration of Ancoats and New Islington in recent years, but it has also become one of the most successful companies in the UK’s emerging build to rent sector.
The UK rental market has traditionally given tenants a choice between unfurnished and furnished homes. However, Manchester Life decided to let all properties across its portfolio as unfurnished, ensuring choice and flexibility.
Manchester Life wanted an established provider to offer its tenants the option of furniture rental, so it partnered with Roomservice by CORT in 2017 when it launched its first development, Cotton Field Wharf. Roomservice by CORT's build to rent furniture offering has been a huge success and the partnership has been extended to cover its other three rental developments: Sawmill Court, Smiths Yard and Weavers Quay in Manchester.
Roomservice by CORT's show home furniture service has also been used in Manchester Life’s show apartments. Jennifer Bendik from Manchester Life comments: "Sometimes tenants do want a ready furnished property where it is easy to settle straight in; however, this frequently means accepting a landlord’s pack, which is often without options and already used by previous tenants. “To give our residents choice, we’ve partnered with Roomservice by CORT to make furniture rental seamless and flexible, allowing our tenants to furnish their apartments exactly as they choose and for as long as they want. This encourages them to feel more at home and adapt their furniture as their needs change.”
Established 35 years ago, Roomservice by CORT offers renters a complete turn-key service with over 300 lines of furniture to choose from, ranging from large items such as sofas and beds to white goods, kitchenware and stylish home decor, right down to the last teaspoon if needed.
Roomservice liaises directly with Manchester Life tenants, who choose and order the furniture that meets their individual needs directly through the Roomservice website, accessed via a landing page set up for Manchester Life tenants. In this way, they can match their furniture rental contract with their Manchester Life tenancy agreement.
Tenants also have the benefit of flexible and individual choice when it comes to furnishings, and the convenience of items being delivered and fully installed, usually within 48-hours of ordering.
They also have peace of mind that for the duration of their contract, if any items are damaged, they will be replaced or repaired.
Providing this flexible and tailored furniture rental service for tenants has proved popular, making a significant contribution to the 138% increase in business for Roomservice by CORT from individuals over the past two years.
Jennifer Bendik continues: “Many people, especially young professionals, want to be able to move home freely for work or lifestyle reasons. They have to adapt to different living spaces, so it is not practical to be tied down with lots of furniture, especially larger items that might not fit in their next property.” Tim Swaddle, Head of Residential at Roomservice by CORT comments: “We’ve found that those that furnish are potentially limiting their potential target market to tenants only seeking furnished property. If that tenant decides they want the apartment, but not the furniture, items will have to be moved into storage and, if this happens in multiple apartments, it can become an expensive storage and management problem.”
“If the furniture is not wanted or valued and gets damaged, it will most likely end up in landfill, which becomes a negative environmental issue. Rental gives them the opportunity to change the furniture to suit their own needs and tastes - for example, they might want to furnish a smaller bedroom with home office furniture. It is great for people who want a contemporary, stylish looking home.”
Explains Tim Swaddle, Head of Residential at Roomservice by CORT.
The flexibility of the service offered by Roomservice by CORT means that tenants can select furniture by the individual piece or choose pre-designed furniture packages for every room.
For those that need a little more direction, free help is on hand. Roomservice by CORT can put together a furniture package based on individual requirements, floor plans and budget, and there are also in-house interior designers who can create an altogether bespoke look.
Not only does Roomservice by CORT provide furniture rental direct to tenants, it also works with Manchester Life by providing show home furnishing and interior design, meaning that for the developer it is also a one-stop-shop for furnishing solutions. Tim Swaddle explains: “In an empty apartment it can be hard to really visualise how the space works. The furnished show units help promote the Manchester Life lifestyle, as well as displaying some of the furniture that tenants can select.”