Heading back to normality

Published: 18/05/2021 By Tam van Wyk

I hope you all survived the wet and windy bank holiday weekend (and there’s another one coming). It at least felt like the traditionally awful weather was part of our collective return to normality! Especially with yet another big step out of lockdown taking place just a few days back.

There’s no doubt, after the previous one, activity increased across the board - with far more people out and about – many shivering outside pubs and restaurants - and traffic levels up by the day. In the property world, things have been moving even faster  - with the market best described as ‘frenetic’. The majority of that activity, though, has been in the sales sector, with the stamp duty holiday providing a substantial boost. Lettings have been far more steady, although the latest report from Nationwide suggests that might soon change. According to their research, 40% of tenants are currently thinking of moving home! That’s 8% more than the number of homeowners who want to do the same (32%). We’ll have to see how that translates into real-world activity, but it certainly sounds promising.

Any sellers should be aware, however, the end of the stamp duty holiday is not as far away as they might think. In fact, the initial stage comes to an end in around six weeks’ time (at the end of June)! After that, the tax-free rate will drop to the first £250,000 of any purchase rather than £500,000, which will continue until the end of September. The good news is that most commentators believe demand is not just being driven by the holiday period, so it won't be a disaster if you miss out, but it’s still worth trying not to.

What’s not such good news is that there is yet more legislation landlords need to be aware of. Although the evictions ban is due to come to an end on 31st May, from the 4th of this month, the government’s new ‘Breathing Space’ scheme came into operation. Essentially, it gives debtors a 60 day period to get their acts together if they have gotten into financial difficulties. During that time, it will not be possible to proceed with or begin an eviction. And, from now on, eviction paperwork must include information about the scheme. The intentions behind it are good but, as usual, it’s landlords that are likely to bear the brunt of the costs.

New scheme to give people in problem debt breathing space launched - read more here.

Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) guidance for creditors - read more here.

Well, that’s about it for this month but if you need any help or advice, please feel free to give us a call.