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We take a tour of the UK’s tallest rental building

Up and up: UNCLE’s rental block in Elephant & Castle. Below: A flat interior

THE name ‘UNCLE’ is announced loud and clear in large letters across the front of the 45-storey tower — the UK’s tallest rental apartment block.

It’s a theme that continues throughout this newly completed building of 279 upmarket one and two-bed apartments, together with a new and very different approach to renting in the capital.

The Canadian company has built its reputation — and the brand name — on the idea that tenants deserve better service and higher-quality apartments than most renters usually get.

It manages each of the four properties it owns in the UK and each one has its own live-in management to ensure everything goes without a hitch. ‘The idea is that UNCLE is like your favourite uncle who always has your back,’ says Ryan Prince, founder and CEO of the company.

‘We want to take the “lord” attitude out of the word “landlord”. We hate how landlords make and break promises. If in the first two weeks a resident decides the apartment isn’t for them, they’re even allowed to tear up the contract.’

It’s an unusual approach. But what exactly does this building in Elephant & Castle, which opened in December, deliver?

Undoubtedly, its star turn is the communal Sky Lounge on the 45th floor, with its extraordinary birds’ eye view across London. The entire floor is an extensive leisure area that’s open to all its residents. There’s a bar area, a fully-fitted kitchen, an elegant dining room, a designer lounge area and a work space.

With its colourful pouffes and expansive sofas, not to mention its designer lighting, it must be one of the coolest communal leisure areas in London, and can hold 65 people. One couple has even booked it for their engagement party later this month.

The whole place screams designer chic and for a reason. The architects were Rogers Stirk Harbour, the communal areas were designed by the award-winning Staffan Tollgard, while the flats themselves are furnished by made.com.

Its minimalist grey and steel foyer, with lightweight industrial-style lighting and a reception desk, has the air of a Manhattan hotel and there are amenities to match.

There’s a large, first-floor gym, and the building manager won’t just sort out repairs but also manages deliveries while tenants are at work.

There are no agents’ fees, viewings can be held at night, acknowledging the fact that most tenants will be working, and you can even ‘sleep around’ — swapping apartments after six months to move from one side of the building to the other to get a new view of London.

The apartments are all generously sized (ranging from 570sq ft for a one bed to 871sq ft for a large two-bed, with all two beds having two bathrooms) and all have incredible views from their balconies.

Top of the world: The communal Sky Lounge area at UNCLE Elephant & Castle

Most bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows to give the same amazing views (fitted with blackout blinds for bed time).

Kitchens come with Siemens built-in appliances and each flat is hardwired with hyperoptic internet.

With prices starting from £1,800pcm it’s not cheap. But when you consider that renting a room in a good London area for one person will cost around £900pcm, it’s a viable option — and very good value for professional couples.

There are already 35 residents and 70 further reservations have been made for apartments. Most residents are in the 25-35 age group, and all are professionals. For Generation Rent, this concept of ‘no hassle’ renting is a clever one.

If more developers follow suit, UNCLE may just live up to its promise to change the face of the rental business in London.

uncle.co.uk

Launch Pad

Manhattan Plaza, Poplar, E14

Telford Homes launches Manhattan Plaza’s most expansive 21st floor penthouse today. Spanning 951sq ft, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, private terrace, spacious living and dining areas and views across the City. The building takes inspiration from the warehouse buildings of New York’s Meatpacking District and residents benefit from a landscaped piazza and two roof gardens. Penthouse show apartment, £897,500, manhattanplaza.co.uk

North West Four, Hendon, NW4

A short walk from Hendon Central station, North West Four is a collection of 18 two and three-bedroom apartments, including two penthouses. A private gated development, it features communal gardens, secure underground parking and bike storage. From £675,000, stonerealestate.co.uk

York Lane, Mitcham, CR4

Crown Homes has launched 14 individually designed three/four-bedroom homes, with a show house now open. Contemporary in style, features include full-height double glazing, oak wood flooring and zone-controlled underfloor heating. Each property comes with parking. Prices from £550,000, barnardmarcus.co.uk