The UK’s leading organisations representing landlords, lenders, letting agents and tenants have written to The Times to demand government action to support both renters and landlords, including interest free loans for tenant to clear their rent arrears.
Their comments follow Chancellor’s Rishi Sunak’s spending review yesterday, in which he warned that the economic impact of Covid was ‘only just beginning’.
The senior members of each organisation that have signed the letter include people who are at often at loggerheads over other issues such as evictions or rent caps. But the seriousness of the situation has drawn them together.
These are: Ben Beadle (pictured left, National Residential Landlords Association); Alistair Cromwell (Citizens Advice); Timothy Douglas (ARLA Propertymark); Joanna Elson OBE (Money Advice Trust); Lord Bird MBE, (pictured, below Big Issue); Phil Andrew (StepChange) and Paul Wootton (Nationwide Building Society).
The letters says: “Hundreds of thousands of people who rent their homes face an uncertain future due to the economic impact of coronavirus. “Many are worried about the risk of losing their homes because of rent arrears arising through no fault of their own.
“Whilst many private landlords and letting agents have done what they can to support affected tenants, the overwhelming majority of landlords are individuals – many renting out just one property, often as a pension – and are unable to continue to subsidise struggling tenants indefinitely.
“As the financial fallout continues, we need to sustain tenancies wherever possible.
“The best way to ensure this happens is to make sure that tenants are able to pay their rent, which is why the UK Government must now come forward with a package to provide financial support to reduce these arrears.
“This should include boosting emergency funding to councils for grants to support those in receipt of benefits, and interest-free, government-guaranteed hardship loans for tenants, similar to the schemes developed in Wales and Scotland.
“We call on Ministers to act swiftly to provide tenants and landlords with the security and stability they need during the current public health crisis.”