Edinburgh has had a vibrant rental property market for many years, with high levels of demand and consistent rents. However, few would deny that the global COVID 19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the rental market in Edinburgh. Letting agents have had to adapt quickly to this changing market in order to help landlords and tenants deal with these latest challenges.
Airbnbs and holiday lets
The lockdown in March brought a sudden collapse in tourist numbers in a city that usually welcomes over 4 million â€˜overnight staysâ€™ visitors every year. This had a big impact on the number of properties available for rental at the start of the lockdown, as a flood of Airbnbs and holiday lets were suddenly returned to the long-term rental market. For many landlords, this was a worry. They feared that the knock on effect of this influx of new properties to the market would be increased competition for new tenants leading to an overall drop in rents. However, with the recent easing of lockdown, the number of new properties of this kind has slowed. In addition, the demand from tenants looking for somewhere to stay has picked up. It is hoped that the Edinburgh rental market is now moving towards a more stable period.
Rental property viewings
At the start of lockdown, â€˜in personâ€™ property viewings halted and online virtual viewings became the only permitted way to view a property. As lockdown has started to ease, ‘in person’ viewings are now allowed although it is recommended that these should only be used where there is a very â€˜strong interestâ€™ in renting. Virtual viewing should still be used for â€˜first viewingsâ€™ and as the preferred option wherever possible.
Moving into a rental property
During early lockdown, moving house was only permitted if it was â€˜reasonably necessaryâ€™. However, since Monday, June 29th and the easing of lockdown rules, tenants can now move as long as social distancing rules are rigorously followed.
Safety checks and maintenance
The Scottish Government currently advises landlords that if possible, safety checks (gas & electricity) essential repairs and maintenance work should be carried out between lets i.e. the period between one tenant moving out and another moving in. When this is not possible, they advise that work must be carried out with careful social distancing measures in place i.e. arrange for work to be done when tenants are not at home or are at home but confined to another room. In addition, if either the tenant or contractor is showing any signs or symptoms of COVID, work will not take place.
Letting a property during a global pandemic brings with it a whole new set of challenges. If you have any questions or need help with your rental property, please get in touch or give us a call on 0131 610 6161. Roberts Residential Letting is a highly rated letting agent in Edinburgh with the skills and property experience to help you navigate through this difficult period.