Letting agents are the latest group to call for English landlords to be given direct financial help as the repercussions of the Covid pandemic continue to spill out into the private rental market.
This should take the form of interest-free hardship loans to help tenants pay off their Covid-related rent arrears, paid directly to landlords.
ARLA Propertymark has told Ministers within its 2021 Budget manifesto published today that landlords’ costs have increased significantly and that many can no longer make ends meet.
“The best way to ensure this happens is to make sure that tenants can pay their rent, which is why the UK Government must introduce a financial support package to reduce COVID-related rent arrears.”
These comments echo a call yesterday by Generation Rent, which is not normally a supporter of landlords, to set up a £288m fund to help both tenants and landlords clear rent arrears.
ARLA also says that although it accepts public funds have been used to support tenants indirectly through Universal Credit and other ways, “to date there has been no direct financial support for the rental market, with individual landlords unable to access small business grants or bounce back loans”.
Mark Hayward, Propertymark’s Chief Policy Advisor (pictured), says : “The property market has remained remarkably resilient during the lockdown periods so far and the government has prioritised a functioning property market.
“However, there is still progress to be made and we’re calling upon the government to make these recommended changes in order to continue to support agents, landlords, consumers and the wider housing market.”
Other budget must-haves in the manifesto include improving Universal Credit, more support for investment in the PRS and an extension to the stamp duty holiday
Rishi Sunak’s next budget is due to take place on March 3rd.