Landlords and charities urge Government to help renters clear Covid-related arrears
Six leading organisations representing tenants, landlords and letting agents have united to urge the government to provide financial help to private renters plunged into ‘Covid rent arrears’ through no fault of their own.
The coalition, which includes Shelter, the National Residential Landlords Association, ARLA Propertymark, Crisis, Citizens Advice and Generation Rent, is calling for a short-term package of emergency grants and loans worth £270 million to help renters who have lost out on income or been furloughed as a result of the pandemic. £270 million is just 0.013% of UK GDP.
The emergency fund would be limited to helping tenants pay off any unexpected rent arrears built up since the start of the pandemic in March. The coalition argues this would help both tenants to keep their homes, and landlords who rely on rental income for their livelihoods. It would also help to sustain tenancies.
The coalition is urging the government to act with financial assistance provided in the form of:
• Ring-fenced grants for renters already in receipt of government benefits or those who would otherwise be eligible for benefits but have no recourse to public funds - to be distributed by local councils.
• Government backed interest free loans for other tenants who can afford to pay them back, such as those who have been furloughed or are struggling to pay their rent now but will be able to in the future
Chris Norris, Policy Director for the NRLA, said: “Whilst the vast majority of landlords and tenants have been able to reach agreements where rent arrears have built, in some cases this has proved difficult. A financial package, such as that we propose today, would greatly assist tenants and landlords to achieve what we all want, namely to sustain tenancies.”
Earlier this month, the Welsh Government announced that it will be introducing low interest loans for tenants to pay off arrears built up during the coronavirus following extensive NRLA campaigning. The loans are set to be introduced in September.