Rightmove has announced a series of initiatives to help assist agents as the situation surrounding Covid-19 develops, including a new deferred payment scheme.
It said that while sales agreed pipelines “strengthened” following a busy start to the year, cash flow issues may become a “challenge” for agents until sales recover again.
Rightmove said it will now be offering all qualifying independent estate and letting agents the option to sign up to a deferred payment scheme for their existing membership package. The scheme will be regularly reviewed to assess its suitability over the coming months.
The scheme will give qualifying agents the option to defer the payment of £275 per branch of their monthly invoiced costs each month for six months starting from 1 May. The amounts deferred would be paid back evenly over the same term after six months of the first deferral period.
Agents also have the alternative option to defer payment of £500 per branch of their monthly invoiced costs each month for three months paid back evenly over the same term after three months of the first deferral period.
For agents on a lettings only membership package the scheme allows deferrals of £150 each month for six months or £250 each month for three months.
Rightmove said it will check a number of things when agents apply for the scheme. Some of the criteria will include:
- Have fewer than 25 branches on Rightmove
- Have been a continuous Rightmove customer for at least 12 months
- Pay by direct debit and have paid their Rightmove invoices on time for the past two years (or for the length of time they have been a customer if they have been on Rightmove less than two years)
- Provide evidence of sales or let agreed pipeline (either through SSTC or other proof of funds)
Rightmove’s agency and new homes director, David Anderson, said: “Over the years agents have shown great resilience through some challenging market conditions, but this is an unprecedented situation. “A number of agents we’ve been speaking to have said they’re worried about how they’ll control their current cash flow with fewer sales and lettings transactions over the next few months, and as they rebuild their pipeline later in the year.”
He added: “As we enter a period of the unknown, at this stage we hope this payment deferral scheme will help to reduce some of the negative impacts.
“To help agents looking for practical advice we’re also running a series of webinars with industry experts on subjects from working at home through to legislation in the current environment and managing mental health.”