As the nation claps its NHS and other front line heroes, LandlordZONE highlights the landlords who are going the extra mile for their tenants during this challenging time for everyone involved in the private rental market.
When one of Collette Lord’s tenants came to her with a proposal to pay less rent during the crisis after her small business was forced to close, and make it up later in the year, Collette immediately agreed.
She’s now talking to another struggling tenant who’s only able to pay half his rent about making a future payment plan.
“At a time like this we need humanity and to recognise that our tenants might lack funds through no fault of their own,” she says.
A full-time landlord in Chilcompton, Somerset, with a substantial portfolio, Collette is proud of her good relationship with every tenant – the longest-standing has been with her for 16 years – and their ability to approach her when they’re in trouble; she’s offered a month free-rent to those struggling to make payments in the past.
“I know all my tenants and get on well with them. I’ve only had four really awful ones and I’m sad to say they were all benefit tenants so I don’t take them anymore – it broke my heart.”
She blames the benefit system for the evictions and adds: “I hope at least the coronavirus crisis will put some humanity back into the system as there’s so many homeless people because of Universal Credit.”
Collette got into property 20 years ago, and confesses she knew nothing about the business, quickly working to bring herself up to speed through forums and reading up on the subject.
After buying her mum’s house, she mortgaged it to raise cash for a deposit on the next one and started looking for likely properties. “I didn’t understand what I was doing but pressure-tested the numbers and made sure I didn’t take on more than I could repay.”
Her portfolio is now spread across Wales, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Lancashire and Somerset – half of which are now managed by agents. While she doesn’t intend to expand or sell, she has definite plans. “I don’t have any family to inherit, so my estate will go to charity.”