We are just about to enter Lockdown Number Two and things are looking very grim for many people.
- Grim for many tenants as they face losing their job – if it has not already gone
- Grim for many landlords as if tenants can’t pay rent they don’t have an income.
It’s time to try to think differently and I have been trying to think how landlords and tenants could work together to resolve these issues.
Work not rent
One thing which has occurred to me is that – if landlords have work which needs doing, and tenants have the skills to do that work – why can’t the tenants do that work in exchange for their landlord waiving all or part of their rent? So
- If the tenant is a plumber, they could help with plumbing works in their landlord’s other properties
- If the tenant is a painter and decorator, they could do redecoration work either in their own homes or those of other tenants
- If the tenant is a gardener, they could be employed by the landlord to do gardening work in their own and other properties.
Several landlords could even get together and set up some sort of exchange.
So, if landlord A has a need for a plumber and Landlord B’s tenant is a plumber, Landlord B could refer his tenant, Tenant B to Landlord A on the basis that Tenant B would do the work for Landlord A who would then pay Landlord B for the work done. In lieu of Tenant B’s rent.
A helping hand to re-train
Larger landlords could even consider helping tenants to retrain, for example, in an area where they need help.
Provided the tenant is a good tenant they would be sorry to lose, it could be considered an investment in the future.
Bearing in mind that if the tenant fell into arrears and the landlord was forced to evict them (which could take the landlord up to a year or more in current circumstances), that could cost the landlord far, far more, that the cost of helping the tenant to re-train and become employable again.
Exchange and pay rent
Another idea is to exchange, not skills but stuff.
Maybe if Tenant A has stuff they want to get rid of and Landlord A or Landlord B has a need for it – something similar could be done.
Where the item is given to someone in the exchange system with the recipient paying its value to the tenant’s landlord. This could be anything – unwanted gifts, cakes, craft items – you name it!
Perhaps someone should set up some sort of exchange system (ideally online) for landlords and tenants – specifically designed for helping tenants with their rent?
A bonkers idea? Maybe, maybe not. What do you think?