Catherine Phillips

Australia’s NICEST landlord?

PHOTO: Catherine Phillips (pictured) is getting a lot of praise for reducing the rent of the tenant at her rental property who was going to a difficult time financially

  • Couple is getting huge praise for their kindness after reducing tenant’s rent 
  • They did so despite their mortgage repayments rising twice in recent weeks
  • Tenant is a single mother with three children who is doing it tough financially

A couple that reduced the rent at a property they own is getting huge praise for their kindness, despite their own mortgage repayments rising in recent weeks.

Catherine Phillips posted on Facebook group The Kindness Pandemic that she and her husband bought a rental property last year.

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The Melbourne-based couple’s rental property is in regional Victoria, and though Ms Phillips has not met the tenant, she knows she is a single mother with three children.

The property has solar panels but only ducted gas heating, which led Ms Phillips to do something to help with rising gas bills.

She decided to put in ‘a split system as an alternate to the rising prices of gas ducted heating, so it can be more cost effective for the tenant’.

But when she called her real estate agent to tell them of her plan, they said the tenant was struggling with cost of living and may have to move.

‘So we made a reduction in the rent for the next six months,’ said Ms Phillips, who is a support worker.

‘I’m sure not many are reducing rent with interest rates rising, but it could be a huge help for someone struggling to keep a roof over their family’s head.’

Her post has been read tens of thousands of times and has had more than a thousand comments praising her and her husband’s generosity.

‘So beautiful to see good landlords exist with rental properties. The struggle for far too many families is real,’ one wrote.

‘Such a powerful story,’ wrote another. ‘It is pleasing when tenants are responsible but I found, generosity is enduring!’

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But some people reported they had bad experiences with their own landlord.

‘I appreciate you doing this for her!! Mine just raised rent $100 AND said any appliance repair etc under $200 is my responsibility now,’ one wrote.

Another wrote ‘What a kind and selfless human. I have rented my whole life, moved 26 times and have had only one landlord as kind as you.’

Catherine Phillips posted on Facebook group The Kindness Pandemic (pictured) about how she had reduced the rent for a tenant

Catherine Phillips posted on Facebook group The Kindness Pandemic (pictured) about how she had reduced the rent for a tenant

With the rising cost of groceries, petrol and power, some people in rental properties (pictured) are finding it tough to pay their rent

With the rising cost of groceries, petrol and power, some people in rental properties (pictured) are finding it tough to pay their rent

There were also comments showing some other landlords are as conscientious as Ms Phillips.

One woman wrote that ‘We are keeping our rent down too because she is looking after the place.

‘We just put in a better air conditioner and are looking at better heating for next year. I am even thinking of solar panels. Every bit helps.

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‘Without tenants we wouldn’t be landlords.’

Another said that ‘in the past I’ve rented at below market rates to help people. It’s not just about money, is it – it’s about being a decent person.’

House rent rises in Australia’s capital cities during the past year

SYDNEY: Up 21.3 per cent to $814.30 a week

MELBOURNE: Up 9.5 per cent to $558.80 a week

BRISBANE: Up 21.8 per cent to $607.60 a week

PERTH: Up 12.4 per cent to $582.20 a week

ADELAIDE: Up 19.1 per cent to $524.20 a week

CANBERRA: Up 8.3 per cent to $771.40 a week

DARWIN: Up 7.9 per cent to $663.60 a week

HOBART: Up 10.4 per cent to $533.40 a week

CAPITAL CITY AVERAGE: Up 16.3 per cent to $657 a week

Source: SQM Research median weekly house rents data showing annual increases in the year to week ending June 4, 2022

Ms Phillips said that though she and her husband are not wealthy, they felt they had to do what they could to help their tenant in tough economic times.

She also used her post to encourage others to do what they can to help out.

‘If you are in the position to help someone out, please do,’ she said.

‘We aren’t rich, we live pay packet to pay packet and always have, but I feel grateful we could do something to help.’

She said that tenants going through tough times should ‘let your agent and landlords know if your struggling, I found out by accident otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it until the tenant gave notice’.

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