A landlord in Somerset has revealed his highly unusual path to becoming a buy-to-let investor.
James Dieterle (main picture, left), who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as part of the British Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corp, worked there as a translator.
But after leaving Afghanistan and later witnessing the withdrawal from the country and the ensuing chaos, he was contacted by former Afghan colleague and ‘mate’ Hussain asking for help to escape as the Taliban re-asserted control in the summer of 2021.
Dieterle organised for a contact to have his friend flown to Heathrow, his papers sorted and on arrival began the process of finding him accommodation.
“I had some money in a bank account so I thought why not buy a house – so after a while I found a property to buy with the help of Pinnacle Finance,” he says.
He also worked with Somerset Council via the national Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy which had launched just a few months before.
The scheme called upon local councils to help people like Dieterle’s former colleague, who also later brought over his family following Home Office approval.
“I imagine there aren’t many people who have gone as far as I did investing the time and money into housing a refugee,” he says.
“My Afghan friend had to leave his home and his country through no fault of his own and he showed us support when we were there, so I think it’s only right that as a country we show them support in their hour of need.”
Councillor Federica Smith Roberts (pictured), Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture, says: “I have heard many amazing stories of Somerset communities coming together to create a safe and welcoming environment for guests to re-settle and rebuild their lives.
“James’ story is no exception and while many may not be in a position to do what he has in purchasing a home for a family to rent, there are many other ways to support and assist refugee resettlement in the UK.”
Read more about how private landlords can help.
Picture credits: LinkedIn/James Dieterle/Somerset Council