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‘Renting is a people business’

Renting as a service is becoming the norm across countries and across generations in Europe, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Cradle to Grave Rental Solutions – Urban Being – The Future of City Living Investment Briefing, which was held in Amsterdam recently.

‘Landlords can no longer just hand over the keys but they have to provide services, and different age groups will have very diverse requirements,’ said Jaap van der Bijl, CEO, Altera Vastgoed. ‘The residential sector is not about bricks and mortar, it is a people business’.

Gert-Wim Bos, Directorm COD, Hein van der Meer,Partner, CMS, Dimphy Van Wijk,Head of Real Estate Benelux, The Student Hotel, Marcos Drummond, Sales Director, VIC Propertiesm, Clare Thomas, Partner, CMS and Jaap van der Bijl, CEO, Altera Vastgoed NV discuss the future of Urban Residential Investment, with particular emphasis on the Netherlands market. Filmed at the Urban Living Investment Briefing, Amsterdam, September 2019 by Real Asset Media

Landlords now have to see their tenants as customers, clients or consumers, meet their requirements and really engage with them. 

‘Space is now a service,’ said Clare Thomas, Partner, CMS. ‘Landlords used to think they were just providing bricks and mortar and didn’t really have to think about how the space was used, but now they accept that they have to become more operationally involved’.

The UK is ‘a bit behind on this’, she said, but ‘where we are really seeing growth is where you have landlords focused on what occupiers want from the space’. 

In the Netherlands ‘consumers are digital nomads, much more sophisticated, knowledgeable and demanding than they used to be,’ said Dimphy van Wijk, Head of Real Estate Benelux, The Student Hotel. 

Their needs have to reflected in the design and the running of the space, she said: ‘It is not just about Wi-Fi but also about providing huge communal open spaces and a programme of events for everyone’.

These changes are having an impact in Southern Europe as well. ‘It is essential to curate the development and create a sense of place when building in Portugal,’ said Marcos Drummond, Sales Director, VIC Properties. ‘Here the rental market was frozen for 60 years, but then it went from the freezer straight to the microwave’. 

In the last two years looser regulations and sky-rocketing demand have really changed the landscape, he said, and more professional landlords are needed. 

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