BREAKING: NRLA campaigning secures £65m Covid fund
A £65million fund to cover rent arrears built during the Covid-19 pandemic has been announced today, following months of NRLA campaigning.
The cash will be given to councils in England to support low-income earners in rent arrears – with payments expected to be made directly to landlords.
The NRLA has been calling for a comprehensive package of financial support to tackle arrears built since the start of the pandemic.
We now urge local authorities to target this cash at those tenants struggling most.
NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle said: "While it is great news that Ministers have listened to us and agree funding is needed to help keep tenants in their homes, £65 million does not fully reflect the scale of the problem.
"Government data suggests that seven per cent of private sector tenants in England were in arrears in April-May 2021 and NRLA analysis has put the total figure of Covid rent debts at over £300 million.
"With the Bank of England warning rent debts could pose a significant risk to the economic recovery, the Chancellor must go further."
So what happens next?
Making the announcement the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said it recognises the impact the pandemic has had on low-income households in the private rented sector (PRS) and is grateful to landlords for their support during the Covid-19 crisis.
The £65 million will be available through the winter months, and households at risk of eviction or homelessness are being advised to contact their council if they require support. They will then make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
According to the Government any payment is ‘likely’ to be paid directly to the existing landlord, or a new landlord if the money is being used to support a household to find a new home.
The NRLA is advising landlords whose tenants fall into this category to make them aware that there is support available and encourage them to contact their local authority.
The challenges of the last 18 months have been unprecedented, and the association knows many of you have gone above and beyond to keep tenants in their homes during the pandemic.
The NRLA will continue to campaign for further investment to support landlords and renters as recovery begins.
For more information on the NRLA campaign for support for the sector click here.