Funding for renters, justice for landlords

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Update: Courts open with bailiff restrictions

Following successful lobbying by the NRLA, courts have reopened across England and Wales. During the national lockdown in England, there are restrictions on enforcement of possessions until at least 31 May. In Wales, restrictions are in place until the end of March and will be reviewed every three weeks. For more information see our resources section.

Campaign Overview

The Government has made changes to notice periods in England, with six months now the default for possession cases, with exceptions for cases of antisocial behaviour, domestic abuse, and arrears of six months' or more, plus Right to Rent breaches and false statements. Similar changes have also been made in Wales, with exceptions only for antisocial behaviour.

With private landlords now facing waits of up to two years to regain possession, they cannot be expected to continue to foot the bill for government failure. There must now be a plan to support households to pay their bills and to compensate landlords fully for their lost income. 

We are calling for direct financial support into the sector, to support landlords and tenants who have faced arrears during the pandemic and through no fault of their own. While measures through the welfare system have been welcome, more needs to be done to alleviate Covid-related arrears, and help landlords and tenants sustain tenancies.

The NRLA is lobbying hard on your behalf but it’s vital that individual landlords also make their voices heard by contacting your MP.

Key asks

The NRLA is calling for the Government to support the private rented sector through:

  1. Interest free, government guaranteed hardship loans for tenants. Providing tenants with a means to pay off COVID-related arrears will sustain tenancies and remove any risk of eviction as furlough is removed. These should be paid directly to landlords and should cover all arrears accumulated since the start of the pandemic. A similar scheme has already been introduced in Wales.
  2. Tenant hardship grants through local authorities. Where the tenant is in receipt of benefits, we are calling for arrears to be covered through ring-fenced funding for councils.

  3. Keeping LHA at 30th percentile at the minimum – and ideally raise it to cover median market rents – to help ensure tenancies can be sustained.

  4. Suspending the Shared Accommodation Rate for under 35s for 12 months. Currently, those who are single and rely on benefits can only claim for the cost of a room in a shared property. A 12 month suspension would support those who face unemployment due to the impact of the pandemic to sustain existing tenancies and allow house moves where need be.

We have made a joint statement with 10 other organisations - The Big Issue Ride Out Recession Alliance, Crisis, Citizens Advice, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Money Advice Trust, The Mortgage Works, Nationwide Building Society, Propertymark, StepChange Debt Charity and Shelter - calling for the Chancellor to provide direct funding to support landlords and tenants to address arrears.

We also continue to call for possession and court reform.

Coronavirus in Wales

Information on how coronavirus is affecting the private rented sector in Wales.

Latest articles

Chancellor must act to tackle rent debt crisis

A joint statement by The Big Issue Ride Out Recession Alliance, Crisis, Citizens Advice, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Money Advice Trust, The Mortgage Works, National Residential Landlords Association, Nationwide Building Society, Propertymark, StepChange Debt Charity and Shelter.

Industry News Rhianna Abrey 18/02/2021
Chancellor must act to tackle rent debt crisis

Peers reference NRLA call for financial support

The NRLA was referenced multiple times in the House of Lords this week in relation to our continued call for more financial support to help renters pay off rent arrears built due to the pandemic.

Industry News Victoria Barker 04/02/2021
Peers reference NRLA call for financial support

Government fails to tackle Covid rent debt crisis

The eviction ban in England has been extended for six weeks, in a move described as a 'sticking plaster' by landlords. Current restrictions were due to end on Monday. The NRLA says the move will do nothing to support landlords and tenants long term and what is needed is a comprehensive financial package, to allow tenants to continue to pay their rent without building unmanageable debt.

Industry News Sally Walmsley 08/01/2021
Government fails to tackle Covid rent debt crisis

Ministers need to get a grip of the rent debt crisis

The National Residential Landlords Association, Big Issue and Ride Out Recession Alliance, Shelter, ARLA Propertymark, the Nationwide Building Society, and StepChange the Debt Charity have issued a statement following the re-introduction of a national lockdown.

Industry News Victoria Barker 07/01/2021
Ministers need to get a grip of the rent debt crisis

More than 800,000 renters in arrears due to Covid

Over 800,000 private renters in England and Wales have built rent arrears since lockdown measures began according to estimates from new research published today.

Industry News Victoria Barker 22/12/2020
More than 800,000 renters in arrears due to Covid

Research

Landlords with reduced income due to Covid-19
56%
Lost more than 20% of their rental income
14%
Rental income losses continuing to increase
36%

Why are we calling for these measures?

We know that most tenants have continued to pay rent; this has been assisted by the Government’s furlough scheme and as the measures reduce, there is a risk that tenants will build unsustainable arrears if additional support is not provided.

The NRLA commissioned research company Dynata to conduct a survey of 2,077 private rented sector tenants in England and Wales on our behalf in November 2020. The research shows:

  • 88% have paid their rent as usual since lockdown measures were introduced. A further 3% agreed a reduced rent or rent free period with their landlord that they don't need to pay back.
  • 7% of tenants had built up arrears - we estimate this as over 800,000 renters, with the research showing younger tenants and the self-employed are most likely to have done so.
  • 18% of tenants had built up over £1000 of arrears.

Further research with NRLA members suggests that over half of landlords have lost rental income due to the impact of the pandemic.

Why should I contact my MP?

Your MP has a duty to represent you as their constituent and a letter from your MP will have more weight than individuals writing to the Secretary of State directly.

Personalised letters to your MP detailing your own experience can help your MP understand your concerns and convince them to support you. It’s therefore important to include details about how you and your tenants have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and any actions you have taken to support your tenants.

You can also seek to speak to your MP directly through their regular constituency surgery – contact your constituency office for details. These meetings are likely to be virtual due to coronavirus restrictions.

Do you have a letter template I can use?

Personalised letters have the most impact on politicians because individual stories and experiences matter. It’s essential to give your MP examples of how the policy has had an impact on your and/or your tenants and why you believe it’s important to take action.

We’ve developed a lobbying tool so you can write to your MP alongside some tips to help you craft a compelling message.

What else can I do?

We're looking for case studies of landlords whose lettings businesses have been affected by the pandemic. Please get in touch below to share your story with us.

Share your story

Members and guests only!

Your experiences during the pandemic can be used to support landlords in a number of ways. We would like to keep in touch with you about this and our campaigns teams may need to contact you to gain permission to use your story in campaign material. To ensure we can do this the share your story option is only available after registering a free account on the NRLA website.

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