It’s been a few days since I announced a slight delay to Fronted’s launch. As I mentioned in that post, we are still here and we are still moving forward. There are now more ways than ever in which we can help renters.
So I thought I would introduce a few things we are doing - one of which launches this weekend:
1. The COVID-19 renter newsletter
The advice and policies affecting renters is changing daily. For normal people (i.e. people whose jobs aren’t trawling through the news to make sense of it all) keeping up with these changes is hard. And if you don’t keep up, you could lose out.
If you rent, this newsletter is aimed at helping you understand your rights as they change during the lockdown and beyond. This newsletter will be high quality, and by high quality I mean:
- News only from verified sources;
- Summarised into key points;
- Key points analysed - so you can easily understand how they relate to you;
- Stories from other renters - so you can compare your experience and see if you are being treated fairly;
- And a story tracker which lets you know what we are keeping an eye on (you can also tell us what to look into).
The newsletter will go out every Sunday.
2. The COVID-19 rent relief planner
The overwhelming concern of people who are renting is that they cannot make rent (a recent article highlighted this could be as many as 50% of renters). If you are furloughed and earning less or self-employed and your work has dried up, it is likely COVID-19 is impacting your finances and mental health in a serious way.
For anyone who is struggling to pay rent because of COVID-19 this may help you. A lot of renters don’t know how to start constructive conversations with their landlords to reduce their rent. So we made a tool that should make the whole process easier, from approaching your landlord to managing repayments.
The first version of the relief planner will create a pre-written email which you can send to your landlord which contains:
- The current amount of rent you are paying;
- The new amount you are able to pay;
- A formal repayment plan*;
- Automated reminders to keep you on top of your money
This simple product is intended to get the ball rolling with your landlord and ease the financial burden of the coronavirus for many renters. We intend to develop this product continuously so that it can add more value to you at this time.
You can tweet me if you want to use it (we don’t have a proper sign up for it yet). The planner will launch next week.
We hope these two simple services will bring some respite and reassurance to people who are struggling. I encourage you to share this with anyone who might need help or who is experiencing some kind of housing stress who could do with some support. Thank you. Stay safe.
*It is important to note that, while some landlords are not expecting to be paid during the lockdown period, others will expect renters to make good on rent. This means for any rent payment ‘holidayed’ or ‘differed’ you will need to pay - either in higher rent fees later on or taken out of your deposit. The repayment plan feature calculates for you the impact this will have on your monthly spending.
If you need immediate support or guidance, please contact Shelter or Citizen's Advice.