One of our clients who is a keyworker arrived in the UK just as the country had gone into lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak. He was staying in a hotel that was shortly to close and needed to find some permanent accommodation as a matter of urgency. This was made even more difficult as the vast majority of letting agents had closed their doors.
Challenges faced and how we helped -
Moving from another country for work is a big enough decision but when you are doing so in the midst of a worldwide pandemic it is not only stressful but very worrying.
The assignee who is a key worker arrived in the UK and initially stayed in a local hotel, one of the only ones that was still open due to the lock down order issued by the UK government. Although he had planned on finding his own accommodation he soon found that this was extremely difficult as the majority of the letting agents in the area were closed and properties were not available to be viewed.
Sensing the situation was escalating and that time was running out his employer asked us to step in and assist and we set to work contacting the local agents in the area. Many were not working at all and those that were, were only offering video viewings. Undeterred we carried on speaking to agents and on explaining the situation to one in particular were able to secure a face to face viewing at an apartment block that had a handful of recently refurbished apartments available for rent.
The apartments were furnished and empty which meant risk of contamination was reduced and the agent practiced social distancing. Not only were the apartments close to the our clients place of work, they were within budget and very nicely finished.
Having viewed our client chose a corner apartment with big dual aspect windows meaning plenty of light, and space for him to store his bike.
An offer was made and the apartment was secured at below the asking price.
We explained to the assignee the process for renting in the UK, what funds would be required and when and how they needed to be received. This preparation, especially from a financial point of view, ensures our clients are aware of what their initial outlay will be with regards to rent and deposits, which is often higher than they are expecting. We also give details on their monthly running costs ie. Council tax/utility bills and provide realistic advice.
Going the extra mile…
As our client needed to move quickly, we were able to use the good relationship we have built with the agent to help push things through as quickly as possible. Due to the circumstances and our discussions with the agent the landlord agreed to forego formal referencing and was happy to rely on the salary and job offer details we supplied.
We checked the tenancy agreement and arranged for our client to check into his new apartment 3 working days after he had originally seen it meaning he avoided being made homeless!
We will keep in contact with our client to notify him of any key dates that relate to his tenancy re renewals or giving notice and will remain at hand for any queries he may have.
We now have one very happy assignee !
Kalewa, The Warren, Caversham,
1 The Mews,
Gilston Park, Hertfordshire