UK property: Rents plunge as tenants demand lower fees – COVID-19 flips control of market

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RENTS across London have plummeted as tenants are demanding lower monthly rates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the outbreak of the deadly virus, some tenants across the country were given rent-free accommodation up until June 25 as millions of people lost their jobs in wake of the crisis. But landlords are facing ongoing issues.

Since the property market was reopened, there has been a decrease in demand for properties despite supply levels increasing.

In the capital, average rents have seen a sharp decrease since the start of the crisis.

According to the Telegraph, prices fells by 8.4 percent between March and the end of May when lockdown restrictions eased.

Compared to this time last year, rents are down reportedly down by 3.4 percent, analysis from property firm LonRes revealed.

As millions of people have been forced to work from home during the lockdown conditions, many Britons have left the capital and swapped it for rural locations where rents are considerably cheaper.

Experts in the property industry predicted a surge in activity after claims demand was building during the lockdown period.

Marcus Dixon, of LonRes, hopes there will be an extra interest from tenants otherwise there could be more declines.

He said: “New lets agreed over the course of lockdown fell by more than two thirds.

“Looking ahead landlords will be hoping that pent-up demand from tenants will be enough to absorb increased levels of stock currently on the market, if not we could see some further downward pressure on rents in the coming weeks.”

Earlier this month, new rules regarding deposits and fees were established which could fine landlords who are in breach.

Since June 2019, property owners and letting agents in England have been banned from charge tenants fees for signing rental agreements.

Rules allowed landlords to continue charging exit fees.

But as of June 1, the system landlords used to charge tenants has been closed as a ban on all tenant fees comes into effect.

Landlords will face large fines if they fail to adhere to the new rules.

Tenants will be able to reclaim their money through the court and landlords could risk being fined £5,000 for the first offence.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the UK government announced all evictions would be blocked until June 25.

As the date looms closer, tenants are calling for the government to extend this scheme until later in the year as millions of people are still unable to work.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick, previously outlined new plans for the construction industry to get sites running and Britons back to work.

The Housing Secretary said he would allow start and finish times to be extended to 9pm, Monday to Saturday to make it easier for workers to observe social distancing rules.

He also thanked Taylor Wimpey for taking a majority of its staff off the furlough scheme and said their homes will offer a five percent discount to NHS staff and care workers.

But MPs shared concerns about safety after the Housing Secretary declared the home-selling sector is “back in business”.

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