Facebook message 2nd April from Gavin St Pier about letting in particular and debt in general

Last night I was messaged by an individual (‘they’) in distress, asking if I could call them. I did. They were in floods of tears. They had been a tenant for a couple of years during which they had always paid the rent on time.

Last month, as their income had been so squeezed, they were not able to make the rent for the first time. They engaged with their landlord who, on reflection, asked the tenant to leave by the end of this month – hence the tears. I am well aware that some landlords will have their own commitments to meet, not least from the banks (to whom we are talking about this issue) but not all will. Please, if you are a landlord and you are in position to do so, show as much compassion and flexibility as you can. If you are a tenant, know your rights – talk to Citizens’ Advice or others – landlords can bluster and bully but they cannot by law throw you out on the streets overnight – they will need to go through a legal process to obtain vacant possession.

More generally, this is a time for us all to talk to each other and work together to try and reach agreements that work for both sides on debts owed. If you owe money and can afford to pay your bills, please do so promptly – the person or business to whom you owe money may well be under more pressure than you, so don’t just make assumptions about anyone else’s or any business’ capacity to weather this storm. If you owe money and can’t afford to pay it, talk to those to whom you owe money – they may be able to offer you some flexibility. If you are owed money, talk to the person who owes you and so on. #GuernseyTogether