What Landlords need to know during COVID-19

Can I get my property valued?
While it is not possible to value properties in person, we can conduct a Virtual Valuation over FaceTime or Zoom and we have successfully launched new properties to the market this way.

Can anyone actually move property at the moment?
At the moment, first and foremost, we can only help ESSENTIAL movers or KEY workers to move home at this time. If there is no essential reason to move, the government advice has been clear, you are advised to ‘stay at home’.  

What is the demand like from Tenants?
There has been a surprising level of enquiries for properties over the COVID-19 period. One thing that is likely to become important to many renters when restrictions ease, is a garden – too many people have been cooped up inside for too long, and enquiries suggest that garden flats will be most sought after.

Can you view a rental property at the moment?
We have been able to showcase homes to potential applicants using video footage made either by the willing tenant or by the checkout clerk. If the property is already vacant, this is even easier. On request we are now showcasing properties to an audience sitting safely in the comfort of their own home using walk through videos viewed on Vimeo, YouTube or WhatsApp. We have also introduced an applicant to a Landlord via Zoom or FaceTime. It depends what works, and for whom. We have now had a number of renters secure a property on the basis of video footage alone and they seem to have been successful.

What will happen when we go back to Normal?
’Normal’ looks like it’s a long way off. Whilst restrictions will ease and tenants may be permitted (under strict C-19 safety protocols) to view a property before making an offer, the fact is that a Virtual Viewings as a ‘first viewing’ may become the norm.  Even if ‘normal’ returns, it make sense for an applicant to take a look at a video tour before rushing away from work to travel to another part of town to view 1 or 2 properties in an evening, only to have to do the same again the next night and again at the weekend. If the virtual tour conveys the property well enough, an actual viewing may not be required at all.

Can my property be properly maintained?
Emergency repairs only are being carried out at the moment. It is ‘essential work’ for a contractor to attend a property (observing our strictest C-19 safety protocols) to repair a boiler, a leaking pipe or a serious electrical problem. If the issue is not urgent, it has been ‘wait-listed’ for attention as soon as it is safely possible to do so.

Are tenants struggling to pay their rents?
Among the near-300 properties that we currently manage, we have had only 3 applications from tenants to arrange a short-term reduction in rent with the shortfall to be repaid over the medium term. In each case the arrangement has been satisfactory to both landlord and tenant. The government’s strategy of furloughing, seems to have provided sufficient support for the vast majority of circumstances.