The devil is in the detail for proposed £65m lettings industry support
The now-notorious Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has earmarked £65 million to help defuse the pressure cooker that is landlords and tenants, who are caught up in a situation where arrears are a huge factor.
Whilst many are grateful that the government is doing something about the crisis, some are equally hesitant to put their full support behind it, as it appears that local government will decide how to dish out the cash. These same bodies may go down a means-tested or convoluted system that might mean the money may never hit the parties most in need.
Additionally, it has been calculated that a figure nearer £300 million will be required to stabilise the present situation, one in which landlords have already lost a substantial amount of rent and renters, having lost their jobs, are unable to pay the rent.
Chris Norris, Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association said: “We welcome the announcement of this funding and urge local authorities to target it at those tenants most struggling with Covid rent debts … However, £65 million does not fully reflect the scale of the problem. NRLA analysis has put the figure of Covid rent debts at over £300 million.”
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GCD Technologies to acquire propertynews.com
GCD Technologies, a leading Northern Ireland-headquartered custom software development business, is to acquire Propertynews.com from print and digital publisher Mediahuis.
The deal will see GCD take ownership of the popular house hunting portal and its property software products from November 1st as the company seeks to further grow the product side of its business.
Mediahuis, which publishes a range of print and digital titles across the island of Ireland, including the Belfast Telegraph, has decided to sell Propertynews.com as part of a plan to focus its resources on its core publishing business and other leading classified sites including the continued development of its highly successful NIJobFinder recruitment portal.
GCD is seen as the perfect buyer for Propertynews.com as it has been the site’s technology partner since 2004, responsible for the design and development of the current Propertynews.com portal, apps and estate agency management software products. GCD has vast digital product development experience across many sectors, working with clients including PowerNI and Fane Valley.
GCD employs almost 40 people between offices in Lurgan and Dublin and the acquisition of Propertynews.com will see the fast-growing business further increase its headcount. In the past three years, GCD has grown its business by more than 40%.
Andrew Gough, Managing Director of GCD said: “In addition to developing digital products for our clients, we also develop and operate a suite of products ourselves and the acquisition of Propertynews.com fits perfectly within our strategy to further grow this stream of our business.
We have a long history with Propertynews, and our team have a deep relationship with the platform, its technology and its customers, so we are delighted to be taking ownership of the site and its software products. We are really excited about the future of Propertynews.com and the innovation we can bring to the property market locally here in Northern Ireland.”
Marc Vangeel, CEO of Mediahuis Ireland said: “Mediahuis are proud to have owned the propertynews.com portal within our portfolio of news media and digital brands since 2019, but we believe that this offer from GCD Technologies will bring the resources and product development experience needed to continue to compete effectively into the future. We wish the new owners continued success.”
Propertynews.com was established in 2000 as Northern Ireland’s first property portal. It became part of Mediahuis when the company acquired Independent News & Media in 2019.
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.