Landlords and homelessness charities have formed a coalition to urge the government to provide financial help to private renters in England and Wales in arrears because of COVID-19.
Shelter, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), ARLA Propertymark, Crisis, Citizens Advice and Generation Rent are calling for a £270 million package to help tenants who are in financial difficulty because of the pandemic.
The government extended a ban on evictions in England and Wales until 20 September following pressure from campaigners. Scotland has extended its ban on tenant evictions until March 2021, but it has also made available a £10 million Tenant Hardship Loan Fund to help with housing costs.
Research from Shelter shows 322,000 adult private renters (4% of all renters) in England who were not in arrears before the pandemic have since fallen behind.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, warned of a homeless crisis “as the country descends into economic freefall”. She asked the government to go further than the evictions ban, adding: “This one-off opportunity to provide emergency relief to those renters most in need must not be missed.”
Chris Norris, NRLA policy director, said: “While the vast majority of landlords and tenants have been able to reach agreements where rent arrears have built, in some cases this has proved difficult. A financial package, such as that we propose today, would greatly assist tenants and landlords to achieve what we all want, namely to sustain tenancies.”