A booming lettings market with a lack of availability and high demand has pushed rental prices up so much so that on average 30 per cent of household income is now going on rent. Almost half of private renters are 35 or older with 40 per cent planning to rent for the rest of their lives.
Equally, changes in law and new energy standards are putting a financial squeeze on landlords leading to many selling up, leaving the market and exacerbating issues. Change needs to happen, and fast, before the entire sector reaches melting point. Renters need energy efficient homes on their terms and the market needs to attract a new breed of investor.
This looming crisis was the start of Smarter Rent, the innovative property rental agency with a difference, that is focused on creating homes for renters and better returns for owners, making it attractive to invest.
Offering beautiful homes on flexible terms and security from one week up to three years, and ensuring high returns and occupancy rates for owners, they take on only the best properties in the best locations before fitting them out with occupants in mind, and providing an outstanding service for the duration of their stay.
Founded only four years ago by mates Adrian Sutherland and Alex Sullivan to help friends and family find buy-to-lets, Smarter Rent, headquartered in Richmond, has helped over 2,000 renters find a home and currently has 100 properties across West London and the home counties on its books. Alex Sullivan, Co-founder of Smarter Rent comments: “Change is coming and it’s for the better. Owning a property for many is simply not possible, or desired. We need to create beautiful, energy efficient homes for renters. Homes that create the flexibility and security they deserve. To do that we need to need to attract new investment from property investors that believe in renters rights to a home and in creating energy efficient properties. As having a positive impact on our society while making a fair return is important to our investors.”
In just a few years Smarter Rent has already changed what it means to rent a home. By focusing on renters giving them more choice, flexibility and freedom has led to higher yields for landlords. Alex continues: “Renters today are more likely to have children and pets, to want gardens and parking spaces. They want to live in attractive, well-maintained homes, and that’s where we come in, because we believe everyone deserves a home, a beautiful home they can thrive in.”
The message to investors is simple too; de-risk your buy-to-let investment while getting up to 40 per cent more income. Smarter Rents ‘model uses data and research to work out how best to optimise a buy-to-let to maximise rental income, with the team taking on all the property management stress so the investor can earn a truly passive income.
Alex continues: “The rental market has to provide a better service for renters. Rather than resisting this coming change, we’re helping investors embrace it whilst removing the hassle, giving them worry-free investments. Our stats speak for themselves; owners that are willing to get their homes up to high standards, reduce their energy consumption, with the right maintenance and with fair contracts are making yields of 9.1 per cent with us. We do all the legwork and organise everything. The upfront costs are higher, but this ensures occupancy rates of over 95 per cent and on average around 40 per cent higher returns. At Smarter Rent, we’ve honed what we do down to every last detail to ensure fantastic homes for renters who feel they are worth every penny.”
Taking tenants needs that much further Smarter Rent even call their tenants their clients, Alex continues: “Unlike the rest of the industry, our renters are our clients, and we are proud to put them first. We turn away more homes than we take on turning away 9 out of 10 properties that are offered to us, because it’s essential that every property meets our criteria.”
Smarter Rent helps tenants looking for more flexible living arrangements. With flexible contracts from one to 36 weeks and one-sided breaks, renters can choose when they leave the agreement, because that’s what renters need. They are not locked into 12-month tenancy agreements. They could be buying a home and not able to move in yet, refurbishing a home and in need of a home-from-home while waiting, and need the flexibility of a shorter contract. Or perhaps have moved in with children and pets and want the security of a longer contract where they can’t be asked to leave before they are ready. They also offer child and pet friendly homes with children always allowed and 99 per cent of homes taking most animals.
All homes are professionally cleaned for arrival, kitted out ready to just turn up and start living, all bills are included, and people can choose to stay for as long (or short) as they like. Plus, the talented team is on hand to help all day, every day of the year.
Ensuring high property standards are met at all times all homes go through a 107-point checklist, only taking on the best homes in the best areas, homes are fitted out with over 120 items so renters can just turn up and start living. This remarkable living experience includes attention to detail at its highest level from 400 thread count on the bed linen, mattresses you can sink into after a hard day, locally sourced tea bags and WIFI back-up in emergencies.