Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
Meet the landlord tailoring support to his tenants during coronavirus
The NRLA has heard from many members throughout the coronavirus pandemic who have told us about the extra things they are doing to support their tenants.
One such landlord is Steve Harrison, who lets out properties in Newport, South Wales.
Steve was some 4,220 miles away on a trip of a lifetime a week before the lockdown was announced in England and Wales.
When he flew back to Wales, he was required to quarantine for a mandatory fourteen days. During this time, it got him thinking about the ways he could support his tenants during the pandemic.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with my tenants”, begins Steve, “I know about their specific situations and circumstances and also that they will come to me if there’s an issue just as they have done so in the past”.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we made a choice that if our tenants came to us, we’d be accommodating and help them as best we can”.
Over the last few weeks, several of Steve’s tenants have indeed come forward to ask him for additional support.
Range of support
The support Steve has offered his tenants has involved arranging rent reductions and repayment plans, to sending surprise food and toiletry parcels to tenants.
Steve says because he’s worked hard to maintain good relationships with his tenants, he’s been able to tailor the support based on their needs.
“I have one tenant and I know money is quite tight for her, so when she came to me and said her income had taken a hit as a result of the coronavirus, asking for a rent reduction, I was happy to be accommodating”, says Steve.
“We worked together on deciding how much rent she would be able to afford each month, so I’ve given her a temporary 50% rent reduction but have also tried to encourage her to pay what she thinks she reasonably can afford. When her financial circumstances allow, we will look to create a payment plan”.
“I also delivered her a food parcel with a few Easter eggs in-she seemed very touched”, says Steve.
Maintenance support via video
Steve has encouraged his tenants to get in touch with him if there are any emergency repairs that need sorting out in their homes, and if a minor maintenance issue has been reported, Steve has been video calling his tenants- to help them help themselves.
He feels he has taken a ‘common sense’ during the coronavirus crisis, and that having open communication with his tenants both before and during the pandemic has stood him good stead.
“At the end of the day, I am a business and where they can afford to tenants still need to pay rent, but as landlords we can help them by taking a common sense approach and adapting to their needs”.
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