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Rental sector abandons short-lets as virus kills off tourist business

There’s been a sharp drop in rental churn since the Coronavirus outbreak worsened according to a flat-sharing website.

SpareRoom says that across the UK there was a 20 per cent drop in people looking for rooms over the week to last Monday, March 16.

However, despite London being regarded as three weeks ‘worse’ in terms of virus cases than the rest of the country, churn there remains higher with a fall of only 15 per cent. 


In response, landlords are trying to shift from Airbnb-style short lets - which have seen catastrophic falls in activity in the past fortnight - to traditional long-term lets.

SpareRoom says that with the rising concern about face to face contact there has been a rise in video calls, both to discuss properties and to view them ‘virtually’.

Although it’s still early days, we’re seeing some interesting shifts in behaviour on both sides. Following widespread cancellations, we’re seeing both landlords and homeowners moving from short term rents to looking for longer term security” says Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director.

Tenants are getting creative by using video calls to hold virtual viewings and interviews. The people you live with make a far bigger difference to you than the property itself, and video calls are a great way to get that all important first impression before deciding to go and see a property. It also minimises the need for travel and social contact so it’s a win-win.” 

  • Sarah Crozier

    I, landlord cant get into my property due to tenants' self isolation. Cant do repairs, maintenance or viewings and I've no tenants lined up from August.

    Matthew Payne

    Hi Sarah, make sure your attempts to gain access and their rebuffs are in writing esp on maintenance, you may need to rely on them at later date. I would put all comms in writing at least by whatsapp even on basic stuff as it shows a pattern of comms. We are in unprecedented times and you want to make sure you can demonstrate you have done everything by the book.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Agreed Mathew, - Recording communications with Tenants is always Good advice.

    At the time you record it, you may not know the significance of having that record until many months or even years later, when having it can either save, or Not having - sink you.

  • Sarah Crozier

    Oh God is that for the Council? They are horrendous arent they?

  • Sarah Crozier

    I didnt go in last time as one of them said she had symptoms. She sent me a text later to explain so I could take a pic of that. I wondered if you are available to talk on the phone with as I dont know any other landlords and I have some issues with the Council.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Of course Sarah, contact me via my web site and we can arrange.

  • Sarah Crozier

    What is your website address


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