£65 million government support for UK's largest Build to Rent site

The biggest development of homes built specifically for private rent in the UK is set to receive a £65 million boost from the government.

The biggest development of homes built specifically for private rent in the UK is set to receive a £65 million boost from the government, Housing Minister Alok Sharma announced today (3 August 2017).

The deal will help to unlock over 7,600 new, high quality homes at the Wembley Park development in Brent, London – one of the largest strategic regeneration projects in the country. At least 6,800 of these homes will be for rent.

It will offer more choice for Londoners and comes as the government confirmed widespread support for its proposals to open up the choice of rental properties on the market, to help those currently priced out.

The measures include:

• changing planning rules so councils proactively plan for more Build to Rent homes where there is need
• making it easier for Build to Rent developers to offer affordable private rent in place of other types of affordable home
• introducing longer tenancies which are more family friendly to provide better security for renters – government action in this area has already seen the offer of 3 year or longer tenancies being made available to 35,000 tenants across the country according to British Property Federation estimates.

Build to Rent homes are built at scale for the primary purpose of being rented long-term, they can boost choice and quality in the private rented sector.

Across England the sector is expanding, with 80,855 homes either completed or planned. The industry estimates investment in the private rented sector could grow to £70 billion by 2022. This could provide a further 15,000 homes each year – with the potential to reach at least 240,000 homes built specifically for private rent – by 2030.

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said:

"Whether renting or owning all families should have the security they need to be able to plan for the future.

"That’s why as part of our plan to fix the broken housing market we’ve been taking action to create a bigger and better private rental market, supporting new Build to Rent developments so that tenants can have greater choice.

"Developments like Wembley Park are a great example of doing just that, boosting the choice and quality of homes on the market – meeting the needs of renters in cities and towns across England."

The Wembley Park development is backed by a loan from the government’s £3 billion Home Building Fund. It will bring over 8,000 jobs to the area and support infrastructure to free up land for development.

Delivered in phases over the next 7 years, the flats will include a mix of studios, 1, 2 or 3-bedroom properties, all located closely to the underground station. The site next to the National Stadium will also include up to 2,350 affordable homes.

Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Chief Executive Nick Walkely said:

"This autumn, the HCA will relaunch as Homes England with the ambition of creating a better housing market. We’re determined to get more homes built now and increase the rate of future development.

"This development is a fantastic example of how we fund vital infrastructure to speed up the construction of much-needed quality homes for people to rent."

Quintain Chief Executive, Angus Dodd said:

"This £65 million government loan will be match funded by Quintain to provide a £130 million infrastructure investment into Wembley Park to deliver new car and coach parking, an energy centre and the first phase of the new 7 acre public park. Not only will this funding allow these critical elements to be brought forward, it will also support the more rapid delivery of new homes.

"We are delighted to welcome the Housing Minister to Wembley Park today. The area is already home to a thriving community and will become the largest build to rent development anywhere in the UK."

Work on the new homes at Wembley Park has already begun and is set to be completed in 2026.

Additional support

Measures in the government’s Housing White Paper set out plans to open up the choice of rental properties on the market.

This includes plans to help people in the private rented sector by banning letting agent fees when they sign a new tenancy agreement. This will stop tenants being hit with unfair charges averaging £223 per tenancy.

Government has also introduced new powers under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to crack down on rogue landlords. Local authorities can now impose civil penalties of up to £30,000 as well as prosecute and we have extended Rent Repayment Orders.

Further information

Responses to the government’s consultation ‘Planning and affordable housing for Build to Rent’ showed widespread support for plans to create a new national planning policy to support Build to Rent and the introduction of Affordable Private Rent as the mechanism to provide affordable housing on schemes. By allowing for affordable private rent, it can drive greater efficiencies in design, density and management of schemes by not having separate landlords in control of private and social housing.

Build to Rent homes are built for the primary purpose of being rented long-term. They can boost choice and quality in the private rented sector, particularly in cities and towns.

According to the British Property Federation, there are 80,855 Build to Rent homes either completed or planned across England. Knight Frank estimates that investment in the sector could grow to £70 billion by 2022. Research by Savills suggests the sector could provide up to 15,000 homes per annum over the period to 2030, resulting in up to 240,000 units by 2030.

The funding will be given to housing developers Quintain through the Homes and Communities Agency to build vital new infrastructure to speed up the building of 6,800 quality new rented homes.

A bond of £39.4 million was guaranteed by government for the first completed private rented blocks of 141 homes at Wembley Park, under the £3.5 billion PRS Guarantee Scheme, last December.