COVID-19. HOW ONE AGENT RESPONDS

STATEMENT TO OWNERS AND TENANTS

Article written and provided by Neil Jenman from Jenman.com.au . To see the original source of this article please click here. https://jenman.com.au/covid-19-how-one-agent-responds/

Below is a statement sent by a real estate office, Hampton Peters Real Estate, in Burnie on Friday April 3, 2020, to its many ‘landlords’ and tenants.

Of course, nothing in this statement from one agent to its clientele is directly applicable to all agents and their clients.

However, given that so many people in the rental market are worried about their circumstances in these most abnormal times, we hope this statement will relieve some stress in some people and, also, let you know that it is possible for both landlords and tenants to be treated more fairly than some reports are suggesting.

If you are a property owner or tenant outside the Burnie region in NW Tasmania, and you need real estate help you are welcome to contact Jenman Support on 1800 1800 18 or email us on support@jenman.com.au.

Stay safe

Neil Jenman

RE: COVID – 19 AND ITS EFFECT ON YOUR PROPERTY, YOUR TENANCY AND EVEN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

Hello Everyone – [Property owners and those renting their properties]

First, let us say that we certainly hope you, your family and friends are safe and well.

A pandemic is certainly a worrying time; indeed, it’s a terrifying event. Right now, it’s fair to say that a hundred per cent of the population is affected in some way.

From worrying about our health – oh no, does this cough or this sore throat or even this sneeze mean I have “got it” – to losing our jobs and, by consequence, finding that our income has suddenly stopped which creates that fearful feeling in the pit of your stomach, “How am I going to live?”

Right through to the most feared financial consequences that all of us could ever think:

“Will I get kicked out on the street?”

As you will see (and hopefully understand) a fear of being “out on the street” affects us all.

Last week we sent an urgent email to you saying we were “bombarded” with people contacting us about the consequences of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We said we were physically incapable of replying to everyone andwe asked you for a few days to give us time to prepare a full statement to you.

Well, to all of you, thank you for your patience and here, now, is our statement. If there is anything we overlook that is of concern to you, please feel welcome to contact us – email is the method we prefer right now and we will do our very best to respond to you within 24 hours.

Here are the points we wish to make, and we hope these points answer any questions you may have and, also, allay any of your fears.

1. EVICTIONS

Let us be very clear: NO ONE WILL BE EVICTED who has been directly impacted by the coronavirus. This means if you have lost your job and, by natural consequence, your income or if you have a business and your sales have suddenly stopped and you are therefore unable to pay your rent, you will not be evicted.

2.EMERGENCY LEGISLATION – MAIN POINTS.

Effective immediately, the state government has placed a blanket ban on all evictions for a period of 90 days – until June 30, 2020.

Therefore, no matter what circumstances any renters are in, the law forbids them from being evicted for at least the next three months – and this period may well be extended.

The legislation does not say tenants can stop paying rent. Indeed, the advice from the government is clear: “Tenants need to continue to pay their rent during this period.”

The government has advised all tenants that this is “not a rent holiday” and that, after the emergency period is over, property owners and their agents will be able to issue tenants who are in arrears with a Notice to Vacate and will also be able to recover any rental arrears from the rental bond money as well as commencing “civil proceedings” through the courts.

3.THE LEGAL LAW IS THE MINIMUM

Hampton Peters is a ‘Jenman Approved’ real estate agency. We have committed to follow the ethical and consumer protection guidelines espoused by Australia’s trusted real estate consumer advocate and author, Neil Jenman. If you are interested, you can learn more about Neil at www.jenman.com.au.

Neil believes there are “two laws” in business and, indeed, in life. First, there is the legal law and, second, there is the moral law. For example, it is not illegal to betray one’s life-partner, but it is usually immoral.

Accordingly – and after discussions with Neil – we feel the current emergency legislation does not go far enough to alleviating the fears of our tenants, nor does it do anything to protect the security of our property owners, most of whom also have “payments” to make in the form of “mortgages”.

If any of our tenants ever think landlords can be tough, you probably never had to deal with banks. Banks can be ruthless and immoral. All of them and often.

Just check what banks have done to some of our most decent and hard-working farmers or many once thriving businesses – many of whom were not in arrears, but the banks, at their whim, decided to “call in their loans”.

Anyone who has a loan with a bank and thinks their loan is for a set period of years is mistaken. The fine print in loan agreements says banks can ask for their money back in as little as 30 days, even if borrowers are not in arrears. Frightening, for sure.

Anyway, that’s enough ‘ranting’ about banks. Due to the recent Royal Commission, thankfully, banks are now more concerned about their image. They have had such bad publicity that most are keen to create the appearance of doing the right thing.

At Hampton Peters we believe it is not the “right thing” to act against anyone who is suffering financial hardship through no fault of their own. Not now, not in 90 days from now, not ever.

And, of course, we know that no one – be they the owners of a property with a bank mortgage or the tenants of a property with a lease – is personally responsible for the current pandemic. To say – or act – otherwise would not just be absurd, it would, in our opinion, be highly immoral.

So, regardless of what the “law” says we must do, we believe the law should be the minimum standard we follow.

We feel strongly that the current emergency legislation does not offer enough financial security or emotional comfort to either owners or tenants or, last of all, us as agents.

4.THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY RESPONSE

At the risk of being accused of “denigrating the real estate industry” or some fellow agents in general, we wish to advise you – our landlords and tenants – that all of us at Hampton Peters feel sickened by the general response of the real estate industry.

If you have seen, read or heard some of the statements made by the real estate institutes or some of the big name franchise brands and these have caused you any distress or worry – as they have caused to so many Australians – we wish to state on record now that we, at Hampton Peters disassociate ourselves from all such distressing and upsetting statements (including some revolting and heartless threats against tenants) that are currently being circulated.

Statements such as this which is lifted from an email sent from a real estate office in Hobart to its tenants:

“You must note that this is not a rent-free holiday. Any rent you do not pay during this pandemic will be recouped once this emergency legislation is retracted, or after six months, whichever is sooner. If no arrangements are made with your Property Manager, although a Notice to Vacate can not be served you will receive consistent phone calls from our business chasing your rent until such time as a Notice to Vacate will be served and the matter referred to the Magistrates Court for immediate eviction.”

Charming stuff, eh?

Well, if this threatening statement has bothered you or anyone you know, don’t let it. As well as being malicious, it’s legally wrong. Tenants cannot be kicked out of their homes after six months if the emergency legislation is still in force.

So, the words “whichever is sooner” are not just wrong, but the opposite is more likely.

The director of the agency who sent this email was upset when one of his tenants posted it on the internet. He struck back by denigrating the tenant and threatening the website owners with defamation. He said, “The tenant should have contacted our business if the email caused distress.”

So, sure, if someone threatens you, then, according to this agent, you should not seek help elsewhere or, worse, make their threat public, you should contact the person who threatened you.

At Hampton Peters we will never issue threats, not to anyone for any reason. We have a complete “no threats” policy. Indeed, it works both ways, if someone threatened us, we would not only not respond to them, we would refuse to have any more contact with the person (or company) making the threats.

So, please, under no circumstances should you feel threatened or harassed in any way as a client or customer of Hampton Peters. Even if we inadvertently say something in the wrong manner, please be assured that our intention always remains rock solid: To treat all decent and honest people in a manner that is not only fair but more than fair.

As you will see in a moment, we intend to do more than the minimum the law dictates.

Obviously, in these uncertain times different people respond in different ways. Fear is a terrible emotion that often causes people to act in ways they later regret. As agents, we can understand that all agents – just like all their customers – feel some level of fear at losing their income too.

After all, if tenants don’t pay their rent, agents can’t earn any income. Perhaps it was this fear that caused the agent in Hobart to write such a heartless email. For that reason – and not for the fear of defamation – we do not intend to name that agency.

Further, the agent in Hobart is not alone. One of Australia’s largest franchise groups sent an email that reportedly said, “If you don’t pay rent, we’ll evict you in two weeks.”

The head office of the franchise group then said the email was a “mistake” and was only sent by one office. Later, it was learned that other offices had sent the same email.

Perhaps the worst case we’ve heard came direct from a landlord. A mum in Brisbane with three children, two of whom are autistic, discovered that her husband had lost his job due to the pandemic. She emailed the agent saying she would now struggle to pay the full rent on her sole income. She was not asking to pay zero, she was simply asking if she could pay what she could afford after having fed her family.

The agent sent her request on to the landlord. It seems, in his reply, the landlord accidentally hit the ‘Reply All’ key which meant the tenant saw his response which read, “Tell them to get F’ed”. He then told the agent to be sure to “blacklist” the tenant.

If you’ve seen any such emails or read such headlines as: ‘A Big Screw You: Landlords warn tenants full rent is required,’ we urge you to ignore them. To our knowledge, there has not been a single tenant evicted in Australia since the start of the pandemic and certainly not because of the pandemic itself.

Do not worry. The threats you may be hearing about from all levels of the real estate industry are “hollow” – a gigantic bluff, merely intimidation from bullies.

Anything nasty that you have heard about will not be happening at Hampton Peters. No way, not under any conditions.

And, remember this: Even if the law allowed us to be unfair, we will never deliberately act unfairly towards anyone with whom we do business.

As estate agents, we are often in the middle and yes, sometimes landlords ask us to take action that may be unpleasant and yes, some tenants do act in ways that are in keeping with the spirit of their rental agreements. But such cases are, by far, the exception not the rule, so there is no way we are going to send nasty emails or stress our landlords or tenants with threats when maybe only one person in a hundred does the wrong thing.

In our experience, all our landlords and tenants are decent, fair and reasonable people.

Quite frankly, if they weren’t decent people, we would not want them in our lives.

So please, we hope these words relieve you of any stress – no threats, no heavy-handed tactics. Any words that you see coming from the real estate industry at large – especially if they are threatening or heartless or cruel – are not our words.

These are times for understanding, for compassion and for care for one another. As the saying goes, “We are all in this together,” which surely means that all of us, no matter where we rank on the ‘totem pole’ of life, need to consider the other person’s viewpoint as well as our own.

If you are a tenant and you have lost your job and you can’t pay rent, that’s a terrible stress that’s been thrust upon you. We understand.

We hope, also, that you understand the ‘knock-on’ effect if you are not able to pay your rent. It means, of course, that, without your rent, the owner of the property (the landlord) may be unable to pay any loan on the property. Which means the bank then chases (and threatens) your landlord. As you will see in a moment, imagine if your landlord has also lost his or her job and main source of income.

Understanding, that’s all we ask for now.

And then, realising that we are all in this together, we need to ask (and answer) the question: “How can we all do our best to help each other?”

If you have no income which is how you have usually paid your rent, then, obviously, you can’t pay rent. We do not want to evict anyone in such circumstances.

But, you may then ask, “Well, if I can’t pay my rent and that means the owner of the property can’t pay the loan on the property, will the bank then re-possess the property and sell it to which means I will be kicked out?”

It may seem that way and that’s what may happen in normal times. But these are abnormal times, not normal times.

So, let’s follow that line of normal thinking a bit further and see how it does not work in today’s abnormal times: If the bank did seize the home, how are they going to sell it with a tenant (you) inside who is not paying rent and who is not allowed (by law) to be kicked out? Who is going to buy the home? A family looking for a home to live in? Well, obviously not, as they will not be allowed to move in. An investor? What investor wants to take out a loan to buy a home which gives no income. No, no, no.

One thing we can say in these abnormal times is this: The normal no longer applies. So that obviously means that you should not worry as you would normally do.

If you are a decent and genuine person who has lost your job and your income in these abnormal times, you have had enough trauma already, you do not need the added trauma of the fear of eviction hanging over you.

So, please do not fear.

We are not going to evict you – or anyone – under such circumstances.

All we ask, in return for us being “more than fair” with you is that you, please, do the same with us and everyone else involved with your home – especially the owner of your home, the landlord.

4.“LANDLORD” – WRONG NAME

With or without the current pandemic, the word “landlord” is inappropriate in today’s world. A ‘landlord’ was first used in English feudal times; it often referred to “Lords” who owned huge swathes of land and homes which were rented out to peasants who were later given the more dignified title of “tenants”.

Today, because of the continued use of the word “landlord” there is a false impression created in society that “landlords” are just like those ‘land lords’ of the olden days and the tenants, well, they are the poor downtrodden folk.

If you are tenant, you may well have experienced being treated as a “second class citizen” at times in your home-occupying or seeking life, rather than as you should be treated, as a “customer” who pays a large amount to occupy a property. And, if you are a “landlord” many people wrongly assume you to be extremely wealthy.

To our knowledge, no one has done any research on the topic of the wealth of landlords compared with the wealth of tenants, but we can assure you that many of today’s landlords have more financial struggles than the tenants who occupy their homes.

In many cases, tenants are financially better off than landlords.

At this stage, while the government has offered some financial relief to tenants, albeit it temporary and insignificant for some genuine cases, there has been no such relief offered for landlords.

We are hopeful there will soon be financial relief for landlords directly impacted by the pandemic.

Imagine the situation – and there must be thousands of such cases as this: A “landlord” owns an investment property and their tenant is now unable to pay rent due to the pandemic and, to compound the financial stress, the “landlord” has also lost his or her job which means the main source of income has gone.

With no rent, the loan payments to the bank for their investment property cannot be made and, with no personal income, the loan payments on their family home also cannot be made. Imagine how emotionally devastated such people will be feeling right now.

Who will help such people?

Well, as you will see, we will do our best to help everyone. As we will do our best to help anyone adversely financially affected by this horrifying pandemic.

5. WHO ARE YOU? DIFFERENT “TYPES”

While a hundred per cent of the population is affected by the pandemic, different people are, of course, affected in different ways. Some are suffering worse than others.

Last week we asked you to give us time to prepare a thought-out statement in response to the pandemic and, as mentioned at the start, we thank you sincerely for your patience.

Since this crisis began, we have realised that, as far as our rental properties are concerned, there are five categories or ‘types’ of people.

TYPE 1. THE FORTUNATE PAIR.

This is where neither the tenant nor the landlord has suffered any major financial catastrophe, at least so far. It may come as this crisis, according to the Prime Minister (on Sydney radio on Friday April 3) said, it could be “more than six months”.

But, for now, in cases where neither the owner nor the occupier is suffering, everything will proceed as normal except that period inspections will not occur during the crisis.

If we do need to see inside the property or if emergency repairs need to be made, we will, of course, ensure that the safety of all parties is our paramount concern.

You may have heard rumours that some ‘rogue tenants’ (as they are known) are not paying rent even though there has been no change in their circumstances. They are using the coronavirus as an excuse.

We are sure this has not happened to us and to owners who are worried about such an occurrence, this is when you will discover the quality of our tenant selection procedures.

Of course, we are not infallible, but we do our best to ensure that all people who rent our owners’ homes are of high standards of integrity and honesty.

Now it may become clear to some of our owners why we often urged you to wait a few extra weeks for the right tenant rather than suffer a few extra months with the wrong tenant.

We are confident that our tenants are trustworthy, however, if we do find any incidents such as described, we will take the appropriate action on behalf of our owners. Indeed, we have received advice that falsely using the pandemic to gain a monetary advantage is a criminal offence with possible imprisonment as the penalty.

So, if we were in the unfortunate position of uncovering any fraudulent claims, then, yes, we would contact the police after seeking further legal advice.

But, all in all, we hope that those in ‘Type 1’ continue to stay healthy in their personal lives and secure in their working lives.

Of course, if there are any changes – or even changes looming – in your life that will impact your ability to pay rent if you are a tenant or your ability to offer the home for rent as an owner, please let us know as soon as you possibly can.

TYPE 2. TENANT IS SUFFERING.
No one likes to receive bad news. But also, no one likes to share bad news.

Some of the most decent people are often reluctant to complain or ask for help. They feel they will be labelled excuse makers or, worse, whingers.

So, they attempt to battle on, often under great personal and emotional pressure. And then along comes an email from a real estate agent that says, “Don’t bury your head in the sand and think that the problem will go away because it won’t.”

Such rude and insensitive comments followed up by CAPS (which literally means “yelling” in writing) that say, “TALK TO US!” tends to have the opposite effect.

Please, if you are suffering – to any extent – with a complete or partial loss of income and you are concerned that you will find it hard to pay rent as normal, contact us. You can do so, if you wish, in one of two ways. You can email our property management department.

Secondly, if you require more privacy, you can contact one of the two directors of Hampton Peters – either Peter Bull or Jenayah Hampton.

We will speak with you, in the first instance, in complete confidence. We assure you that no one, other than us, will be informed of your situation without your permission.

Please note: many of our calls are recorded and we are liable for any commitments we make to you. That’s fine by us.

What will we do for you?

Well, we are not going to have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to individual problems which will, almost certainly, require different solutions.

If you have lost all or part of your income and you are unable to pay some or all your rent, we will come to some arrangement which is the best and fairest possible for all concerned.

At this stage, without knowing each person’s individual and specific circumstances, we cannot give you many specific answers other than that we promise to do our best and be fair to all concerned.

We can try, however, to give you hypothetical examples:

Example 1: A tenant has lost their entire income and has no access to any government assistance or any assistance from anyone, anywhere in the foreseeable future.

In this case, the law forbids you to be issued a notice to vacate. You are safe, for now.

But, as many agents are shouting aloud, you will live with the threat of eviction hanging over you once the emergency legislation no longer applies.

We would seek to remove both the pressure to pay now and we would also remove the fear that you may have at being evicted when the crisis is over.

We would likely say this to you:

You cannot afford to pay anything, and you have no way, now, of being able to find money to pay any rent.

Therefore, we will not expect rent from you. You can continue to live in the home and pay nothing.

Of course, as many agents constantly point out, this is not a “rent free holiday” and you will be building a debt for yourself for the future. That’s a horrible thought.

However, if you assure us that, should you find a new job or be offered some financial assistance that you will then start to pay something towards your rent and, you also assure us that, once the crisis is past you will seek to pay whatever you can comfortably afford off your arrears in addition to your normal rent, we would most likely accept this arrangement.

But what if the following applied to you:

Your normal income is one thousand dollars a week net. Your rent is $300 per week and it costs you $700 to meet your family expenses. This means, of course, that even when the crisis is over and you are earning a thousand dollars a week again, it may be impossible for you to pay arrears. You can’t do the impossible. In such circumstances – and all the scenarios, of course, assume that we are dealing with genuine and honest people – we would recommend that your arrears be forgiven.

Of course, that makes sure you are okay. It helps you wonderfully.

But what about the landlord?

If the crisis lasts six months or even 12 months or, let’s hope not, 18 months to two years, how can the owner of the home possibly survive without having up to two years income?

If your rent is $300 per week that’s a total of $30,000 in two years.

And, remember, the owner of the home must pay interest as well.

What we sincerely hope would happen would be that the banks would be forced (as they are most unlikely to volunteer) to do for the owners what the owners are doing for the tenants – namely, forgive the interest and the repayments that need to be made while there was no rental coming in.

At the very least – and we are confident that we could assist in this regard – we, at Hampton Peters would approach the bank (or lending institution) concerned and plead the case for the owner.

The banks would be asked – and would almost certainly agree (as some are already doing) – to suspend all demand for payments from the owner for as long as the crisis lasts or for as long as the tenant is incapable of paying.

Example 2: A tenant has lost part of their income.

In this case, the same as the above would apply except, of course, that the tenant would agree to reduced payment rather than no payment during the crisis.

TYPE 3. TENANT WISHES TO VACATE VOLUNTARILY
Many tenants are down-sizing due to the pandemic. They are looking for something cheaper to rent.

If this applied with your property, we would first make sure the tenant was suffering genuine hardship due to the pandemic, in which case the legislation allows them to break their lease without penalty.

This is when we hope the owner has been a “good landlord” to the tenant during the lease. In that case, we would say, “The owners have always done the right thing by you and even, at times, done more than they were legally required to do. They have helped you in the past and we hope that you will help them now that they need help.”

Assuming the tenant agrees, we would do our best to minimise the vacancy period. Also, as far as inspections are concerned – with people terrified of contracting the virus from a “stranger”, we plan to do with our rental properties what we are doing with many of our sale properties – arranging a video of the entire premises which can be shown to prospective tenants (or buyers). In some cases, the tenant may be able to able to video the interior of the home and email us that video.

If the tenant can not or will not prepare a video, well, this is where you will discover the depth of our determination to look after our owners as well as our tenants.

It costs about one hundred dollars to buy a ‘Hazmat suit’ (which, unfortunately, is not re-usable). We would find a photographer or a videographer (or do it ourselves) who is prepared to enter the premises in the protective suit and make the necessary video.

When it comes to problems, at Hampton Peters we believe in solutions. We constantly tell ourselves, “There must be a way to solve this problem, we must find it.”

What we do not like having to do, which we learned during our study of ethics since being involved in the ‘Jenman Approved’ method is that, sometimes, ethics is not a matter of a choice between right or wrong, sometimes it’s a choice between two wrongs and the decision that then needs to be made is to chose what’s known as the “lesser wrong”. Awful times can mean unpleasant decisions are all that’s available to us. Of course, we will make no major decision without first discussing the various options with the parties to be affected by our decisions.

TYPE 4. OWNER IN TROUBLE.
In a surprising number of cases, it’s the owners who have lost their jobs and their incomes and the tenants who are safe and who’ve kept their incomes.

In these cases, the owners may need to sell their properties. It could literally mean that the owners need the money from the sale of their home in order to survive themselves.

In such situations, we would ask the tenants to show their compassion and help the owners to sell their home. The best result would be if we could find another investor to buy the home in which case nothing would really change for the tenant.

If, however, the home was bought by a family who wanted to live in it, then we would make sure that the tenants had found another property that suited them before they were asked to move. Indeed, in such a situation the tenants may be better off as rents are falling in some situations now.

Once again, however, we would deal with each situation on an individual case-by-case basis.

TYPE 5. THE UNFORTUNATE PAIR.
This is the opposite to ‘Type 1 – the Fortunate Pair’. In this case, both the owner and the tenant are in severe financial crisis due to the pandemic.

By now, after having read this far, we hope you know what we’d do in this situation – the same basic procedure as in all situations. It’s our simple three step formula.

6. SUMMARY

First, we assess each case individually.

Secondly, we look for solutions that benefit all parties. While we are paid by the owners of the properties and we therefore have a fiduciary duty to act in their best interests, this does not mean we will work against the interests of tenants. As mentioned earlier, we do not see tenants as “tenants” but as customers.

If you are a tenant you pay money to the owner via us, the agent. This means, in effect, that you are buying the accommodation – and that makes you a very important person (VIP) in our world.

Third, we will decide on the best possible result. And please understand that in some cases, it may be literally impossible for us to please everyone. Events such as this pandemic are out of our control as much as they are out of your control.

Remember, we ask for your understanding and, hopefully, once your own safety is secure, you will be kind enough to consider the safety and needs of others.

If there is anything in this statement you feel we have overlooked or if you have any further questions, we urge you to contact us.

If you are suffering from too much emotional stress and you are struggling to cope, we urge you to call some of the professional groups that can assist you. The phone number for Lifeline is 13 11 14. The number for Beyond Blue is 1300 22 46 36.

7. OUR BUSINESS

Finally, please allow us to speak about ourselves.

Like so many small businesses, this pandemic hit us unexpectedly. At first, we felt as if we were hit by a freight train.

Selfishly, our early thoughts were about our own survival. What’s going to happen to us? How can we make sales? How can we find houses for sale?

Well, fortunately, many of the common procedures used by agents, and that have now been banned under new laws, are those we either never used or we abandoned long ago.

We have never allowed ‘free-for-all’ inspections on homes.

We have always qualified our buyers to ensure that, when we bring someone through a home, we know who they are, what they are looking for and how much they can pay. No nosey neighbours, sticky-beaks or – and yes, it happens (just ask the police) – burglars ‘casing’ local homes for future robberies.

When dealing with sellers and buyers we have never yelled at them with hammers in our hands – meaning, auction. We have always ensured we study negotiation and that is why we reject so many of the foolish methods in real estate – which, as all agents know, are not designed to look after consumers but to look after agents.

For example, the purpose of holding ‘free-for-all’ open-inspections is not to find buyers, it’s to find more sellers. All agents know that to be true.

So, because we have rejected for years what has now been banned – and because we have used methods that we know are in the best interests of our sellers who pay us and our buyers who want to be treated with courtesy and respect when making what, to most, is the biggest purchase of their lives, we have discovered, to our relief, that we are more than prepared to handle these pandemic conditions.

While we are being told that many agents are saying “the government has made it impossible for us to sell homes”, we are finding it’s easier to sell homes in many cases.

So, having set aside our initial fears, we now find ourselves confronted with a new fear: what happens if, because of our years of being trained in methods that are now compulsory and if some of our competitors are throwing their hands in the air, we not only survive but thrive?

Will we look bad if we do good in bad times? Look how the Victorian Premier and his colleagues are about to get a huge pay rise – how bad does that look when millions of people are struggling? Not good.

We would like you to know the following:

Our first aim with our business is the same as with our health – we want to survive.

We are extremely grateful for the support shown to us by the local community here in North West Tassie. Your loyalty to us – even from those who have never been our customers – is the greatest “payment” we receive. Far better than any commission we ever earn.

So, should we find ourselves in the fortunate position of “thriving” during a period when so many of our fellow Tasmanians and Australians are struggling, we have decided we will use half of any excess profits in the following manner:

We will, in certain cases, offer personal financial help to members of our community who are in deep trouble. So, when we asked earlier “who will help you?”, in some cases, if we can afford it and if there is no alternative, we will personally assist you. Whether it be a loan, or a gift will depend on the circumstances. We are aware – and more grateful than you will ever know – that the reason for the success of our business has been the support of our customers and the community.

We are not going to ask for your support in good times and having received it from you and become successful, then turn around and reject you in bad times when you need help.

We will always do all we humanly can to help you and yes, even if it means reaching into our own pockets to do so. After all, without your support we would not be in a position now to offer you our support. Thank you so much.

We will donate half of any extra profits we make (above our normal trading results for the past year) to the amazing people at the Burnie Hospital who, in some cases, are risking their lives to protect ours. These are the forgotten heroes in this crisis when there is so much negativity around.

Even though they are our competitors, we are willing to share some of our consumer protection ideas and methods with other agents in our area. Although we are in opposition, when it comes to the health, the safety and the well-being of our community, we feel that all of us need to be united. While we are bitterly disappointed in the response and the attitude of many people in the real estate industry, we have not seen such appalling behaviour to any great extent in our district.

Finally, if there is anything you feel we can do to help you or our community in any way – and we seriously mean “in any way” – we urge you to let us know.

Thank you so much for your patience and your support. All of us at Hampton Peters are so appreciative of the wonderful response we are getting from so many of the people in our community.

As we said in our last message to you last week, “this too shall pass”, so perhaps, once all this is over, we might all start being a bit kinder to each other.

Maybe, also, more of us might realise that the best things in life are not things, they are people.

At Hampton Peters, we care about all people. And we stand ready to prove it to you.

Thank you and please please, stay safe.

Jenayah Hampton, Peter Bull and all of us at Hampton Peters.

Click (07) 3356 2000 to call.
Leo Gurney