For centuries the way the private rented sector has been run by landlords offering tenancies and tenants paying rent, but could this all be set to change?

A London build-to-rent operator has told LandlordZONE that it’s the first large operator in the UK and possibly the world to tear all this up and offer its residents ‘memberships’ instead.

Apo – which stands for ‘a part of’ has two sites in the capital, a 600-apartment site in Barking and a soon-to-be-completed second site in Kew, where there will be 490 apartments.

The private rental housing brand, which is a joint venture between build-to-rent firm Ecoworld and builder Wilmott Dixon, has plans to eventually create 5,000 homes under management within London by 2025.

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“Apo believes renting should be about so much more than a roof over your head,” the company says.

“It should be about somewhere people can live flexibly, and in the way they want – property is only one part of the service. While stylish apartments make up part of our membership, they’re not the only perk.

“At Apo, there are no more inflexible tenancies, no more unwanted expense. Residents can choose from a range of flexible leases, apartment upgrades or move freely between our locations – wherever in the world they may be.”

Both sites offer an unusually wide range of services that even the most resourceful large or small portfolio private landlord would struggle to match.

Amenities galore

This includes access to co-working office spaces, single payment for all utilities, social events, roof terraces, a private gym, lounge, free WIFI, cleaning services, an on-site handyman, membership ap, digital parcel boxes and, at Kew, views over the pitch of the new Brentford Community stadium. Pets are also allowed at both developments.

‘Membership’ may sound very cool for its target tenants, but are more of a necessity for residents – many of the properties (like many newbuilds in London) now are at the limit of the minimum required by the Mayor of London (37sqm and 50sqm) so tenants/members will be thankful for the alternative social spaces on offer.

Rental prices at Apo start at £1,160 pcm for the smallest studio in Barking (37 sqm), and £1,550 pcm for a studio (42 sqm) in Kew.

Read more about BTR.

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