RENT HELP: Kelly and her family were afraid they would lose the roof over their head when Kelly and her two eldest children lost their jobs in the same afternoon.
RENT HELP: Kelly and her family were afraid they would lose the roof over their head when Kelly and her two eldest children lost their jobs in the same afternoon.

Gatton family ‘blessed’ to keep roof over their heads

A FAMILY of five have had their world turned upside down when a nearby motel went out of business.

Single mum Kelly Church and her two eldest children, aged 18 and 21, all worked at the motel, and when coronavirus caused business to grind to a halt, the family lost most of its income.

"The three of us were laid off work about two weeks ago," Kelly said.

"There's just no work at the moment."

While Kelly's eldest child was able to keep a couple of shifts - sporadically - it would not be enough for the family to pay for food and bills - and to keep the roof over their head.

After a slow period during Christmas, work had not been busy and savings were low.

"It was starting to affect me personally because I had horses and had to have one put down a couple of days before Christmas because we were doing it really tough," she said.

"Work was just starting to pick up again and we were starting to get a few shifts a week again."

Kelly called Gatton Real Estate and told them what had happened, hoping to be granted a rent reduction.

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"I thought the worst that could happen is they would say no," she said.

Within a few hours, the request was granted, after her landlord Lauren Lucas agreed to reduce rent by nearly a quarter.

"It was that same afternoon I got a phone call back - they agreed to a reduction," she said.

"They said we would keep talking in that time and review it in a few weeks and see where we were at."

Kelly said she felt blessed but, for owner Lauren Lucas, it made sense to grant the reduction.

Lauren and her husband first bought a rental property to help themselves pay off the mortgage on their first house.

Now, with three rentals, the couple felt they could afford the rental reduction.

"It's better to have a tenant paying something than one who's paying nothing," Lauren said.

"We're very lucky that, with reduced rent, it's still paying for itself."

Since granting the reduction, tenants from one of the other two properties have left.

"We are completely out of pocket on that one now - all of a sudden, they're moving out," she said.

"But it's just going to get worst and everyone's in the situation - it's f----d."