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Landlords switching from short-term lets to longer lets before lockdown

There has been a significant increase in the number of landlords and homeowners switching from short-term lets to longer rentals. 

Across the UK there has been a 20% drop in people looking for rooms over the last week due primarily to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to SpareRoom. 

With a possible countrywide lock down rapidly approaching, the flatsharing website reports that people with rooms to rent are understandably keen to find tenants. 


SpareRoom has seen a 15% increase in adverts from agents and a 12% uplift from landlords, just in the past two days. This is driven, in part, by landlords and homeowners switching from using short-term rental sites like Airbnb as tourism tanks and looking for longer term rents for their rooms.


With supply in some parts of the country currently outstripping demand, 18% of agents have reduced their asking rents in the past two weeks, while 11% of landlords have done the same, with some directly mentioning COVID-19 as the reason for this reduction. 

With the growing concern about face to face contact SpareRoom has also seen a real trend over the last week of people moving towards video calls - getting to know each other and having a first view of the property this way.

Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director, said: “Whenever there’s uncertainty people put off making big decisions, like moving house. We saw it during the confusion over Brexit and we’re seeing it in a much more marked way now. In contrast, people with rooms to fill are desperately hoping to get new tenants in before the country goes into lockdown.

“Although it’s still early days, we’re also seeing some interesting shifts in behavior on both sides. Following widespread cancellations, we’re seeing both landlords and homeowners moving from short term rents to looking for longer term security.

“Tenants are getting creative by using video calls to hold virtual viewings and interviews. The people you live with make a far bigger difference to you than the property itself, and video calls are a great way to get that all important first impression before deciding to go and see a property. It also minimises the need for travel and social contact so it’s a win-win.”

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  • Mark Wilson

    How risky is a new letting today? Whats the prospect of receiving the second month's rent?


    We can reduce the risk though by being very careful who we rent to, no DSS, no single mums, and no one under 25.


    You are more likely to receive rent via LHA if receiving a direct payment than from a tenant who has lost their job or is on statutory sick pay.

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    Sorry I just don’t believe that is happening on mass with the recent announcements

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    Most people recover within 2 weeks, so why is everyone looking to be rent free for 3 MONTHS?

    Daniela Provvedi

    Hi Robert, what do you mean "rent free"? It's not "rent free" - you'll still get your rent paid (albeit after 3 months). It's actually called a "rent holiday". Just like you're given a "mortgage holiday" - you've still got to pay your mortgage after 3 months.



    I wish I had your faith! In my experience a rental payment delayed is a rental payment lost.


    and self isolate for 3 months and controls are for 3 years--why?


    Robert, it is more about people losing their jobs. Not how long it would take them to recover if they were ill. And if you follow the correct steps, the missing rent will be paid at a later date.

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    Please explain how to be successful in getting unpaid rent back from defaulters. In 23 years I have never managed it, but I have over time developed a survival instinct that has protected me from repeating the experience very often. I am happy to allow a rent deferment to match the deposit and take a risk on the property being left in good condition, but like most "reforms", small deposits are not in the tenants' best interests.


    There will be many ex tenants with very bad credit scores sleeping in shop door ways, big mistake to take the ''P'' out of landlords, at the end of the day we have the upper hand.

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    • 28 March 2020 13:16 PM

    Just as a matter of principle I will always remove a rent defaulting tenant.

    Responsible tenants will have sufficient savings or ASU insurance to cover their rent.
    If they haven't bothered then I Can't be bothered to continue to house them.


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