Calls for support for landlords and tenants

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has renewed calls for a financial support package for landlords and tenants.

The calls come in the wake of the Chancellor’s announcement on furlough schemes in local lockdown areas.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of NRLA says: “The local furlough payments are not going to be enough to help renters who are already behind with their rent because of the impact of Covid.

“The impact of local lockdowns makes it even more important that the Chancellor acts without further delay to bring in a package that will help tenants and landlords to sustain tenancies.

“Landlords cannot be expected to subsidise tenants who are struggling to meet arrears indefinitely.

“The government should develop tenant hardship loans such as those in Scotland and Wales to support renters in England who have built arrears since lockdown began in March but are not in receipt of benefits.  

“There also needs to be extra support for those who rely on benefits to meet their housing costs.”

An analysis by the NRLA suggests that total rent arrears in England in the private sector due to Covid-19 could be up to £437 million.

The NRLA is calling for:

*A hardship loan scheme under which tenants can access interest free, government guaranteed loans to cover rent arrears built since the pandemic began. Such loans would be provided specifically to cover such arrears and paid directly to the landlord with repayments by tenants made over the course of several years.

*Government top-up payments for existing mechanisms such as the Hardship Fund or Discretionary Housing Payments to help benefits tenants pay down arrears accrued through no fault of their own.

*A commitment from government to keep the Local Housing Allowance at the 30th percentile after March next year and preferably ensure that it covers average rents in any given area.