COVID-19 – Rental Market Rebounds in England

This week we saw a lifting of many restrictions in England. One of these was that the property market started back up again with estate agents being one of the first businesses to open following lockdown. 

Here in Scotland that message is to ‘Stay Home’ but could we learn lessons from what will happen in England over the next few weeks?

The last few months have been very difficult for letting agents across the UK with a steep decline in completed tenancy applications but these figures have given property owners hope.  The level of demand is vital to agents and we will have to adapt to a ‘new normal’ when it comes to marketing property to let. It is predicted that over the next few weeks we will see a significant rebound for the market in England once restrictions on moving house are lifted further paving the way for how things could play out here in Scotland.

Many moves are on hold at present so we believe that demand is building up each week. Sales will be hit harder than lettings, as people delay getting their foot onto the property ladder and remain renting instead to see how the market is affected over the next six months.

Talk to us at Newton Letting if you would like advice, whether you’re a tenant seeking a property or a landlord looking to maximise your investment.

The New Normal?

The Government has issued guidance to estate agents, buyers and sellers that more activity should be done online if possible.

The new guideline document states “The process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different given those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of Coronavirus is reduced as far as possible”

This ‘new normal’ will including much of the home seeking and viewing process taken online, including virtual initial viewings. The document also states that “We encourage people to do the majority of their  property searching online … To support this agents may ask home occupiers to conduct virtual viewings.”

In relation to new-build property sales it advises: “Where possible, developers should promote virtual viewings.”

And for conveyancers the guidance says: “Conveyancing should aim to conduct as much of their business remotely as possible.

The rest of the guidance concerns social distancing, surface-cleaning and hand-washing, including agents being requested to avoid  contact with clients showing symptoms or having been advised to self-isolate, appointment viewing systems, stopping open-house viewings, enforcing 2m social distancing between individuals, clients making their own way to appointments, providing hand sanitising facilities and increasing ventilation by keeping all internal doors open during viewings.

See the full guidance.

At Newton Letting we will be undertaking all relevant changes to our business practices to adhere to the new rules that will come into force here in Scotland.

Landlord Emergency Loan Scheme Announced

On May 5th, the Scottish Government revealed details of the PRS Landlord (non-business) COVID-19 Loan Support scheme. It is now open for applications.

The scheme  is open for opened for applications for members of SAL (Scottish Association of Landlords).

This scheme is a repayable loan rather than a grant it will go some way to help those in need and has enabled landlords to access government support. The loan scheme is only open to landlords of five or fewer properties and the loan can be applied for just one property within their portfolio, even where more than one property has a COVID-19 related loss.

The rationale behind this is based on the fact that 95% of Scottish landlords own between one and five properties and that those with more than five properties can spread the risk of non-payment of rent over the larger portfolio and are less likely to require a loan.

This is a welcome first step but SAL believes the scheme should be opened up to help every landlords with portfolios of more than five properties if they are financially dependent on rental income and where their tenants are unable to pay their rent or properties are unable to be let due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Without support, landlords will be forced into difficult decisions on disobeying lockdown guidance over viewings and move ins or losing their business, thus removing essential housing from an already short supply.

SAL continues to make several points to the Scottish Government:

Find out more.