Lettings agency criticised over ‘insensitive’ remarks to tenants about rent reductions

Case of Tower Quay properties and its negotiations with tenants within a block owned by three corporate landlords reveals the minefield agents face during the Coronavirus crisis.


A lettings agency in East London has rejected criticism of its decision to tell tenants within a 170-apartment block it manages that they should pay full rent during the crisis because they are saving money by not paying for holidays, entertainment, travel, clothes and eating out.

Tower Quay properties, which describes itself as having integrity and both good communications skills and customer service, has been investigated by The Guardian newspaper.

This followed complaints by tenants at an apartment block on Somerford Grove in East London, who said they asked for a 20% rent reduction, and assurances that no tenant would be evicted during the crisis.

Their letter was sent on behalf of a group of residents who had organised themselves into a tenancy association.

Full rent

Both their requests were turned down, and Tower Properties told the tenants they should be able to afford to pay full rent. It also claimed that, because tenants were spending more time in their apartments, the landlord of the property expected it to suffer greater wear and tear.

The association said their letter was an attempt to follow government guidelines, which direct landlords and tenants to work together to find solutions during the crisis.

Tower Quay properties has been working with individual tenants, it has pointed out, offering one tenant a 20% rent reduction during May and June, if they paid full rent during July and August. The agency has apologised if its comment about holidays and clothes were construed as insensitive, but said they ‘were true’.

The Negotiator has contacted Tower Quay for comment but has not received a response.

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