In common with most letting agents, the one I work with is working from home.
“I am fortunate as I have an excellent Lettings Manager and on 19th March we discussed the risks associated with each tenant and the property they occupy.
I now manage a risk register [Enter your details if you would like to know more] which is reviewed weekly to keep an overview of the tenants at risk of catching COVID-19, mostly low risk however some tenants have a higher risk of infection as they work for the NHS and a few are Care Workers.
We also evaluate the risk of their inability to pay their monthly rent. We work together to compose a periodic email which keeps all tenants informed and provides them with supporting information. If their circumstances are such that they are no longer able to pay their monthly rent, then they use a form we devised to apply for rent arrears, then we can consider how best to support them. Key points for me are: –
1. So far, none of my tenants have been infected by the COVID-19 Virus.
2. I have only one vacant property and can undertake viewings by video when needed.
3. There are no significant repairs or maintenance to undertake on any property in the portfolios.
4. Urgent Safety checks can still continue provided we put in place the necessary controls.
5. Several properties are tenanted by families already in receipt of benefits and their ability to pay their rent is unchanged.
Up until now, the property portfolios have remained unchanged and tenants have given assurances that they will pay their rent on time and have been given the opportunity to apply for rent arrears if their personal situation changes.
Some would say I am in a very fortunate position right now, however I would say that my letting agent is highly skilled, experienced, and proactive. No doubt we will need to keep informed and adapt as the situation evolves. In addition, I have always had a strategic long term approach to my property investments as follows: –
• Always investing in areas of high demand
• Tenants have been selected well; they are long term tenants who live close to relatives and friends and take pride in their homes
• We deal with urgent tenant issues swiftly (mostly within 1-2 days)
• We undertake quarterly inspections and ask our tenants to complete customer satisfaction questionnaires to inform our processes for continuous improvements
• The refurbishments are undertaken using good materials by skilled tradesmen so we deliver an excellent home which requires low maintenance in the longer term. (The standard is such that I would be happy for me or members of my family to live in any property within the portfolios.)”