Supporting members during the Coronavirus outbreak
Our work during the pandemic includes:
- Commission being included within Furlough Pay.
- Business Rates Relief extended to estate and letting agent offices.
- The launch of our Property Sector Support Package campaign meant the housing market was one of the first industries to reopen following the national lockdown and remains open throughout subsequent regional and national restrictions.
- As part of our Property Sector Support Package, we successfully lobbied for a Property Tax Holiday across the UK.
- Produced overlaying best practice guidance for our members to work safely and effectively during the pandemic. The guidance was commended by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and endorsed and published by the Scottish Government.
- Lobbied the UK Government to suspend or amend Right to Rent checks during the outbreak to reduce the spread of coronavirus and ensure agents can continue to carry out their legal responsibilities.
Engaging with MPs during the pandemic
We lobbied MHCLG, MPs and Peers as well as writing to The Chancellor, Business Secretary and Housing Minister to urge the relief to be extended to property agent offices. Propertymark members were also part of the campaign with many writing to their local MPs demanding action.
12 March 2020
We wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and lobbied MPs and Peers highlighting the importance of housing and imploring the UK Government to provide urgent advice to the sector to ensure that their businesses can continue to operate.
3 April 2020
We wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy urging the UK Government to include agents’ commission in its plans to help those financially disadvantaged at the moment.
1 May 2020
We launched the Property Sector Support Package campaign and reiterated the multiplier effect that the housing market has to the benefit of the wider economy.
13 May 2020
The UK Government removed restrictions on residential sales and lettings and introduced a cut to Stamp Duty Land Tax from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021. Restrictions and cuts to property tax were subsequently lifted and introduced in Wales and Scotland.
Extend the holiday on property tax
Our united efforts with our members to campaign for a Property Sector Support Package contributed to a Stamp Duty/Land Transaction Tax/Land and Buildings Transaction Tax holiday which has supported record-breaking market activity across the UK.
We are now calling for an extension to the property tax holiday to avoid transactions falling through, price falls, and a sudden loss of momentum in the market:
- Homeownership provides an increased sense of stability and security to people’s lives and the local communities in which they live.
- Since the introduction of the cut to Stamp Duty/Land Transaction Tax/Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, the housing market has excelled.
- Moving to a new home has enormous knock-on benefits for the wider economy and a continued holiday on property tax would increase consumer confidence and encourage both upsizing and downsizing.
- Extending the cut to property taxes would continue to support jobs in the sector and the wider economy.
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Financial support for the private rented sector
Letting agents have worked hard to support landlords and tenants and manage tenancies safely throughout the public health crisis. However, the overwhelming majority of landlords are individuals, with many renting out just one property, often as a pension, and are unable to continue to subsidise struggling tenants indefinitely.
ARLA Propertymark has responded to the UK Parliament’s Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s (HCLG) Inquiry into the impact of Coronavirus on homelessness and the private rented sector.
Following HCLG's May inquiry on the impact of Covid-19 on the private rented sector, we provided further response highlighting the urgent need for financial support.
We are calling on the UK Government to give tenants financial relief from the effects of the Covid pandemic. We need:
- A targeted financial package to help renters pay off arrears built since lockdown measures started in March last year.
- A welfare system that provides renters with the security of knowing that they can afford their homes. The pandemic has shown how vital this is to providing security at a time of crisis.
Working with partners from across the sector we are asking the UK Government for a targeted support package to help struggling people. This will help to sustain existing tenancies and keep renters in their homes—whilst also ensuring rental debt does not risk them finding homes in the future.
Related news and resources
Propertymark alongside other sector organisations is calling for the Chancellor to act now and agree on a targeted financial package to help private renters pay off COVID-19 rent arrears to help sustain existing tenancies and keep renters in their homes.
After a campaign led by Propertymark, the Government have confirmed that business rates relief has been extended to estate and letting agents. This means those agency offices that have closed as a result of Covid-19 measures to restrict the spread of the virus will be now be exempted from business rates in 2020–2021.
Government has amended the eligibility criteria following Propertymark's campaign for agents' commission payments to be included in claims for furloughed pay.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has unveiled plans to temporarily overhaul Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), as part of a range of plans to stimulate the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans, has announced today, 14 July, changes to the Land Transaction Tax rates effective from 27 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 with the threshold lifted from £180,000 to £250,000.
Revenue Scotland has confirmed the changes to the nil rate band for LBTT residential property transactions which will take effect from Wednesday 15 July and remain in place until 31 March 2021.