I READ with interest a recent article within the lettings press which highlights perhaps the way that some of us need to be thinking when it comes to what Landlords and Vendors can do to assist those less fortunate.

The article highlighted a Landlord whose mother had received some treatment within a city hospital where it had dawned on the Landlord that the pay of NHS nurses despite their dedicated hard work was not that great.

What could he do to show his appreciation for services rendered?

He happened to own a property which was located within a 15 minute walk of the hospital and which he had been successfully letting at just over £750 per month.

He instructed his letting agent to cut the rent to £650 per month and only offer the one bedroom property to somebody who worked on the front line within the NHS.

The landlord who does not wish to be identified informed the local paper “I don’t want personal publicity. I’m doing it as a gesture of support and gratitude for low paid workers in a profession we all depend on whose salaries in real terms haven’t kept pace with inflation.

“Knowing how their salaries have been frozen we talked about what we could do to help.

“We’re doing this as much as anything as a statement to tell those at the lower end of the pay scale in the emergency services how much their work is appreciated by the public.

“Rather than make a donation to charity my wife and I decided to reduce the rent of our house near the hospital …. to ease the financial strain for someone who works there.

“I’ve pledged not to lower the price for the first 12 months, then put it up to the going rate when the lease comes up for renewal in a year’s time. That wouldn’t be fair. It will be capped at the present rent.

“We hope it might inspire others to do something to help alleviate the everyday cost of living for those who have had their salaries capped.”

I have come across similar situations where Landlords have kept their rent at below market prices to assist their tenants, after all their business would not exist without ‘tenants’ in the first place.

Regular readers would have seen my article a couple of weeks ago which talked about Rent Caps and this is a way for Landlords who are fortunate enough to own investment properties to be in a position to assist those less fortunate.

After all we are all in need of some assistance at some stage of our life, we can all fall on hard times and that including the wealthy.

I have come across a similar approach with some Vendors who have taken a lower offer so that a particular buyer can purchase their property.

It is not always about profit maximisation.

But profit satisfaction.

How many times have first time buyers lost out to investors who have the edge as vendors see investors as a less risky choice especially those that are cash buyers.

Yet are they really the right buyers for the property?

I read an agent’s particulars which described a village property as a possible bolthole for a future buyer.

Yet I ask, what does this do for the village community if the place is purchased by somebody who as the advert states just uses it as a bolthole?

What benefits does this bring to the village in terms of sustainability? Surely what is more important is a buyer who will cherish the property as a home and utilise the school, pub, village shop, church, recreational facilities, the list goes on in such a way that the community grows and cherishes.

And not just selling to the highest bidder seeking a weekend retreat!

I think that those with assets can and should think carefully about ways in which they can assist in the ways illustrated above.

Such a cherished legacy could be a property left in a will on the condition that the property could only be sold to residents of the village at say 25 per cent below market rate which continues to future buyers.

Stroud District Council already have a similar stipulation with the sale of ex-local authority properties which can only be sold to those from within Gloucestershire or another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There is no reason why a similar approach could not be developed within the private sector.

All it takes is a willingness to assist.

After all our future and the future of our children’s children lies in the decisions made by our forbears…