How to Specify the Right Kitchen for Your PRS Scheme

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Nationally, around 20 per cent of homes are now privately rented, with that figure rising to 30 per cent in London and set to rocket over the next few years.

It’s a phenomenon that has not gone unrecognised by developers and investors.  The private rental sector (PRS) attracted £2.4 billion in investment in 2017 and that figure is predicted to grow by 180 per cent over the next six years. With households in private rented accommodation predicted to equal the number of mortgaged owner-occupied properties by 2022, it’s time to consider how growth in the sector will affect specification of key elements like kitchens.

The trend towards a greater emphasis on privately rented homes and developments constructed specifically for renters rather than owner-occupiers means that kitchen specification must consider a much broader demographic. Many city apartments will continue to offer a pied à terre for single professionals or couples, but, equally, developments are beginning to include a wider mix of larger apartments that are ideal as family homes.

Moreover, this increased emphasis on renting rather than buying reflects a long-term cultural shift.  Increasingly, renting is no longer seen as a stepping stone to eventual home ownership but as a life-long lifestyle choice. It puts the UK in line with other European countries, such as Germany, where renting in the city is the norm.

So what do PRS developers need to consider when specifying a kitchen for their projects?

Firstly, for a PRS project you are not selecting a kitchen to appeal to the tastes of buyers but to enhance the rentability and potential return of the property while keeping maintenance, repair and replacement to a minimum. Consequently, the usual advice about tailoring the spec to the taste of local buyers is not valid, as investors are unlikely to be local and renters are unlikely to fit the same demographic as home buyers.

A neutral, timeless aesthetic is key, with finishes that are made to last and a look that will enable tenants to accessorise and make the place their home, without altering the blank canvas for the next occupier.

There are a number of things you can stipulate in the spec to aid extended service life and low maintenance, including handless drawers and anti-marking surfaces that will prevent unsightly finger prints.

It’s worth remembering too that, unlike the buy-to-live market, the buyers for PRS properties may purchase more than one unit, so it’s essential to provide consistency across different unit types and sizes.  Your contract kitchen specialist should be able to provide you with a scalable approach that enables you to retain the same look and feel across the whole development.

Finally, remember that quality counts. To achieve maximum rental returns, investors need to see that the kitchen will appeal to affluent renters, so it’s unwise to cut corners. Integrated appliances, a utility cupboard in the hall and quality worktops are all part of creating that high end appeal that will ensure investors want to buy because their yields are guaranteed.

Felix Clarke