We have apartments that we rent on a long term basis. We rent our apartments at a price that we think is fair. Estate agents tell us that we should charge the market price, but we feel very strongly that one shouldn’t take advantage of people.
One of these apartments is rented by an Italian family with a 15 year old daughter. During this pandemic, my husband and I decided we wanted to help them as much as possible. At first we thought of not charging the rent for the month, but then we had a better idea. I asked the wife about her work situation and she told me that the laundry where she works is closed due to the coronavirus. I answered that for the moment she needn’t worry about paying the rent, that she can pay it when they can afford to and that there was no time limit. She wanted to give me at least half of it but I answered that they will need the money to live on. She broke down crying, and we both cried on the phone. She was so grateful. We also told her that she must not hesitate to come to us at any time during this crisis if they were in need. She answered that she could not believe what she was hearing. Then my husband told her: “This is not charity but friendship”.
We also have Syrians living in several of our apartments. A tenant’s son came by on Saturday night to say they’ll pay within a week. When my husband saw his father he told him that because of the Covid-19 situation we didn’t want them to pay the rent if it meant having no money to live on. We said to pay only when they could afford it, that there was no rush. The Syrian was amazed. My husband asked him to tell the other Syrians who live in our other apartments as this applied to them as well. After a few minutes, two tenants who live in two different apartments came to show their heartfelt gratitude. That evening we received a beautiful decorated cake made by the wife of one of them.
E. S. (Malta)