A second survey of new COVID-19 related rental arrears conducted by Belvoir, the UK’s largest High Street property franchise, reveals that less than 5% of tenants across all four brands are in arrears. This compares to pre-lockdown arrears of 2%, and a decrease in new arrears was noted from the first survey in mid-April compared to the second survey in mid-May.
“We have been monitoring rent arrears across all four brands – Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell and Lovelle, during lockdown and I am very pleased to confirm that our franchisees are seeing much lower figures than anticipated, with 5% of tenancies accruing new arrears due to the impact of coronavirus,” says Belvoir CEO Dorian Gonsalves. “In addition, we have noted a slight decrease in arrears from the first to the second month.
“We believe there are several contributory factors to coronavirus related rent arrears being lower than anticipated – mainly because most of Belvoir’s business is outside of the London area, and average rents across the network are around £800 a month, which is more affordable for people who are furloughed. Average London rents are between £1500-£1600, and this might be more of a struggle for people to pay, so Belvoir tenants are at lower risk of this financial pressure.
“In addition, Belvoir offices remained operational throughout lockdown, with teams working incredibly hard from home, and our landlords were able to benefit from having an agent between themselves and their tenant, keeping the lines of communication open and helping them to deal with any problems in a professional, informed, and calm manner. Belvoir has a robust referencing system, and our ability to work closely with landlords and tenants, helping them to access available help, has benefited all parties. It is clear to our franchisees across all four brands that keeping up with rental payments has been a major priority to tenants during lockdown.
“Now that the lockdown is easing, and our offices are open, we will continue to work with landlords and tenants and monitor relevant factors including rent arrears. It will be interesting to see if there is any change in these figures when the furlough scheme comes to an end. At present all the signs are very positive, and whatever happens, Belvoir is well placed to weather the storm.”
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