The unexpected change in Jane Sayner’s living condition came about in September of 2020, when her landlord, the multimillionaire John Perrett, passed away. Jane, who had lived in the St. Albans neighbourhood of Melbourne for more than twenty years, found herself in a scenario that was neither the typical need to extend her lease nor the requirement to look for a new home.
When Jane, who was 75 years old at the time, heard that John had passed away, she experienced a range of feelings. In spite of his wealth, John Perrett had made the decision not to get married and did not have any children. The decision he made thirty years earlier to get a kidney transplant allowed him to live an additional decade, and he wanted to show his gratitude by leaving a sizeable chunk of his estate—approximately $18.6 million—to the Nephrology Department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Jane Sayner, on the other hand, was able to count herself among the lucky people who benefited from John’s kindness. She was one of his two long-term tenants, and as a result, she was able to purchase the two-bedroom apartment that she had been renting from him for AUD$250 per week and become its owner. The condo, which had been bequeathed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, was able to fetch a price of AUD$400,000 when it was put up for sale.
Jane’s reaction to the unexpected inheritance was a mixture of devastation and relief. The fact that John Perrett chose to leave his fortune to charity, in particular to the medical facility that had been instrumental in elongating his life, is illustrative of his unwavering devotion to the advancement of this field. Jane, who had received a peculiar phone call from John, asking for her full name, was familiar with John’s humanitarian objectives because she had heard about them in the past. Nevertheless, the fact that she now owned the house that she and her family had lived in for more than two decades was a huge and unanticipated turn of events.
Through the course of her time there, Jane had completely personalised the flat. She had completely renovated it, turning it into a cosy and inviting environment, and she had even added a garden in the backyard. John, who was more than simply a landlord, had urged her to personalise the space so that it felt more like home. The conventional tenant-landlord dynamic was not present in their relationship; instead, they were friends.
The depth of their friendship was demonstrated by the fact that John would often bring up his father in the course of their chats. On occasion, Jane provided him with her culinary creations. John, who was an only kid and didn’t have his own family, discovered peace and friendship in Jane because of these circumstances. It is highly possible that his decision to leave her in the unit was influenced by their friendship.
In spite of the tragic circumstances surrounding John’s death, Jane must have been overcome with feelings of tremendous gratitude and relief. After so many years of living there as if it were her own, the house could now be considered legally hers. The memory of their one-of-a-kind connection lived on not only in the property but also in the recollections of a friendship that went beyond the conventional limits that separate landlords and tenants in most situations.