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Graham Awards


Top lettings agency to shed jobs with new online platform at risk

One of the country’s largest lettings agencies is to lose 17 jobs out of 100 in what the company founder calls “the most horrific" circumstances he has experienced in 40 years of business.

DJ Alexander, based in Edinburgh, says it’s to shed those jobs at the end of the government’s furlough operation, part of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, David Alexander says: “This is the most horrific thing I have gone through in my four decades. The 2008 crash was a tea party compared to this.”


Alexander says Coronavirus came on to an an influx of Airbnb properties in and around the Scottish capital - because they are not letting to tourists, they are likely to lead to a surplus of long-term rental supply, which he believes will lead to a reduction in rents.

“The Airbnb market has collapsed and more people are putting those properties on the long term market which makes the problem even bigger.

“You have a vast number of empty units, there are thousands of properties available and rents are about supply and demand and if you were looking at renting something to day, would you be offering £1,000 if the landlord was asking for it?

“My own thought is that there will be a substantial drop in rents and the Airbnb situation has exacerbated that.”

Near the end of last year DJ Alexander received £7m from Santander to help launch their new online property business Apropos - although that apparently launched last week, the Edinburgh Evening News says this online platform “may be a casualty.”

Alexander is quoted as saying about Apropos: “We were three years in the making and just at the time we were ready to go, the whole country is in lockdown. It is not ideal but we have just got to get on with it. We have to make sure people are safe but it will come to an end. The real difficulty is not knowing how it will end and how things will look in the future.”

Poll: Will the lettings industry lose more jobs over the rest of this year?


  • Mark Wilson

    I fear this will only be the start.

  • icon
    • 19 May 2020 08:14 AM

    Simply too many LA/EA for the market.
    A drastic culling needs to occur.
    Those left standing will be more financially resilient and better able to cope with ebbs and flows in the market.

    Quite simply there will be a substantial reduction in the workforce.
    Necessity being the mother of invention will see those who are able to adapt to new market paradigms will survive.

  • icon

    Should have fought harder to keep fees! Tories would have folded if enough pressure was or is reapplied Agents need fees to run and bows the time to fight for them, capped of course!


    Then why do agents not recieve appropriate fees from the the landlords that they are employeed by and provide the services for. Maybe letting agent fees should be capped at minimum 25% of rent. Agents get sufficient funds to manage properties properly, tenants get better managed properties and landlord no longer get a cash cow. If that isn't viable as a landlord then sell up and readdress the supply and demand balance mentioned to help more renters into ownership.

  • icon
    • 19 May 2020 12:38 PM

    LL owning property doesn't prevent anyone from buying.
    You are propagating false propaganda.

    LL generally pay less for property than OO.
    If an aspirational OO fails to show up that is not the fault of the LL.

    There is plenty of property supply but aspirational OO refuse to bid for them.
    So LL buy them.
    It is a free market for anyone to enter.
    It is in fact more the case that millions of people DON'T want to or can't afford to buy.
    LL don't create the market.
    They react to it and buy accordingly.


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