Build-to-rent (BTR) specialist lettings agency Ascend has collected an impressive 99% of its rent during the coronavirus crisis on behalf of its landlords.
The Manchester-based company beat the industry average of 95% between January and September by offering its 8,000 tenants flexible repayment plans.
Its claim echoes recent comments by build-to-rent pioneer Gatehouse Bank, whose Chief Commercial Officer Paul Stockwell recently said that its BTR arrears peaked at 8% in April but had reduced to 2% in July.
“Careful management and helping tenants through payment plans has brought arrears in line with long run averages, with only a fraction written-off as bad debt,” he said.
Ascend says it worked closely with them to ease their concerns and offer flexible terms if needed. These, the company says, have been mainly small, short-term deferred rental payments with payment plans to bring rent back up to date quickly while the team also directed some tenants towards funding sources such as self-employed grants.
Up to 15% of its residents had problems paying rent at the peak of the crisis, so the company agreed payment plans with those worst affected and then helped them get their payments back up to date.
MD Ged McPartlin (pictured) says he knows how tough this year has been for many people, without adding housing worries into the mix.
“We understand just how vital it is to provide high quality rental homes in the areas where they’re most needed – and to protect those renters who might require extra support from time to time,” says McPartlin.
“By putting our residents’ individual circumstances first and being flexible in our approach, we’ve worked hard to collect almost all invoiced rent.
“This is testament to our track record as a leading build to rent specialist, our knowledge of the sector and what people need from an agent, especially at difficult times.”
Ascend rents two to four-bedroom apartments and houses in developments ranging from 50–100 properties and has offices in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Wolverhampton and London.
Read more: How to deal with rent arrears during Covid.