Sugarhouse Properties is a student and young professional focused letting agency based in Leeds. Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, they have successfully managed to adapt and improve their services to create remote and digital solutions for their customers and a range of support services for their tenants.
As a result they have seen demand for their unique style of property management grow which has led to them doubling the size of their existing workforce, and instigating a move to a new, larger, premises with size to accommodate the increased demand. They have now relocated to a bright, modern office (with large shopfront) on Headingley Lane on the way into central Headingley.
As well as a rise in demand for professional house shares and HMO’s (Houses of Multiple Occupancy), there has been a significant increase in demand for high end student lets coupled with a significantly busier summer with students securing places, then looking for accommodation in a post-lockdown world. The increased demand is, in part, due to large numbers of students deferring their university places in 2020 because of the pandemic, but also because standards of student and young professional accommodation have risen, making the move towards independent living more appealing than ever before. The pedigree and range of courses from the different Universities in Leeds also makes the city hugely appealing to prospective new students. Leeds is already seeing a return to the vibrant student social scene, with second year students wanting to make up for missing out last year and creating a “double freshers” in Leeds.
Sugarhouse Properties are trailblazing the Leeds property lettings market by not only offering high-quality lets with bills included, but also launching a concierge style app to help support their tenants. Named Sugar Hive, the web-based app offers concierge-style support for tenants to integrate with the local community and make the most out of their new home. It also offers health and wellbeing support, including tips on how to look after your mental health. The team at Sugarhouse has also partnered with local hospitality and retail outlets to create exclusive offers for those living within their properties, as well as writing guides and signposting information for those new to Leeds.
Speaking about their point of difference within the Leeds property lettings market, Director of Sugarhouse Properties, Richard Napier, says: “Young people are, quite rightly, much more discerning these days and expect higher standards of accommodation and extra support and services in their homes. Not only do we offer properties that have all the mod cons, and are clean and comfortable, but we also offer lifestyle and wellbeing support to tenants through the Sugar Hive App, and try and include all bills in the rental price so there are no hidden costs or headaches.
“We pride ourselves on trying to put responsible landlords in touch with quality tenants as we cater for the ever-increasing demand for multiple occupancy housing within the Leeds area. With three popular universities in the city, and graduates often choosing to stay in Leeds, letting agents need to be thinking bigger picture because many students will stay in the area when they graduate and we love seeing our student tenants turn into professional renters and stay on with us.”
Sugarhouse has long been pioneers of providing fully serviced accommodation with bills included in the majority of their rental properties and have also taken steps to ensure that the energy they supply to each property is green. Since 2016 they have been supplying electricity created by wind farms, sun and sea to their Leeds properties, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions; and at least 15% of their gas supplied is green, with the remainder being carbon neutral. Each year the business pays for three carbon-fighting trees to be planted as part of a carbon offsetting scheme.
Richard continued: “We’re trying hard to make a difference, as a business, to provide great quality housing whilst also ensuring we don’t damage the planet. We are consciously working towards being paper-free by introducing digital signings, virtual viewings and promoting online interactions which all help to reduce our carbon footprint. Sustainable living is becoming ever more important to our tenants, and we feel we have a duty to make sure that we factor this into our business model so we can try and do our bit.
Sugarhouse properties recently partnered with Headingley-based bars Manahatta and Box to offer freshers a free drink to welcome them to the city. They also help organize social events for Leeds newbies so they instantly feel at home.
Richard concluded: “Leeds is such a vibrant city with so much to offer students and young professionals alike. We want all of our tenants to love Leeds as much as we do, so we’re doing everything we can to connect them with great landlords who care, as well as helping them find their feet and learn all of the great things the city, and surrounding areas, have to offer. It’s an exciting time for the property lettings market and we’re delighted to offer those points of difference that help us to better connect with our customers.”