The Acorn Group is letting and managing the first ‘London Living Rent’ housing scheme.
The build-to-rent scheme, in Beckenham, was visited by London mayor Sadiq Khan as the first tenants moved in.
The new London Living Rent scheme helps people save for a deposit by offering below-market rents at up to 30% discounts.
Acorn is managing the County House scheme on behalf of build-to-rent developer Hyde.
Paul Deveney, a main board director of Acorn where he heads up its lettings business, said the scheme has already proved to be a major success, with over 90% of the units let within a six-week period.
Deveney said that while a number of agents appeared disinterested in build-to-rent schemes, Acorn is continuing to find them a real business opportunity.
Of 5,000 private rental properties under management by Acorn, about 1,500 are build-to-rent, with others about to come on stream in Croydon and Deptford.
He said: “We took a positive decision to become involved in the market in 2012. We spotted the opportunity and aimed to become the ‘go to’ agent for build-to-rent developers.”
The firm operates across London and Kent, but Deveney said that Acorn’s expertise in build-to-rent has enabled it to expand its geographical reach: “For example, we now look after schemes in Bracknell and Basildon.”
The homes, including those in the new Living Rent scheme, are all marketed in the usual way, including on Rightmove.
Earlier this year year, Acorn was named as the highest placed managing agent in a league table for ‘build to rent’ developments in London.
The Molior report placed Acorn third overall, behind build-to-rent specialists Get Living London, and housing associations London & Quadrant.
Many build-to-rent specialists handle their own lets and property management, but Deveney insisted that the opportunity is there for agents.
So, should other agents take more of an interest in the sector? “Not really,” he joked. “Just leave it to us.”