The National Residential Landlords Association is calling on the government to ensure a comprehensive financial package is provided for landlords themselves, and to tenants.
The NRLA, in its submission to government ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review, says the Boris Johnson administration must follow the example of Wales and develop a system of hardship loans to help tenants cover Covid-19 related arrears in England.
Specifically it is calling for:
- Interest free, government guaranteed loans for tenants affected by Coronavirus. These should be paid directly to landlords and should cover all arrears accumulated since the start of the pandemic;
- Income support for landlords to cover arrears where affected tenants either refuse to apply for a loan or where loans are not best suited to them;
- Reforms to the welfare system, to give both landlords and tenants confidence that payments will cover their basic housing costs.
The NRLA has also made it clear that any move to increase Capital Gains Tax would be a mistake on the part of the government, with research showing this would only serve to freeze the rental market, making life more difficult for tenants.
The spending review sets out the government’s spending priorities for the next three years. Covid-19 has caused delays, with the full report now expected to be completed and made public before Christmas.
Meera Chindooroy, deputy director for policy and campaigns for the NRLA, says: “Landlords are not property tycoons and the vast majority have just one or two properties which they often rely on for at least part of their income or pension.
“All of our research shows that in the vast majority of cases where tenants have struggled financially due to Covid-19 landlords have done everything they can to sustain the tenancies.
“However our latest figures show landlords have lost up to £437m already as a result of Covid-19 and have been unable to access any of the financial support available to other businesses.
“Landlords cannot shoulder these levels of rent arrears indefinitely, nor should they be expected to.
“It is time the government stepped up to support to the hardworking landlords out there providing the homes to let that this country so desperately needs.”