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.

Well done with the petition—I had the support of my MP who acted immediately. We already have SBRR so it was the exclusion from the grant that was most disturbing but there has been no mention to date of this that I have detected. Thank you for what you are all doing to support members at this very uncertain time.

Kettering based member

We have written to our local MP as advised. Please do continue to champion this for us, it really is unfair that estate and lettings agents are being excluded from relief that is offered to other small businesses when we are also directly affected in a big way.

London based member

I joined in with this campaign and have had a response from my local MP Sir Roger Gale MP, he rang me this afternoon and was very surprised to learn that Estate Agents and Letting Agents are not receiving Business Rate Relief under the current emergency. He wishes to join forces with whoever is our parliamentary contact to try and get action.

Kent based member

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.

I appreciate your comments about a Property Sector Support Package and agree that homeownership provides an increased sense of stability and security to people’s lives and the local communities in which they live. I also understand your points about the contribution that the sector plays in our economy as a whole, supporting 240,000 jobs. I understand that as many as 450,000 buyers and renters have placed their plans on hold since the beginning of the pandemic.

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP

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.

06 May 2020
Inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector

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.

30 Nov 2020
Inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on 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

18 Feb 2021
Chancellor must act to tackle rent debt crisis

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.

25 Mar 2020
Propertymark campaign leads to business rates relief

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.

06 Apr 2020
Propertymark campaign leads to commission included in furloughed pay

Government has amended the eligibility criteria following Propertymark's campaign for agents' commission payments to be included in claims for furloughed pay.

08 Jul 2020
Propertymark campaign leads to a cut in stamp duty

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.

14 Jul 2020
Land Transaction Tax threshold raised in Wales

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.

13 Jul 2020
LBTT threshold is now effective

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.

19 May 2020
Propertymark issues guidance designed to support agents in resuming safely

Following the UK Government’s announcement that sales and lettings activity can resume within England, Propertymark has developed detailed guidance to support activities carried out across sales and lettings of residential property.