Over the past weeks we have taken stock to reflect on the enormity of change that everyone has had to deal with in such a short space of time. Interestingly, we have observed many more positives with our managed properties, compared to those managed by other agencies.
The outcome has been quite extraordinary and is a testament of how landlords and tenants have come together.
Rebecca Snow, Asset Manager, has reported;
“From the beginning of the lock-down restrictions, tenants have been approaching us to discuss their situations. About 30% of tenants had reported their concerns that they may not be able to pay their rent in full.
We have been working with individuals to advise them on what help they may be able to get and point them in the right direction of someone who can help if we don’t have all the answers.
Currently 96% of the households, who live in the properties we managed, are now paying their rent in full.
The remaining 4% have been able to part pay their rent and come to some temporary arrangement with the landlord, which is reviewed on a month-by-month basis.
Our aim was to begin these discussions early to ensure cash flow for landlords to help them pay mortgages and alleviating stress for tenants who are struggling. We were also focused on trying to find ways around problems to help people avoid a build-up of debt.
We have advised more than 65% of our landlords on what financial support they can seek and what they can do to avoid potential arrears. Our advice for tenants was primarily steering them away from stacking up debt. Advise included looking for any type of work they can do in the meantime, to renting a spare room with the landlord’s knowledge and consent, to applying for financial assistance, grants and benefits.
Interestingly, according to our knowledge from friends in other agencies, it appears staff have had to work to a flow chart or tick box system, which allows them little room to give help and advice and ultimately leading to threats of legal action. This reactionary approach helps no one, not to mention the stress managing agents have to endure working in this way.
All of us want to be heard and feel cared about, even though there may not be an immediate or quick solution.
I believe, from my experience, the fact we have been able to help head off trouble and work with people to put plans in place, is a testament to both landlords and tenants of their humanistic and pragmatic approach to see the bigger picture. While there have been challenges, it has been clear that the majority have been eager to remain flexible and as understanding as circumstances allow.”
Our team has been working proactively with tenants and landlords since the run up to the lock-down restrictions to ensure everyone comes out of this with as little debt as possible. We are by no means out of the woods yet and are still working hard to ensure that we are doing all we can to help negotiate plans, so no one is in danger of losing their home.
If any tenant or landlord is struggling or have any concerns, please do contact us and we may be able to discuss some ideas, objectivity or refer them to someone who may be able to help. Call us on 020 7607 1712 or e-mail [email protected].