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The lockdown anniversary marks a year of challenges for landlords

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

29 March 2021

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It’s been more than one year since the first lockdown was introduced on 23 March 2020. Since that time, landlords have experienced some highs and lows within the rental market.

These include a brief closure of the property market with people unable to move except for in the most essential circumstances.

Record levels of rent

There have also been some positives with record levels of renting taking place at the end of last year.

Goodlord, a property tech company, analysed its data to suggest that 27 December was the busiest winter day for lettings, when the volume of new lets rose 207 per cent compared to the average day in 2019.

The company processes more than 20,000 tenancies each month, with its technology supporting the activities of hundreds of letting agents.

Spring 2020

With the first lockdown having only just begun, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the slowest day for rentals last year followed shortly after, on 13 April, according to Goodlord.

The coronavirus pandemic and first lockdown saw the housing market forced to close temporarily. And emergency legislation banning tenant evictions during the coronavirus outbreak was passed.

However, there was some positive news when the housing market reopened in May, with some safety guidelines in place – including social distancing.

Summer 2020

The ban on tenant evictions continued to be extended throughout the year and remains in place to today.

Landlords are still able to serve notice of eviction, even though tenants cannot legally be evicted. However, these eviction notices are now with a new six-month notice period.

Autumn 2020

By the autumn of last year, calls intensified for the government to help tenants in England pay their rent.

Despite the support of furlough, the coronavirus pandemic was seeing hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs.

It left many tenants unable to afford their rent, with the government already having put in place some measures to protect them – such as the ban on evictions.

Winter 2020 and spring 2021

The new year saw the pressure of plugging the financial hole created by supporting the economy during Covid weigh heavily on the Chancellor.

Rishi Sunak was expected to raise taxes in the Budget and there was speculation that landlords could be hit with a rise in rates on capital gains tax. This failed to materialise.

The Chancellor also extended the stamp duty holiday to the end of June. Until then, the stamp duty holiday will continue to apply to the first £500,000 of a home’s purchase price.

It will then taper off, applying to the first £250,000 until the end of September, before returning to £125,000 at the beginning of October.

These changes apply to all property purchases, although landlords still have to pay the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge.

How are you feeling about the future? Let us know in the comments.

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