A LANDLORD in Salisbury has been helping his tenants get through the pandemic by temporarily waiving their rent.

Alan Munro runs an accountancy firm from a building he purchased on Scots Lane.

The two-storey building which spreads across 4,500 square feet is also home to a drum studio and charities Alzheimer's Support and Digestive Cancers Europe whom he rents offices to.

However, as a result of the pandemic, the small business owner has received a £10,000 grant from the government – a financial contribution that in turn, enabled him to stop charging rent for the foreseeable future.

He said: "I got the grant through from the council because the building was closed. The purpose of this grant is to get businesses to survive and whilst I have interest costs in the mortgage I took out on the building, that doesn't use up £10,000 in three months.

"Given that the offices are closed and they don't use any electricity and stuff like that it seemed very fair to me. The scheme is not there to make a profit."

Alzheimer's Support says Alan is a supporter of the charity and often organises events and sponsored runs to raise funds.

His decision to waive their rent was "without us asking", they said.

Chief Executive Babs Harris said: "Alan is our accountant but he's also a friend of the charity and a really good guy.

"We have quite a few premises across the county and some of the landlords are big companies but Alan's been the only one to waive our rent."

And as donations are drying up and the charity estimates a loss of £7,000 a week, saving money on the building will make a difference.

"It's not a good time for us. We have 170 employees, of which 68 have been furloughed and the rest are working from home.

"We still make around 800 calls a week to see if our clients are okay, if they want to have a chat and if they need to make contact with people in their family or the community. We have online entertainment on Zoom and we're still visiting 50 clients on a one-to-one basis under strict social distancing.

"We're still doing all that but we're not getting paid and we're losing £7,000 a week so every little helps and Alan saying you don't have to pay rent is absolutely brilliant."

While legally, there is nothing stopping landlords from continuing to collect rent, Alan has this message for them: "If you are a rental business and you have received a grant ask yourself why would you collect your rent if you've got enough money to maintain the building and pay your mortgage."

  • Alzeihmer's Support, with Alan's help, was planning to open a day centre on Scots Lane. Although plans have been postponed, the project will resume after the pandemic.