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From Ayr to Adelaide


Even viewed from the relative peace of Ayrshire, we can see that everyone around the world has been affected by the pandemic caused by Coronavirus. 

Before the lockdown, there was a high level of activity in the Ayrshire residential property market. Since the start of 2020 the Ayr office of Allied Surveyors witnessed a marked increase in the number of home reports commissioned. Properties being exposed to the market were regularly attracting multiple bids and often achieving sale prices in excess of home report values.

Unfortunately, the property market has now ground to a halt and the Coronavirus lockdown could last a bit longer. In addition, GDP will shrink and unemployment rise, both of which will negatively impact the property market.

On a more positive note, there are several aid packages in place in order to safeguard and shore-up the now fragile property market during these unprecedented times, some of which include:

  • UK lenders have confirmed that to support customers who have already set dates for completion of purchased properties, they are now willing to extend mortgage offers for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date. In addition, lenders will work with customers to help manage their finances if their circumstances change.


  • Mortgage payment holidays mean payments can be deferred to give some breathing space during the Coronavirus situation. It is important to remember that you still owe the unpaid amounts and that interest will still be charged on the outstanding loan. At the end of the payment holiday, the payments will continue, and some may opt to increase payments or simply extend the term of the loan. It is also understood that taking a payment holiday will not affect your credit rating.


  • It is also understood that most lenders are temporarily stopping repossession orders during these troublesome times.


  • The Scottish Government has recently passed the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill which also relates to the rented property market. The main factors are:
    • the announcement of an interest free loan scheme for landlords who have witnessed a drop in rental income where tenants have ceased payments, or they are unable to rent the property.  The interest free loan should be available by the end of April.
      • The temporary changes to the notice and eviction processes will be discretionary, at least until September 2020. There is currently a backlog of cases to the First-tier Tribunal, so in short it will be harder to evict a tenant if they are not meeting the terms of their lease which protects the tenant during these unforeseen times.

The minimum requirements of an EPC banding of E for rental properties in Scotland was due to come into effect on 1st April 2020 under the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 which was for all new tenancies starting on 1st October 2020.  However, this has now been postponed due to Covid-19.  

The war against Coronavirus is far from over and will continue after restrictions have been lifted, however the property market will reignite as people sell their properties for various reasons, be it out of choice or necessity. A number of us are working from home, self-isolating or have been furloughed which, while extremely difficult, presents an ideal opportunity to address that “odd-job to-do-list”, meaning that on a positive note, when the market bounces back your property will be viewer-ready.

About the author

Kevin is qualified Chartered Surveyor and Registered Valuer, specialising in the residential property sector.  He is a director of Allied Surveyors Scotland plc based in their Ayr office, and with over 20 years of experience his advice is regularly sought by investors and lenders.  He completes the UK Residential Market Survey for the RICS on a monthly basis and also the Scottish Services Survey which contributes to the completion of the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

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