The rental market is to remain open during the new month-long lockdown due to start on Thursday 10th November 2020, housing secretary Robert Jenrick revealed over the weekend. This has come as a huge relief to many and if I'm totally honest, a bit of a surprise to me.
The announcement was made during a slew of social media posts by the politician including that renters will be able to move, removal firms and letting agents can continue to do their jobs and that property maintenance and repair contractors will be able to enter properties.
This is great news, as landlords and tenants can keep properties 'fit for purpose' over the most harsh months of the year. No one wants a burst water pipe or broken boiler left to fester.
Also, tenants and landlords will be able to conduct home moves regardless of whether they have been agreed before or after the start of the lockdown, in effect enabling an unfettered private rental market, albeit under strict Covid health and safety rules.
This is definitely music to our student landlords ears, the show will certainly go on and those student lets secured - keeping our valued landlords in business - after what can be described as a very difficult and challenging year.
The official guidance on moving home has not been changed this morning and therefore viewings of rented properties will be allowed.
This suggests that the government has learned from its lessons during the first lockdown, when all house moves were halted. Ministers have since said that home moves are too important a part of the economy to be restricted.
“Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, says “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this second lockdown period, and it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance.
Landlords can heave a sigh of relief for two other reasons. Both the ‘mortgage holiday’ and the furlough schemes (which was due to end today) are to be extended for the duration of the new lockdown and in the case of the mortgage holiday for new applicants, for a further six months.
“It’s worth reminding ourselves that this isn’t quite the ‘holiday’ that everyone thinks it is – it’s not a freebie, payment is deferred but still due, often to the detriment of obtaining future credit,” says Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA (left).