10 July 2020

Canberra's first build-to-rent apartments filled in just seven weeks

| Sharon Kelley
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From left: Marquee Amaroo tenant Monish, Independent leasing consultant Liz Harvie, Independent property manager Kimberley Nugent, at Marquee Amaroo.

From left: Marquee Amaroo tenant Monish, Independent leasing consultant Liz Harvie, and Independent property manager Kimberley Nugent, at Marquee Amaroo. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra’s first build-to-rent project has filled with tenants in just seven weeks, but hundreds more were disappointed at missing out on an apartment with a rent-free period.

Independent Property Management leasing consultant Liz Harvie says she received more than 150 applications from potential renters for a new home at Empire Global’s Marquee Amaroo. Many of the applicants had no previous rental history and had been looking for a home for months but were unable to find a landlord willing to take a chance on an applicant without a rental history.

One such tenant is Monish, who had been looking for a place to live for four or five weeks in Canberra’s tight rental market when he came across the advertisement for Marquee Amaroo.

“It’s amazing,” he says. “I can’t believe how lucky I am to have a place. I’d been looking for so long; I don’t have any rental history. [The location is] easy to get to work. I’m so happy I have a place of my own.”

Liz worked long hours to fill the building with tenants and manage the administrative process of vetting and selecting potential tenants for the building’s owner.

“There were so many applications,” she says. “They’re all good people who just need a place to live, many without rental history. A lot of the tenants we selected are young people who have guarantors, and it’s their first time out of home.”

From left: Marquee Amaroo tenant Monish, Independent leasing consultant Liz Harvie, Independent property manager Kimberley Nugent, at Marquee Amaroo rooftop area.

From left: Monish, Liz Harvie and Kimberley Nugent at the rooftop barbeque and garden area at Marquee Amaroo. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Independent’s property manager for Marquee, Kimberly Nugent, says new tenants were all appreciative of the offer of four weeks rent-free for signing a one-year lease, and eight weeks rent-free for signing a two-year lease.

“There were a number of people who wanted to sign far longer leases, not for the rent-free period but to have a longer-term lease and security of tenure,” she says. “It is difficult for people to find a place to rent in the Canberra market, particularly those who don’t have a history of renting.”

Monish says Marquee Amaroo has great diversity and he is enjoying the mix of people in the building.

“I love the diversity,” he says. “There are people from many cultures and all ages. I go for a walk in the evening and there are other people out for a walk, or walking their dogs, and it feels safe. It’s a nice neighbourhood.

“I’m so happy I found this place. It’s quiet, the windows are double glazed, you can’t hear a thing. There’s a lot of good shops here and places to eat. It was also easy to move furniture into the building.”

With Aldi due to open on 1 August, there will be even more choice available to residents.

Liz says it was a combination of factors that filled the building in such a short time frame.

“The apartments are well built, have high-quality appliances and spacious liveable layouts,” she says. “They are also well priced, affordable and in a very convenient location.

“It also helps that we have a very streamlined application process which allows a quick turnaround for prospective tenants to get the go-ahead.”

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