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Lettings market performance, temporary changes & vouchers for energy-saving

Published: 13/08/2020

The rental market continues its bumper summer as demand surged following the end of the national lockdown, while the Government continues to implement measures to support tenants and landlords alike.

These include temporary changes to procedures when eviction proceedings resume and a temporary reduction to stamp duty. Plus, you could be eligible for up to £5,000 towards energy improvements in your home as part of a new scheme to upgrade more than 600,000 homes.

Demand is huge and it isn’t slowing down. Now is the time to let a property in Norfolk with current properties getting snapped up quickly for excellent rents. Our Dereham office had to remove a property from the market after 9 viewings were booked in one day and a further 8 people had registered interest.

North west Norfolk continues to play host to a more static and local rental demographic where the North Norfolk Coastline is in high demand for families looking for a post lockdown bolt hole, in turn driving up rents. We have also noticed a real shortage of available stock in central market towns like Dereham, which has a very high proportion of long-term renters. So, we urge anyone in this area to contact us and see how much your rental property may be worth.

Please read on for further details and we look forward to supporting you with any of your tenant sourcing, property management or investment purchase requirements.

Our rental market performance over the past month

The UK’s rental market continues to go from strength to strength, with the ‘summer boom’ continuing throughout July. The latest data shows rents up and voids dramatically down, as tenants continue to hunt out new leases following months of lockdown-induced delays.

  • We achieved an average rent of £957
  • Our void periods between tenancies were 5 days on average
  • Our deal turnaround times were 27 days on average
  • On average the tenants we rent to have an income of £28599
  • The average age of our tenants is 50

Temporary changes to procedures when eviction proceedings resume

The Government has made a temporary amendment to Civil Procedure Rules 1998 in order to manage the resumption of possession proceedings when the temporary pause ends on the 23rd August 2020. The temporary amendment makes several changes to the usual process for possession proceedings, including requiring claimants who wish to resume proceedings to “inform the court and defendant in writing of this after the expiry of the stay in a 'reactivation notice'” and acknowledges that the government expects an “increased volume” in possession proceedings. The temporary amendment will apply in England and Wales until 28 March 2021, although the changes may be reviewed before then. Changes include:

  • Claimants will now be required to inform the court and the defendant in writing that they want to resume stayed proceedings after the expiry of the stay.
  • Claimants will also be required to provide any relevant information about the defendant’s circumstances, including information on the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and their dependants, so the court can consider defendants’ vulnerability, disability, and social security position, and those who are “shielding”.
  • Claimants will also need to, as far as practicable, produce the full arrears history of the defendant in advance rather than at the hearing.
  • The court will be allowed to fix a date either on or after issue, so that hearings may be appropriately spread out.
  • The court will also be able to suspend the standard period between issue of a claim form and hearing, which usually would be not more than eight weeks, again to spread out hearings appropriately to ensure that the court has capacity.

Temporary stamp duty cut

The Government announced a temporary cut to stamp duty in the summer statement, meaning that from 8 July 2020, anyone purchasing a property in England and Northern Ireland will find that the threshold for paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) has increased from £125,000 to apply to properties of £500,000 or more, on deals finalised before 31 March 2021. The government estimates that “nearly nine out of ten people buying a main home this year will pay no stamp duty at all.”

 Landlords purchasing buy-to-let properties in England and Northern Ireland can benefit from this temporary change but will still pay the 3% surcharge on properties costing up to £500,000. The potential cost saving from the stamp duty cut may prove tempting for landlords considering entering the rental market or expanding their portfolio - an influx at just the right time to meet the current strong demand in the rental market.
If you require help assessing which property makes an ideal investment, want to talk about locations or want some one to attend a viewing with you or on your behalf to determine the suitability of a potential B2L investment please reach out and we would love to help. We can offer a completely free, no obligation B2L investment call with our Group Operations Manager and Lettings Specialist, Ed Tyman. The call would last approximately 45 minutes and cover, yields, capital growth, location, legislation, what makes a great B2L and a review of any properties you have highlighted. In addition, and at separate agreement we can propose a brief and begin a search for suitable properties on your behalf and report back with everything you need to know


New vouchers for energy-saving measures

The government is doubling down on its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, with an investment of £2bn in England into the “Green Homes Grant”. The government will provide "at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household." Applications are set to open from September.

This means you can make any improvements for a lower cost and attract more climate-conscious tenants and save money in the long run with their energy efficient properties - the government aims for this measure to upgrade over 600,000 homes across England, so households can save “hundreds of pounds per year on their energy bills.”

With the current government direction towards energy conscious society and specifically housing we urge all our managed landlords and non-managed landlords to engage with support available. At Sowerbys we have spent considerable time reviewing our managed portfolio to make sure our landlords adhere the minimum standards and are protected from future anticipated changes.


What do the statistics show?


As always, get in touch with us if you have any questions about these changes - or anything else via lettings@sowerbys.com or 01362 693591.