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Guest Blog: Making the Rent Model Fit for Purpose

By Tom Ward, founder and global chief executive officer at Scape

The home plays a central role in our lives – it’s where we relax, spend time with family and friends, work and have the freedom to simply be ourselves. Yet, the existing rental model is not fit for purpose.

From lack of security for the tenant, to poor living conditions from more unscrupulous landlords, a lack of control and the hassle of managing bills, all these elements are taking their toll, contributing to stress and emotional pain for ‘Generation Rent’. Scape believes renters shouldn’t have to compromise on their quality of living. The rental model needs to change.

In these unprecedented times, it has become increasingly difficult for people to live well in our cities. Housing insecurity – including unaffordability, short and unstable tenancies, and overcrowding – and poor living conditions can have a detrimental impact on people’s wellbeing. Research published by the National Housing Federation, carried out in June 2020, indicated that 31 per cent of adults in the UK had experienced mental or physical health problems linked to the lack of space in their home or its condition during lockdown. As we start to adapt to a world in the aftermath of the pandemic, changes need to be made to ensure people can rent good quality rental accommodation that enables them to live well.

Over the years, we’ve seen that the traditional rental model isn’t giving people the security, flexibility and protection that is required from our unpredictable and ever-changing lifestyles. With the traditional rental model, in most cases tenants commit to fixed long-term tenancy agreements and can risk eviction from their home with little notice by the landlord.

We know that people’s situations and needs can change and it’s essential that the current archaic and unfair rental model changes to meet renter’s needs. Renters need further security and flexibility when it comes to making changes to their living arrangements if they so need. At Scape we make the process of renting much easier, allowing for greater freedom for our residents through offering short-term rolling agreements. This ensures that our residents can move quickly if they so wish or alternatively stay with us for as long as they’d like.

With our Living by Scape proposition, we’re looking to turn the traditional dynamic of the landlord and tenant on its head. We want our residences to have ownership over and dictate the service and living conditions that they are provided with – in a way that traditional flat shares or house shares fail to do.

Scape offers thoughtful, quality service. More than just bricks and mortar accommodation we provide services that cater to the needs of our residents, supporting them and helping them to live well. All our services have been curated to remove the stresses from city living and enable the resident to choose and personalise their set-up to suit their own lifestyle.

Whether a student or professional, we believe people shouldn’t have to compromise on quality living and it’s this belief that Scape was born from.

For years, people have had to put up with badly designed flat or house shares. In June 2020, polling carried out for Shelter indicated that 31 per cent of adult private renters were feeling more depressed and anxious about their housing situation. Their lack of facilities and everyday essentials mean that people may have had to face issues such as sharing a low-pressure shower with others before they head to work in the morning, as well as suffer with poor ventilation, insulation, heating and lack of maintenance. Such essential things can cause people to struggle to live well in our cities.

At Scape we take a design-led approach to multi occupancy living. We have created a unique living proposition for those that make the city tick. By working with some of the world’s leading designers including award winning architect Ab Rogers, we have carefully designed each studio apartment to give our residents everything they need behind their own front door. Our intelligent design means we’ve created spaces with comfort and wellbeing at their core.

Attention and care have gone into each part of the property. Built from the inside out, Scape incorporates features such as fitness studios, cinemas, co-working zones, and family style kitchens by cleverly maximising space.

By conducting research with UK adults (aged 20 – 45), we found that 24/7 security (50 per cent), household bills included in the single flat fee (47 per cent), high speed internet access and Wi-Fi (46 per cent), as well as repair and maintenance included (46 per cent) are important factors when it comes to choosing somewhere to live within the city.

To make life easy for residents Scape offers everything in one monthly fee. This includes essentials such as weekly cleans, superfast Wifi and 24/7 security, making it as hassle-free for our residents as possible. There are also thoughtful little extras that make a space a home, including grocery deliveries, Sonos speakers and beautiful furnishings.

We want to provide the opportunity for people to live in parts of the city that have previously not been possible without compromising on good quality living. This is why at Scape; we have created a new way for people to live well in urban areas. By challenging the traditional rental model that is no longer fit for purpose, our aim is to offer city-dwellers a new way of living that they deserve.