REVEALED: Slipping Standards At Build-To-Rent Blocks As Sector Balloons

The burgeoning build-to-rent (BTR) sector has been warned not to rest on its laurels as new research reveals slipping customer service standards.

Consultancy hereSAY’s BTR Mystery Shopping Benchmark Report found that although the developments still present high-quality amenities, apartments and communal areas, a decline in customer service at the enquiry and viewing stage could damage the reputation of the brands and buildings long term.

Its surveys at 50 BTR developments reveal that 28% of people received no response to their enquiries, 68% rated their experience of contacting the scheme and attempting to book a viewing as poor or very poor, while 36% had received no follow-up in the seven days after their viewing.

In contrast, the presentation of the apartments, amenities and communal areas was the highest rated part of the experience, scoring 88% – an 11% increase from 2021.

Investment in the BTR sector almost doubled last year, helping to fill the gap left by exiting residential landlords, according to the British Property Federation, which reports that 180 local authorities have now completed BTR homes, or have units in the pipeline, up 29% on Q4 2021.

Attention to detail Five years ago, the BTR market had to work hard for its residents, and as such the customer service and attention to detail was exemplary, explains Debra Yudolph (pictured), partner at hereSAY.

“With the ‘race to rent’ demand far exceeding supply, people have less ability to shop around, so the BTR sector hasn’t had to work as hard and unfortunately, we have seen a significant dip in customer service at the enquiry stage,” she adds.

“If the sector wants to continue to grow at the rate and popularity it has to date, it cannot be seen to shun prospects simply because so many people need somewhere to live.”

Read more: What does BTR mean for BTL?

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