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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

40% of agents still not fully open and most have staff on furlough

Two thirds of letting agents will still have staff on furlough next month according to a survey of 231 agencies - and 40 per cent of agents are not even fully open.

The findings of a study conducted by the Property Redress Scheme show that 26 per cent of letting agents anticipate they will not have every employee return to work before September. 

This includes 13 per cent who feel they will still have employees on furlough in October.

It is therefore no surprise that the survey shows over 40 per cent of agents are still to open their doors to the public, over a month after the government go-ahead.

“It is not a question of safety” says Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme.

“Over 70 per cent of people we surveyed said they did feel safe to return to work and that their employers would provide PPE. This therefore suggests agents are worried about the market’s ability to bounce back post-COVID-19. Whilst we have seen some encouraging signs of a market recovery, agents clearly feel we are far from out of the woods yet. Many feel the biggest impact will be felt in the medium to long term as companies announced redundancies and unemployment rises.”

He continues: “Perhaps agents are also worried about how they will cope with adjusting to the ‘new normal’. Our survey showed that 75 per cent of agents will be conducting either virtual or a mixture of virtual and physical viewings going forward, but only 20 per cent of agents said they offered virtual viewings pre-COVID-19.“

Hooker says the extension of the evictions ban and the uncertainty of the student market is also weighing heavily on letting agents’ minds.

  • Mark Wilson

    What about the turnover! with rents down 20% to 30% not unreasonable and the number of transactions down 50%, also not out the question, revenue decline 70%. It will be a different industry. No wonder so many are on furlough.

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    Much as I hate (not) to p*ss on your parade, Mark, our rents achieved are not down and are at the same level or higher than pre-lockdown.

    I can only speak for my agency and accept that others may have different experiences but it is not all doom and gloom.

     
  • Angus Shield

    With tenants still at home (on furlough?) and many agency staff and tenants still 'trapped' with childcare due to the schools not yet fully reopened, I can see this going on until at least September.

    Matthew Payne

    And beyond Angus. Next wave will happen, it is a foregone conclusion. If you read all the science bit, cases have been steadily increasing, and in fact there are more carriers out there than in March. As soon as the floodgates are opened on July 4th, only a matter of when not if. Most experts predict the autumn when the weather changes. Just in time for September when normality could have retured as you say.

    Government knows all this of course, but they have to get economy open otherwise there will be no society left anyway. Another 50,000 deaths will be the price for the majority surviving with some economic future.

     
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    @ Matthew
    Why do you think Cornwall Hospitals are refusing leave requests for October?
    I have had my Boris letter telling me I can go out again because the risk is low. Given my health issues catching it would probably be fatal so I shall be staying in. September is very optimistic.

     
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