The UK’s largest rent guarantor has called on the government to step in and help tenants clear their rent arrears.

Housing Hand, which works with 70,000 tenancies and 3,000 accommodation providers, says the government cannot expect landlords within the private rented sector to bail out the arrears problem caused by Covid-19.

“Action needs to be taken now, before the second wave builds, to assure both tenants and landlords that there is another option open to them aside from eviction, which in most cases both parties are keen to avoid.,” says its group operations director Terry Mason.

Housing Hand is one of several major organisations to call for the government to copy the Welsh government and introduce a rent debt loan, paid to landlords by the government and then repaid by the tenant as affordability allows.

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This follows similar calls from lettings giant Belvoir, the NRLA and ARLA Propertymark.

“Almost all landlords are content with tenants remaining in their properties as long as they are paying rent, so this is the area the government needs to address to maintain tenancies – not put a blanket ban on evictions and expect the private housing sector to foot the bill,” says Mason.

His boss, group MD Jeremy Robinson (pictured, above), adds: “If tenants genuinely cannot pay their rent, the government must step in and support them.

“Private accommodation providers cannot be expected to provide homes without being paid. In many instances, rent covers the landlord’s mortgage and maintenance costs, meaning that non-payment puts both the tenant and the landlord at risk.”

Visit Housing Hand.

Guide: How to avoid void periods and rent arrears.

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