With more and more Developers turning their minds to the build-to-rent (BTR) model, the question we keep getting asked is, ‘how can you help?’.
It might seem obvious that the need to appoint an Owners Corporation Manager (OCM) is removed, given there will either be no Owners Corporation, or an Owners Corporation owned entirely by one party, at the end of the project. However, bringing on the specialised expertise of an OCM can help set your BTR project up for success, and ensure it continues to run optimally, long after tenants have settled in.
Generally, an Owners Corporation Manager, or ‘Build to Rent Manager’ in these projects, would act as the representative of the Owner, working alongside the appointed leasing agent, property manager and/or building manager to ensure the building runs smoothly.
So, what are the key areas an OCM can provide support in? And why does it pay to appoint an OCM to your Build to Rent project?
Establishing a realistic budget.
Setting a budget is arguably the most important step to determine the feasibility of your project.
The budget will give you an idea of the costs of running and maintaining the property, allowing you to accurately forecast the rent you will need to charge and set realistic expectations for potential lessees.
With experience establishing and maintaining budgets for all building types, with all types of facilities, a respected Owners Corporation Manager is your best resource to ensure budgets cover all bases and set you up for success.
This is especially important in Build to Rent projects, as there are no Owners to levy fees from in instance of a shortfall, meaning you will bear the brunt of an inaccurate budget.
Reviewing your plans to promote a harmonious community.
One of the key selling points of BTR projects is the ability for tenants to secure long-term leases and build a home for themselves, despite not owning the property.
This is an obvious benefit for tenants, but equally valuable for the building owner who has a secure income stream from that tenant.
Tenants will be encouraged to stay long term if they feel a sense of belonging in the building, and a large part of this is the connections they form with their neighbours.
A feeling of isolation, or on the worse end of the spectrum, feeling unsafe or unhappy within a community may prompt tenants to look elsewhere, regardless of how great the facilities are or how nice the apartment is.
To encourage these connections, careful consideration should be given to the plan; how well it encourages casual interaction between tenants and how inviting or usable the shared spaces will be.
Owners Corporation Managers have studied and interpreted hundreds of Plans of Subdivision and can provide you with the expertise and advice to best set your project up for a harmonious community.
Setting useful and enforceable rules for your project.
Owners Corporations can get a bad rap for the way in which rules must be applied to residents. But these rules are actually designed to promote safety, harmony and equality within the property, acting as a deterrent to bad behaviour and providing a pathway out of disputes.
Rules are just as crucial in a build to rent property, and arguably even more so; residents who are unhappy within their community are more likely to move on, when compared with their more ‘tied down’ counterparts in Build to Sell projects.
Owners Corporation Managers have worked with hundreds of communities, read through countless rules and importantly, had exposure to the sorts of rules that can be difficult to enforce and may end up causing more grievance than good.
Not all rules are written equal, and some, while well-intentioned, may not translate well into the reality of living closely with your neighbours. Appointing an experienced Owners Corporation Manager means you have oversight and input when selecting your rules, meaning the thriving community you are envisioning has a better chance of coming to fruition.
Extensive expertise managing residential properties.
While Owners Corporations can be associated with Commercial and Industrial properties, the vast majority are residential and mixed-use buildings, of all shapes and sizes.
A company like The Knight has over 25 years of experience managing these properties, from those as small as 2 lots or as large and complex as high-rise towers with hundreds of apartments. Most OCMs will even have experience managing housing estates and townhouse developments.
This means that regardless of the size or included facilities within your project, we are intimately familiar with what it takes to run a well-maintained, safe and harmonious building for the benefit of residents.
An Owners Corporation Manager in Build to Rent projects would typically not be dealing with disputes or tenant matters, their client being the building owner not the tenants. However, OCMs have extensive experience in all manner of issues which may arise from living in close quarters and can provide invaluable insight and input to both the building owner and the property manager, should the need arise.
Ongoing support, for all key stakeholders.
The benefits of appointing an OCM, or ‘Build to Rent Manager’ don’t stop there.
Once appointed, we will undertake a full review of information and building requirements and work closely with the building management team preparing for moves-ins and establishing site procedures, handover documentation and information manuals.
Thanks to our vast history of taking on brand new developments from developers, we understand initial management priorities, including defect management, and will review items such as Rules, Leases and Building Management and other contracts.
We will place all required insurances and coordinate associated claims, as well as organise payment of all contractors and oversee all financials for the property.
Plus, thanks to our extensive experience working with hundreds of contractors, across hundreds of sites, we can recommend leading contractors to ensure jobs are done to the highest quality.
In September we took on our first Build to Rent project, Montague Square. It’s been a pleasure working with the team at PDS Group on this project.
Ferrars Street, South Melbourne
18 storey Build to Rent development, 107 Apartments
Have a Build to Rent project coming up? We’d love to chat with you about how we can help.