Living Real Estate:
Build to Rent

“At Jo Cowen Architects we strive to foster a sense of community within our BTR developments. Ultimately, beautiful buildings aren’t enough, the culture of any development is essential. It results in early stabilisation, leads to higher retention rates that contribute positively to the financial performance of the development. When people love where and who they live next to, they tend to live there for longer. Design for the Living sectors requires a different approach to market sale developments, its about homes that function as a collective, connected by amenity and service.” Chris Wilkinson

What makes the ideal BTR offering? While every site is unique, there are some key foundational factors that contribute to the success of a project.

The first is location. This is about more than travel connections. A detailed and long-range overview of a site needs to be undertaken to ensure it can absorb population density and sustain a healthy, liveable community. Residents who feel a sense of community, fostered by shared ameneties, communal outdoor space and scaleable living, will rent for longer periods, which again contributes to a sense of belonging and strengthens community ties.

To generate diversity and intergenerational living, we favour a blend of flexible accommodation to suit different budgets and stages of life. Operational performance and efficiency throughout a BTR scheme is one of our guiding principles, based on our commitment to sustainability in all our work, and we find this is welcomed by buyers and residents alike.

Designing Private Rental is about longevity and durability. Long term viable schemes are those whose materials and layouts perform through the buildings life-cycle. Schemes must understand how the operating company will work, and how their ethos will permeate the building. Minor changes to comparative market units will maximize the rental yield, and give flexibility to future users.

Jo Cowen Architects have been analyzing existing and proposed Build to Rent schemes. We want to know what is successful about the existing offering, and where schemes are connecting or missing the needs of the resident.

The rental market is changing.
With more people looking to rent rather than own property, we are challenging the notions of renting.

As architects, we need to work with our clients to understand who their customers are and design for their needs.


Age 18 – 24

The Younger Independents tend to have very little experience in the rental market.

Therefore this makes them very open to various rental options, with no set path of rental journey.With the lowest of salaries, finding a home that meets all the expectations of the individual can be difficult. This resulting in the grouping of individuals between 3 – 7 people house/ flats. Generally flat sharing post University. On the way to finding a job or has already started. Of the estimated 17 million renters in the UK, 70% do not plan on buying property. (The Guardian, Online)


Age 25 – 45

Just over half will rent as a couple.

More experienced in the rental sector with larger income to be able to afford accommodation more to their desire. Have the ability to fully socialize and integrate into clubs, activities, societies. All aided due to the higher salary. At some stage taking on greater responsibilities of having a pet, or child that increasingly reiterates the flexibility that this group require in the BTR sector. For 25-35 year olds earning £22,000-£30,000 p/a, home ownership fell 40% from 20 years ago. (The Guardian, Online)


Age 25 – 45

Potentially with greater salary will be renting somewhere more substantial.

Many would look to purchasing a house or flat relatively soon.

2x number of UK residents renting privately over last
decade. (The Guardian, Online)

22% also said that they are put off by the running costs of maintaining a property and the financial commitment that comes with it. (Direct Line, Online)


Age 45+

Change in circumstance leading to renting.

Half split that rent as a couple and individually.

Majority renting in houses.

Require only key amenities, 43% of over 45’s willing to consider a development targeted at over 50’s.

(LSL – PRSim Doc)


Private retirment living is set to increase by over 50% to £44bn by 2022.

The 65+ population due to increase by 20% over next 10 years.

Attracted to living independantly in their own home with others of similar age in a safe environment designed for retirement living. (Knightfrank, Online)(The Guardian, Online)

22% also said that they are put off by the running costs of maintaining a property and the financial commitment that comes with it. (Direct Line, Online)

With much faster occupation rates, resulting in a critical mass of residents, a sense of community can be achieved much earlier with Build to Rent developments than with Market sale, primarily because construction and sales are usually phased. Public realm, food and beverage and retail amenities at ground level can be activated at an earlier stage and this stimulus help to increase the vibrancy of the area and its appeal to new residents and customers, whilst also providing a source of local employment.

Centralised Services

Security and safety.

A 24-hour welcoming point for all residents. Future-proof drone parcel delivery. Laundry service.

Providing the amenity of undercover bike storage / discounted bike hire.

Smart Homes

Smart Homes Intelligent Technology at the heart of the home. Remote control features through Apple Home / HIVE / NEST. Convenient, eco-friendly and future proofed. Brand app to access Events, maintenance and Home control.

High Quality, Durable Design

Robust apartments built to last, easy to service.
Good design = less maintenance
Professional management for taking care of the Home for you.

BTR: Single Family Housing

BTR: Multifamily Located

BTR: Residents Lounge

BTR: External Amenities

BTR: Residents Gym

BTR: Tech Hub


Rooftop terrace




Cinema/Games Room


Family Friendly


Social Events


Pet Friendly


Residents Lounge


Meditation Room/Yoga


24/7 Security – Concierge


Furniture Package


Extra Storage


Bills Included


Cleaning Service


Instant Move in


Underfloor Heating


No Deposit


24/7 Security – Concierge


Furniture Package


Extra Storage


Bills Included


Cleaning Service


Instant Move in


Underfloor Heating


No Deposit


Co-work space in residents lounges


Private meeting Rooms

To discuss or find out more about how we can work together, please get in touch.

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