There can’t be many Londoners who love the cosy feel of a tightly packed tube train on a Monday morning in the middle of summer. Unfortunately commuting to work on public transport is one of the bugbears we must put up with if we wish to live in this vibrant but busy city.
Or is it? Thankfully, there are alternatives to public transport. Driving to work is one option but it is stressful, slow and parking spaces are like the proverbiale gold dust. Cycling, on the other hand, presents multiple benefits without any of the hassle factor. The popularity of cycling continues to rise and it’s not just due to the success of Jason Kenny, Laura Trott and the rest of the Great Britain cycling team at the Rio Olympics, although this clearly has had a knock-on effect. It’s also because cycling is cheap, reliable and keeps you fit.
The launch of the first of TfL’s (Transport for London) new Quietway cycle routes, from Greenwich to Waterloo, is also attracting plenty of interest; encouraging more people to take to two wheels rather than four. Quietways are a network of safe, peaceful cycle paths that run through backstreets, parks and canal and riverside paths, linking the suburbs to central London. The first seven Quietways link 15 London boroughs but the network will eventually extend across all 32 boroughs.
This is already influencing how Londoners choose to get to work – in fact, cycling is so rapidly growing in popularity that TfL predicts that by 2018, the number of those cycling to work will exceed the number of Londoners travelling to work by car.
Clearly, cycling is becoming increasingly common, both for those who cycle in their spare time and for those who cycle to work, typically young professionals. Many of these bikes cost hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, so security is a priority.
This has implications for landlords. We’ve previously talked in our Advice Clinic blog about whether landlords should provide parking spaces for tenants. But perhaps the question we should be asking now is whether landlords need to provide secure storage facilities for tenants’ bikes to meet the changing needs of London’s renters.
Luckily, many property developers are ahead of the curve and already provide secure bike storage facilities at their residential developments.
In West London, Fulham Reach, Dickens Yard, Kew Bridge and Kew Bridge West each have secure storage cages in their underground car parks which are accessed by the same fob that residents use to access their apartment building.
In these leafy areas of West London, we find that around 20% of applicants ask about bike storage during a viewing. But we find that once tenants have moved in, the availability of storage often prompts them to start using a bike, perhaps for the first time in years. Often, it is young professionals who wish to cycle to work but many parents whose children have bikes will also ask for storage.
Over in Canary Wharf, the provision of cycle storage has gone a stage further and, not only do all developments have bicycle storage, but planning permission for new developments now stipulates that cycling facilities must be provided. This is usually a secure storage cage in the development’s underground car park, accessed by a key pad or entry fob.
Cycling to work is becoming a part of the Canary Wharf lifestyle and we have seen a 30% increase in demand for cycling storage over the last 18 months.
In Wapping Riverside and London Dock, both developments offer locker-controlled cycle storage facilities for residents to give them peace of mind when storing their bicycles away.
Cycle bays are probably the next most common type of storage space and developments such as Surrey Quays, Maple Quays, Kidbrooke Village and Royal Arsenal Riverside all have cycle bays in or near their car parks.
And cycling to work isn’t just the preserve of areas on the fringes of central London; our Hyde Park office often receives requests for bike storage and new developments such as Merchant Square and West End Quay have cycle bays in their underground car parks to meet this need.
Increasingly, we are finding that tenants will ask about the cycle storage facilities available at a development before they decide to take a rental property. It’s another of the boxes they expect a rental apartment to tick.
Most new residential developments and period blocks tend to frown on residents wheeling their bikes through communal areas and up to their apartments. It can damage paintwork and make the area much harder to keep clean. Storing bikes on balconies is also a no-no. We advise that landlords should check what provision is available and make sure they have access to storage as it will be a good ‘selling point’ for prospective tenants.
If you would like to find out more about what today’s tenants expect from their rental property – and make sure your rental property fits the bill do contact us now.
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