2020 – The Year We Won’t Forget!
For us, like many others in lettings, the Coronavirus and the first lockdown created uncertainty about what the immediate future would look like.
Would lots of tenants leave?
How much would tenants’ jobs be affected?
Would we see an increase in non-payers?
And as a result, the team worked hard to put systems in place to keep tenants informed of guidance and support, as well as ways for them to keep us updated of their situations.
We have found throughout 2020, that although many of our tenants have been affected in terms of being furloughed, having less hours, being made redundant or applying for Universal Credit, the vast majority of them have been great at communicating with us and they have worked with us to ensure the least disruption to rent payments. This has been a challenging time for everyone and our team has most definitely seen the biggest increase in their time to be associated with tenant communication.
Once we hit the summer months, we all seemed to breathe a small sigh of relief, although we knew things were still tough for many. However, with the prospect of big redundancies following months of minimal trade in some sectors, we were wary of a second wave of tenant job insecurity. Although this did affect a small number of our tenants, we still made sure they knew what financial support was available.
During the year, we adapted quickly to provide online viewings, PPE for staff, health & safety guidance for in-person appointments, HMO-specific Covid information for tenants and new systems for keeping track of the situation. We always look to how we can improve and adjust and the last 12 months have thrown a focus on that.
Over the past couple of years, our Christmas period run-up has been a little quiet, but the end of 2020 was particularly busy, with us ending the year and starting 2021 at 100% occupancy! And as we face the new year with uncertainty remaining ahead and another national lockdown in place, one thing we are certain of, is that people need a place to live.