Jameson & Partners Estate Agents Altrincham

Covid-19 closure – Week 1: Resilience


Covid-19 closure – Week 1: Resilience

We’ve been on Covid-19 closure and lockdown for just over a week now. Early days, but already many people seem to have totally lost the plot, turned into monsters and forgotten all sense of their humanity. I’ve seen two extremes emerge around me since the Covid-19 closure and lockdown. There are those who are selfless and happy to help others in any way they can. And those who are entirely self-absorbed and care little, if at all, for the wellbeing of others.

For a small business, the first thought which crosses your mind at a time like this is, will we survive? We must find a way of course, there is no way back; but there is always a way forward.
We’ve negotiated with all our suppliers, cut all non-essential overheads and set up remote working strategies. Before the lockdown came into place we took videos of all the unoccupied properties and asked those occupying the remaining properties to send videos.

The impact
So far, we are still receiving some enquires for rental properties. But these have reduced by around 80%. We’ve been lucky – two of the properties we placed on the market just prior to this lockdown had applicants undergoing referencing. They agreed to take the property based on the video footage we provided. This, I admit, was a little unexpected.

However, enquires for properties for sale has almost dried up entirely, which is understandable. Would you commit to such a large investment, without visiting the property in person?

Sale progression is generally moving forward, a little slower than normal. The main hold-up has been the inability to access occupied properties for survey. Most vendors and buyers are understanding and willing to be patient.

From a rentals point of view, we have seen general mayhem. Since Boris Johnson announced the mortgage holiday and advised tenants are not to be evicted, it seems many tenants assume they don’t need to pay their rent. There are, of course, many who are in genuine financial difficulty, especially those who are self-employed. And realistically, what can we do here? They have suddenly lost their income and until the support becomes available we simply need to work with them to work out what they can afford.
We are trying to put payment plans in place and to explain to all those unable to pay that this debt won’t just disappear, it will need to be paid off before the end of their tenancy. The consequence would otherwise be many tenants unable to rent again, since their references would reveal rental arrears.

In conclusion, my current strategy is simply to remain motivated and positive; being kind to others and as supportive as possible.

Each person has been affected differently by the current situation. My experience has been that some people are just overly aggressive; perhaps being cooped up at home has driven them to take their anger out on others. Often, these people are financially unaffected, but yet, can’t seem to sympathise with those who are living on the breadline.

As with the general population, we have those landlords who are relatively lucky but, nevertheless, going crazy about not receiving their full rent on time. While those who are also suffering seem to be far more understanding about the tenants’ circumstances, even when this will exacerbate their personal situation.

Resilience is the order of the day throughout Covid-19 closure. We need to allow those who spout negativity to find their way in this new world without influencing our personal state of mind. Meanwhile we gravitate towards the things which make us happy and encourage us to remain positive.