The changing face of the Private Rental Sector

The Private Rental Sector (PRS) is a classification of housing tenure that until recently has been provided by private landlords. The build to rent market has primarily been dominated by councils and affordable housing providers, and mostly consisted of simple and robust value for money homes for low income families.

Following the growth seen in the purpose built student accommodation sector and the difficulty experienced by first time buyers trying to get onto the housing ladder, private equity investors have started to inject personality in the private rented market and fund developments of residential dwellings to attract graduates and young professionals.

In most cases, these purpose built PRS developments are designed to high specifications, with equal sized bedrooms complete with en-suite bathrooms, to accommodate sharers (HMO’s) and lifestyle elements to help create a community within the building. Developments may be provided with facilities such as onsite gyms, cinema rooms and communal lounge and dining areas. 

The business model typically sees residents pay a fixed monthly rent with all services including utilities, wifi and maintenance, and in some cases cleaning, all included.

With this type of business model maximising sustainability and minimising maintenance and running costs are crucial in ensuring the PRS operator is able to provide the level of customer service required with minimal operational costs, whilst maximising asset value.

calfordseaden has vast experience of working with residential developers to create high quality, sustainable housing and is currently providing mechanical and electrical (M&E) and, sustainability advice in addition to employer's agent, clerk of works and principal designer services on several PRS schemes across London, Brighton and Edinburgh. 

M&E and sustainability services currently being provided include:

  • Pre-planning advice on space utilisation; working with architects to develop the M&E services strategy to maximise rental area and ensure building can be easily maintained post completion
  • Production of the development energy strategy to meet the planning policy requirements of local authorities
  • Development of client brief and production of specifications and design drawings
  • Regular onsite quality inspections to ensure installation meets required quality standards
  • Witnessing and commissioning of the building services to ensure correct and efficient operation of the building plant

For more information please contact Craig Hattley, Partner, on 020 7940 3200 or

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