Landlords, tenants, and their estate agencies; as well as construction firms, startups, and contractors that serve the real estate industry are all affected by COVID-19, in the UK and globally. As a young PropTech startup, we at Kiko believe that everyone benefits from a well informed community, especially in tough, rapidly changing times.
We created this discussion as a source of information and analysis for you, tenants and landlords; but also to hear from you. Do you think governments and firms are doing enough to combat the crisis? What worries you the most, and where do you see opportunities emerging after the crisis?
We included a comprehensive catch-up of what has happened in the industry so far, and we will be keeping this thread updated with news and our analyses.
What's happening to tenants? 💁♀️
What's happening to landlords... 👨👨👦
...and to regulations for landlords? 👨⚖️
- Despite some calls for delay, electrical safety certificates will still become obligatory with May 2020, leading to some concern on how they will be obtained; since many contractors are currently not taking meetings.
- Energy Performance Certificate requirements remain in place; and official advise is that for properties without an en where it is currently impossible to obtain, the rental should be postponed until obtaining an EPC is possible.
How have firms responded? 👷♀️
- In person meetings have been banned; be they property viewings, valuations, or agent meetings for new instructions. Some notable industry players, including lettings agencies Knight Frank and Purple Bricks, have switched their focus from physical meetings to virtual viewings. Ad portals like Rightmove and Movebubble have suggested their member agencies adopt similar measures and serve clients virtually.
- Construction of most new purpose-built student accommodation is halting, as the sector anticipates a 'severe impact'.
- Rightmove, Zoopla, and Goodlord are among ad portals to decrease, delay, or restructure their member fees; as portals look to ease the impact of the crisis on estate agents suffering from lost revenue.
- Airbnb has pledged $250m to cover part of hosts' cancellation costs, and now allows hosts to set own cancellation policies; in a U-turn after previously demanding hosts fully refund all current cancellations from travellers.
And what's going on with property sales? 💼
- The sales market has received a stark appraisal, being called in a 'deep freeze' or 'suspended animation' with Land Registry strict requirements for documents signed in original and surveyors not visiting properties contributing to an over 90% drop in sales compared to last year.
- Sale prices are projected to fall between 3% and 20%. It's worth noting that rent prices have so far not seen such grim forecasts, and the lettings market is generally expected to be less affected than the sales market.