Today Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the plan to loosen restrictions slightly across Scotland, as part of a phased easing of lockdown. Today’s announcements relate mainly to meeting loved ones, under very specific circumstances, which will come as welcome relief to families and communities everywhere across the country.
As a result of the First Minister’s announcements we are also expecting the market to become busier, as more people will be looking to move and enter into new tenancies (with the provisional plan that the housing market will reopen on the 18th June). At Umega we feel ready: we’ve been preparing ourselves to cope with a higher volume of enquiries and a busier marketplace without changing the way we work in our remote setup. We will continue to work in a way that means our team members do not need to meet face-to-face with our customers. The last 10 weeks have shown that we can successfully provide a high-quality level of service while our team works away from the office as much as possible.
We understand that many existing tenants have maintenance issues in their properties that have been building up and they will feel like it’s a suitable time now to have these addressed. Our approach is to continue to act responsibly, actioning the urgent issues in a way that’s safe for our contractors & tenants and managing expectations on non-urgent issues. We’ll take care of those as soon as government advice allows. When that time comes we expect to be extremely busy with actioning maintenance work and facilitating more and more new tenancies as the restrictions lift further. We believe formal restrictions specifically relating to the housing market will be announced in the next phase, scheduled for 3 weeks’ time.
Looking further ahead, we have got our eye on August, September and October time, which is when we expect a new kind of challenge to hit the economy and our sector. Currently approximately one third of the UK’s employees are being paid through the C-19 Job Retention Scheme. When the scheme starts to come to an end, in August, we believe it’s inevitable that many people will lose their jobs and their incomes. Many employers will take the tough decision that they cannot revert to paying people’s salaries and jobs will be lost. It is too soon to tell what effect this is likely to have on our sector but we will continue to monitor it closely.