It has been uplifting to hear the many positive stories that have been emerging since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hearing the term the ‘Great British Spirit’ being used often these days to describe how the nation is pulling together to support each other and ‘get through’ these unprecedented times.
Compassionate stories from within the private rented sector (PRS) have been reported throughout the past months, such as landlords offering free accommodation to key workers or immediately informing their agent at the start of lockdown that they would like to temporarily waive the rent for their tenants.
Various ways a landlord can support their tenant
Age UK is asking landlords to contact their older tenants to check if they are alright, even if they already reached out to them at the start of the pandemic. An older tenant may not have any friends or family close to them, and with today’s transitional neighbourhoods they often will not know the people around them. Older tenants may also have an underlying health condition that the landlord is unaware of. We all know that they are more at risk of COVID-19, therefore a landlord can be an avenue of much needed support during these current times.
The charity is also suggesting that landlords create a ‘buddy-up’ system for their older tenants. If a landlord knows of another tenant nearby that is happy to offer local support, then it is recommended that the landlord puts them in touch with each other so they can help with food shopping, collections of prescriptions, posting items etc.
Create a rent plan if possible
Landlords are also being urged to create a rent plan for their older tenant. If the landlord is able to, a small change in rent payment for an agreed number of months can make a huge difference to their tenant. Even a change to the date that rent is due can be beneficial.
Age UK also advises speaking to the older tenant about any essential repairs or maintenance that might need tending to in the coming months. Even though it may not be possible for some work to be carried out due to social distancing measures, it will be reassuring for the tenant to know that most repairs are still possible. Just ensuring the channel of communication is open, will be a comfort in itself.