The NRLA has called on Ministers to tackle the UK’s mounting rent arrears debt mountain after Boris Johnson last night revealed his government’s plan to ease Covid restrictions.
These are due to be relaxed in three tranches – 29th March, 12th April, 17th May and 29th June – but the NRLA says it is worried that there is no plan to shield tenants and landlords from what happens when the estimated 840,000 tenants in rent arrears are no longer protected by the current eviction restrictions.
There is also a huge backlog of evictions cases waiting to ether go through the courts, or waitin for the ban on bailiff evictions to be lifted.
Research by the NRLA reveals that although most landlords have been working with struggling tenants to help keep them in their homes as far as possible, 60 per cent have lost rental income as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 39 per cent said the losses were continuing to increase.
The organisations is calling for Government guaranteed, interest free hardship loans to be made available for tenants now in arrears but who do not qualify for benefit support. Grants should be made available for those in receipt of benefits.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, (main pic) says: “While many landlords and tenants have worked well in responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are now at a crunch point. As the country follows the roadmap out of lockdown, so too emergency measures in the rental market will need to be eased.
“Ministers need to ensure the tenants have the financial means to pay off rent debts built as a result of the pandemic. Without this they will have to accept the inevitable consequence of rising homelessness and damaged credit scores.”