LIV Indigo. Photo by Mirvac Group.

Build-to-rent ushers in an exciting opportunity for Australian renters to live the way they want, with everything designed for convenience and comfort. Posited as an innovative, flexible renting approach, we’re pinpointing some key reasons you might love this housing model.

This article forms part of our Build-to-Rent guide, which looks at the build-to-rent concept in Australia, the benefits for renters and where this development style is headed in future. Check out the full series today.

While the cost of build-to-rent homes can be higher than many apartments, these fees cover many things that make this model wholly unique, with features that no standard rental can offer.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • Build-to-rent is an exciting new approach to residential leasing in Australia
  • You can live how you want, with a tenancy built for your convenience and comfort
  • Spaces and services are designed to create connection and community 
  • Security comes with opportunities for longer-term leasing
  • Freedom to treat your rental like your own home

Picture this: At ground level, your building features a hotel lobby-like lounge and cafe. There’s a dog-washing area, bike storage, a cinema room, private dining and kitchen and expansive outdoor terraces. You have access to coworking spaces, meeting rooms, and a fitness studio within your building.

Up on the rooftop, you have a dog park, garden terrace and pool with beautiful views of the CBD. All services and support can be accessed from a dedicated app, helping you maximise flexibility and personalisation as seamlessly as you might swipe right on your next dinner date. It sounds like a dream – but it could be a reality, for a price.

Let’s unpack some of the key reasons it’s worth considering.

#1 Flexible leases for as long as you want 

Feeling settled in your home is important to most of us. Whether for work, being close to family or giving your kids stability while at school, you’ll know that security of tenure is a must.

But it’s not easy to come by in the standard residential market, where one year is typical and an opportunity for your landlord to change plans at any given moment.

Because build-to-rent developers go in with a long-term strategy, lease security is a major perk of this model, and you get to avoid the 12-month leasing cycle.

#2 It’s a win for sustainability

In build-to-rent, the developer sticks around as the long-term owner/manager of their asset, so you’ll find they’re more inclined to double down on sustainability. And for a good reason! Energy savings are recouped through the ongoing lifecycle performance of properties.

Many build-to-rents have double-glazed windows, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, rooftop solar powering throughout common areas, electric vehicle charging stations, and in many cases, 100% carbon emission offset energy.

It’s a great opportunity for developers to influence your environmental impact compared to what you’d get in normal residential development.

You might also like:
> 6 things BTR tackles that the private rental market hasn’t managed – yet
> Could build-to-rent be a gamechanger in the Australian rental landscape?
> Build to rent: What is it & how does it work?

#3 Pet-friendly (on all accounts)

If you’ve rented before, you’ll understand the difficulty of finding accommodation allowing pets. Being pet-friendly is one of the key perks of most successful build-to-rent developments.

LIV, for example, offers a dog washing spot and a dedicated area to wash your pups, which is far more manageable than washing in a tub! These schemes fill a gap left by private landlords unwilling to rent to pet owners.

Build-to-rent providers often seek to prioritise building a community where people are happy – with or without pets! There’s a strong chance the build-to-rent market may well be barking up the right tree on this one!

#4 Fitness first

Wellness has hugely influenced build-to-rent, and we’re here for it! Many of these developments act on the principle that buildings and communities that make people feel good (whether through physical health or social bonds) will keep people there.

Since the pandemic and a greater focus on mental health and loneliness, build-to-rent developers have embraced the responsibility to create spaces that support health and wellbeing.

In build-to-rent, it’s not just about making sure there’s an onsite gym but finding ways to help you engage with exercise in a way that suits your lifestyle and schedule. LIV, for example, also offers a yoga studio, fully equipped gym and separate fitness studio spaces. 

#5 The future of coworking – from home

If, like most of us, you dig a little work-from-home flexibility, the facilities offered in build-to-rent buildings set them apart. These can include state-of-the-art coworking spaces. Many build-to-rents provide a set number of coworking hours a week where you can hold meetings or deep work with special workspaces onsite.

Or, if you need more time, you can hire rooms or extra coworking space. Keeping work out of your living space is a great way to go home to your apartment at the end of the day and feel less pressured to focus back on that last-minute email.

#6 Live in a community, not just a building

From a tenant’s perspective, you’ll notice that build-to-rent developers heavily emphasise building community, and there are good reasons for that.

Given the model’s design is based on shared space, you’re more likely to create friendships and form relationships with the people in your building the longer you live there.

Home Apartments prioritises bringing neighbours together through events and programs, networking and various groups and clubs. We’re talking cooking lessons, fitness classes and local area guides, and it’s a massive win if you’re even remotely social and want to make new friends along the way.

Build-to-rent developers pride themselves on creating communities that thrive. It’s a win-win because people tend to stay longer in places where they feel a strong sense of community. That’s not something that they can create only through communal spaces but also through initiatives like building-wide dinner parties, movie room spaces and other community-driven activities. 

#7 The freedom to treat your rental like your own home

If there’s one word that sums up the experience of renting in Australia for many people, it’s ‘compromise’. Painting a wall? A no-no. Applying with a pet in hand can lead to instant application rejection. Then there’s the difficulty of putting up with maintenance and repair issues while you wait for owners to weigh their options (and budgets).

If there was ever a way of living ripe for disruption, it has to be renting. In build-to-rent, you no longer have to jump through hoops to hang a picture frame or paint your rooms a different shade. So long as your rent is paid, you can stay put as long as you want.

So… what’s the catch?

The lack of a rental bond is another plus, but the catch is that the rent on these homes is higher than on similar properties.

So yes, the prices might be high, but it’s worth weighing up the value you get from customer service, onsite maintenance, included appliances and amenities.

Build-to-rent isn’t for everyone – and it won’t be the silver bullet soliton for Australia’s current housing affordability issues.

That said, it does go a long way to widen housing diversity, enhance building standards and create a vision for a better-managed, more secure form of private rental housing—worth a thought.

Rent.com.au

Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.

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