Landlords are today backing a call by the Resolution Foundation think tank for tenant hardship loans for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meera Chindooroy, deputy policy director for the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “Simply banning repossessions is doing nothing to address this underlying problem which renters and landlords are struggling to cope with.
“The Chancellor needs to develop an urgent financial package as called for by the Resolution Foundation to pay off arrears since lockdown measures started last year. Only this will sustain tenancies and prevent renters facing the consequence of damaged credit scores.”
The foundation conducted a survey of 6,389 adults in late January, and accepts that some support for renters has come via the temporary boost to Local Housing Allowance introduced last April, and Discretionary Housing Payments.
But it says: “DHPs are not reaching a large number of those with arrears. More than half of private renter families with arrears are not currently in receipt of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, and are therefore ineligible for payments.”
It concedes that the ongoing evictions ban has offered some security, preventing families under the most strain from falling into homelessness during the pandemic period.
But it adds: “Without further government intervention however, it warns that the rent arrears crisis will worsen in the months ahead – leading to an increased number of court possessions proceedings, which tend to be lengthy, difficult, and upsetting for tenants and landlords alike” it continues.
It demands a boost to the DHP system, so that it can reach more families in need, and a tenant loan system for England, through which the government would directly support families behind on their housing payments.
“Renters have been particularly badly hit. Many have taken huge hits to their earnings and have limited savings … measures that could ease the pressure, such as Discretionary Housing Payments from local authorities and negotiated rent reductions from landlords, are not getting through to those that need them … This situation will worsen without significant government intervention” insists Lindsay Judge, research director at the foundation.
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