40% of agents still not fully open and most have staff on furlough
Two thirds of letting agents will still have staff on furlough next month according to a survey of 231 agencies – and 40 per cent of agents are not even fully open.
The findings of a study conducted by the Property Redress Scheme show that 26 per cent of letting agents anticipate they will not have every employee return to work before September.
This includes 13 per cent who feel they will still have employees on furlough in October.
It is therefore no surprise that the survey shows over 40 per cent of agents are still to open their doors to the public, over a month after the government go-ahead.
“It is not a question of safety” says Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme.
“Over 70 per cent of people we surveyed said they did feel safe to return to work and that their employers would provide PPE. This therefore suggests agents are worried about the market’s ability to bounce back post-COVID-19. Whilst we have seen some encouraging signs of a market recovery, agents clearly feel we are far from out of the woods yet. Many feel the biggest impact will be felt in the medium to long term as companies announced redundancies and unemployment rises.”
He continues: “Perhaps agents are also worried about how they will cope with adjusting to the ‘new normal’. Our survey showed that 75 per cent of agents will be conducting either virtual or a mixture of virtual and physical viewings going forward, but only 20 per cent of agents said they offered virtual viewings pre-COVID-19.“
Hooker says the extension of the evictions ban and the uncertainty of the student market is also weighing heavily on letting agents’ minds.