Landlords and tenants who have been hit hard by the Covid downturn cannot be expected to sustain tenancies without government support, estate agents have warned housing minister Eddie Hughes.

In a strongly-worded letter sent today, trade association Propertymark says the government must come forward with a package of emergency financial support.

Rent arrears built up during the pandemic now threaten to create a two-speed recovery with millions of renters facing a lost future from long-term debt problems, and the threat of homelessness and eviction, it says.

Propertymark has joined a cross-sector campaign that includes Generation Rent, Shelter, Money Advice Trust and Step Change.

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It is calling on ministers to provide grants and no-interest loans to help tenants to clear COVID-related rent arrears, minimizing the impact on agents and landlord feeling the fallout.

No-interest loans

The organisations say support should be targeted at the worst-affected tenants, with a wider programme of no-interest loans for others, such as those who have been furloughed.

This would work with the dynamics of recovery, with loans repaid as renters regain their financial position.

rent arrears

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s Policy and Campaigns Manager says: “With the furlough scheme ending in September, the UK Government must build a bridge to recovery and provide a dedicated financial support package for the sector.

“While measures through the welfare system have been welcome, more needs to be done to alleviate COVID-related arrears and remove the risk of eviction.

Read the letter in full here.

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