The association says that landlords should not be left alone to deal with this potential significant rise in arrears
The government should hand out interest-free loans to private renters who face “a cliff edge” as the end of furlough coincides with cuts to benefit support, says the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
The proportion of private renters in arrears has tripled to 9% from 3% from 2019/20 to the end of last year according to government data, according to a report from the NRLA.
The government’s furlough scheme will end on 1 October, and coincides with a £20 a week cut to Universal Credit and a continued freeze to housing benefit support, which the body says will mean many more tenants are likely to accrue unsustainable debts.
The association has called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide interest-free, government-guaranteed hardship loans to support the majority of tenants with Covid-related rent debts who are not eligible for benefit support.
It says similar schemes have already been adopted in Scotland and Wales.
The body also calls on the government to scrap plans to cut Universal Credit payments to avoid potentially devastating consequences for tenants across the country.
The association says that landlords should not be left alone to deal with this potential significant rise in arrears.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: Many tenants and landlords have struggled to cope during the pandemic leaving them exposed to the impact of rent debts which they are unlikely to ever pay off.
By ending furlough and cutting benefits in quick succession, and without the introduction of a targeted package to tackle Covid0related rent debt, the government is worsening an already critical situation, he says.
He says: Without transitional support, and as the country gets back to normal, the chancellor will be turning his back on those renters and landlords in desperate need of help.
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