by: Mary-Anne Bowring
A new automated lettings platform has been launched aiming to help the institutional investors and large-scale corporate landlords backing Britain’s burgeoning build-to-rent sector through faster lease-up rates and better insight into the performance of their portfolios. PlanetRent, which has been developed in-house by residential property consultancy Ringley. reduces the need for multiple software packages and enables front-of-house staff generate a fully compliant contract in just minutes. The contracts can be offered deposit-free thanks to a tie-up with Reposit and with a standardised pet-friendly clause. This empowers on-site staff such as concierges – who may come from a hospitality background rather than a property one - to draw up legally watertight tenancy agreements immediately after viewings, helping speed up the leasing process and boost occupancy rates without cutting rents. For the institutional investors backing the sector, such as pension funds and insurers who need steady long-term income streams to match their liabilities, the ability to lease buildings faster and access rents more quickly is a huge bonus.
PlanetRent enables BTR landlords to use multiple agents more efficiently as well, as the entire lettings process is standardised, delivering consistently designed customer experiences including lease-up, renewals, repairs, customer satisfaction ratings, and move-outs. Building owners can also access data tracking each step of this process, making it easier to monitor the performance of assets. PlanetRent also helps save investors’ money by reducing the need to buy multiple software packages and can integrate with existing accounting software or act as an outsourced accountant, saving on cost, time and hassle. While PlanetRent can be used on any rental property, the platform was designed with the fast-growing build-to-rent industry in mind.
Research from the British Property Federation found that there are now more than 150,000 build-to-rent homes across the UK either completed or under development - up 15 per cent compared to 2019. Ringley, which has advised major residential investors and manages thousands of homes across the country, has invested over GBP2 million in creating a suite of technological products that look to simplify, automate and de-risk the lettings and operations of residential buildings.
The company recently announced the launch of Busy Living, a platform that can be white-labeled by BTR operators to help investors better commercialise and monetise the amenity space in their buildings. Busy Living is designed to be sector-agnostic and can also be used by student accommodation and hotel operators. PlanetRent and Busy Living can be integrated, creating a seamless leasing and operations experience for building owners. Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of PlanetRent, says: “Fundamentally, PlanetRent allows complicated and skilled functions to be automated, reducing risk, cutting costs and enabling on-site staff to be far more efficient, such as generating fully-compliant contracts on the spot after viewings.
“By speeding up and streamlining processes around leasing, contracting, compliance and management, admin tasks that take hours can be done in minutes. Meanwhile, every legal box can be ticked ensuring that governance, customer service and cost efficiency can all be prioritised at once without being compromised. “A standardised lettings journey that captures data at key points throughout the process will also allow investors to gain better insights into the performance of their assets and manage multiple agents across a dispersed portfolio or on a single asset more effectively. “Service will be the key differentiator in build-to-rent and investors and operators who take a tech-savvy approach will be the ones who ultimately benefit through improved lease-up rates, occupancy levels and resident satisfaction.”
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