During these challenging times City Residential wants to reassure our clients that we are taking active precautions to protect your and our safety while maintaining the business operating albeit in a different way and using alternative strategies from normal.
Please find below some of the FAQ’s that have been posed to us over the last week and are likely to be things that you need to know.
Is City Residential still open? Yes we are but the offices aren’t. Following the government’s announcement on Monday 24th March we took the essential and responsible decision to close the office. However we have many members of the team working from home between 08.30 and 17.00 Monday to Friday. The best way to contact us during this time is to email us: Lettings can be contacted on:[email protected] and Sales on: [email protected]. If you need to speak to someone urgently by phone please call: 07340 998643 during normal office hours.
Will you be able to access my property account during the lockdown period? Yes, we have full access to both our sales and letting property accounts whilst working from home however please bear in mind that it may not be possible for us to provide copies of paperwork during this time.
Are you able to carry out viewings during the lockdown period? At present we are unable to carry out face to face viewings but we do have videos of most of our available properties and are successfully letting and selling apartments based on the videos. Please make an enquiry with our teams if you are interested in any of our properties and they will be pleased to help you.
TENANTS Do I need to carry on paying rent as usual? Yes, you must ensure that you continue to pay the rent on your property during the lockdown period. You are still residing in the property so you must ensure that you pay the rent.
I am facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak and I am not sure I can afford to the pay the rent, what do I do? If you believe that you are likely to struggle to pay the rent on your property due to financial hardship please email: [email protected] We will ask for you to provide full details of the hardship you are facing and where possible documents reflecting this in order so that we can discuss this with your landlord.
What will happen once you have spoken to the landlord? There could be several outcomes; 1) the landlord may agree a “Rent Payment Holiday” but please remember that with a rent payment holiday you do have to repay the unpaid rent in the future so this may only defer the problem. 2) It may be that your landlord agrees a rent reduction for a short period of time whilst you are affected but if your landlord is not able to do so please remember that they may also be facing financial hardship so are not able to offer a reduction. 3) It may be that you don’t envisage that you will be able to afford to pay the rent for the foreseeable future in which case it may be that the best course of action if you are on a periodic (month to month) tenancy is for you to provide us thirty days written notice to vacate the property and pay the final months rent prior to vacating.
What should I do if I have any maintenance issues to report during the lockdown period? Please continue to report repairs via our online “Report Repairs” facility on our website https://city-residential.fixflo.com/Auth/HomeIssueCreate We will endeavour to manage all repairs as normal however any non-urgent repairs will be delayed or deferred during the lockdown period. All urgent matters will be dealt with as soon as possible but may be subject to longer waiting periods than normal given the reduced number of contractors currently working.
Will a contractor still attend? Yes, if required a contractor will attend to address your maintenance issue but you will need to go to another room whilst they are attending to the problem to ensure that social distancing measures are adhered to.
What do I do if I am shortly due to move out? If you are due to move out of your property shortly then this is not a problem you will need to either post the keys back to us via recorded delivery to our offices or post them through our office door. If posting them through the office door please place them in an envelope ensuring it is sealed and write your NAME ONLY on the envelope. Do not write the property address on the envelope. If posting keys back to our office please ensure you use a padded envelope to ensure that they don’t fall out of the envelope. Move out inspections will logically be delayed as we will not be able to carry out the inspections straight after your vacation but please bear with us and with us and we will be in touch with you with regards to your deposit as soon as possible.
I was due to vacate my property but now need to extend my stay, is this possible? Yes, it is highly likely that you will be able to remain in the property for a further period and pay the rent for the extra weeks/months but you must contact us to make arrangements and so that we can consult with your landlord.
LANDLORDS Will you continue to manage my property during the lockdown period? Yes of course, we will continue to manage your property from home. If you have any questions or queries email them to; [email protected] to make sure that your query is picked up by a member of the team.
Will you continue to collect rent and pay this over to me on a regular basis? Yes, rent payments will continue to be collected as if we were based in the office and as much as possible payment runs will continue to be carried out in the middle and end of each month and you will receive payment statement as normal.
Will you be asking all tenants if they can afford to pay the rent during the uncertain times? No, we do not intend to approach all tenants to ask if they can continue to pay their rent as normal. It is the tenants responsibility to ensure that they either pay the rent in full in a timely manner or if you they are unable to that they approach us to advise that they are facing financial hardship so that we can then liaise with you.
Will it be possible for landlords to claim a mortgage holiday? Mortgage holidays are possible but you will need to speak to your own lender as to whether they are able to offer you a mortgage payment holiday during these challenging times but do remember you will have to repay the money not paid during the holiday period so this is only deferring the debt.
What are your market predictions for the next 3, 6 and 12 months? It is very difficult to predict what the market is likely to do over the next 12 months. In the next 3 months market activity for new lets is likely to be severely affected given the limitations placed on being able to conduct viewings and there are tenants leaving the city because the universities have shut and employees have been furloughed so there will be a higher than normal number of properties available. It will be important in this period to consider accepting a lower rent in order to secure a tenant wherever possible because a tenant at a lower rent is better than no tenant at all. The 6 and 12 month outlooks are harder to predict and much will depend on when the measures put in place by the government to avoid the spread of coronavirus are released but we must be prepared that the next 12 months are going to be challenging than anticipated at the beginning of 2020 and adaptability to market conditions is going to be absolutely pivotal.
Will you be providing marketing feedback during the lockdown period? As you can imagine activity levels are likely to be significantly reduced from normal levels and therefore we will provide marketing updates if we have any news, feedback or need to discuss any marketing matters with you but you should assume that contact will be reduced from our normal fortnightly feedback contacts.
VENDORS Will you continue to market my property during the lockdown restrictions placed on the UK? Yes we will continue to market your property through our website, Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market as well as our own website.
Will you be carrying out viewings? Yes, we will be carrying out video viewings on most of our portfolio of available apartments. Unfortunately face to face viewings will not be possible.
I have a sale agreed on my property will it continue? Assuming that both parties wish to continue with the sale and purchase of your property it will continue. Since the lockdown we have had some completions which is excellent news however some solicitors are refusing to allow sales to complete and some are wishing to defer the sale completions until after the lockdown period. If we are selling a property for you which is vacant then we would strongly encourage you to contact your conveyancing solicitor and advise them that there is no reason why the transaction cannot proceed during the lockdown period.
Will you be carrying out market appraisals during the lockdown period? This does not have a straightforward answer. If the property is vacant we may be able to visit the property to carry out a market appraisal but this is not guaranteed. If you live in the property we may ask you to take a video of the property so that we can provide you with market advice but the best course of action is to contact Frances Lyons our Sales Manager whom would be happy to contact you to discuss the options. Frances can be contacted on [email protected]
If you have any further questions, queries or need any assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. In the meantime stay safe and stay at home.