The CEO of the UK’s largest listed residential landlord has taken aim at private landlords whom she accuses of leaving tenants in constant fear of eviction.
Helen Gordon, boss at Build to Rent expert Grainger, told Property Week that it had a stronger social conscience than many of its competitors.
“On the topic of Environmental, Social and Governance, our ‘S’ is much stronger than many other property companies. Anyone renting with a buy-to-let landlord is worried they’ll be served notice at any time. In a Grainger block, people are working all the time to make sure you stay with us.”
She adds that as the country has reopened, demand has swelled for its high-quality, professionally managed rental product. “We launched schemes in Southampton and Manchester at the end of March,” Gordon says.
“Our Southampton scheme has beaten all records – it’s now fully let. We had allowed a year to lease it up, and it happened in under four months. And in Manchester, 140 units have already been let.”
Gordon believes the emphasis Grainger places on technology and service is a key reason for continued demand for its properties.
“We have superfast broadband going into each apartment, not being split at the building,” she points out. “We doubled the speed for our customers during the pandemic.
“Grainger offered co-working spaces, gyms, extensive cleaning regimes and even parcel collection. We were doing shopping for people. That really differentiates us from the buy-to-let landlord who may have been absent.”
The firm, which has 9,000 operational units, with another 9,000 in the pipeline, boasts that it has been particularly resilient during the pandemic, with rent collection levels at about 97-99%, while others have struggled. Gordon suggests that local councils struggling to meet housing targets should also consider partnering with Build to Rent developers.
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