The rental market is to remain open during the new month-long lockdown due to start on Thursday, housing secretary Robert Jenrick revealed over the weekend.

The announcement was made during a slew of social media posts by the politician including that renters will be able to move, removal firms and letting agents can continue to do their jobs and that property maintenance and repair contractors will be able to enter properties.

Also, tenants and landlords will be able to conduct home moves regardless of whether they have been agreed before or after the start of the lockdown, in effect enabling an unfettered private rental market, albeit under strict Covid health and safety rules.

The official guidance on moving home has not been changed this morning and therefore viewings of rented properties will be allowed.

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Lesson learned

This suggests that the government has learned from its lessons during the first lockdown, when all house moves were halted. Ministers have since said that home moves are too important a part of the economy to be restricted.

“Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, says “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this second lockdown period, and it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance.

Landlords can heave a sigh of relief for two other reasons. Both the ‘mortgage holiday’ and the furlough schemes (which was due to end today) are to be extended for the duration of the new lockdown and in the case of the mortgage holiday for new applicants, for a further six months.

furlough

“It’s worth reminding ourselves that this isn’t quite the ‘holiday’ that everyone thinks it is – it’s not a freebie, payment is deferred but still due, often to the detriment of obtaining future credit,” says Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA (left).

Watch tomorrow’s industry webinar (December 2nd) to see what key industry leaders including Ben Beadle think of the new lockdown.

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