The number of tenants in arrears has tripled over the last year, leaving MPs and National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) once again calling for a grant or loan system for renters in England, so they can get on top of “a tsunami of debt”. Many renters are already struggling to pay off arrears they have accumulated through no fault of their own and that is before the furlough scheme draws to a close in autumn.
By the end of 2020, there were 820,000 private tenants in arrears in England, according to NRLA, averaging £900 per household. A total of 80 per cent were not in debt before the pandemic began.
Conservative MP Nigel Mills, a member of the Work and Pensions Committee, has proposed tenants, landlords and the taxpayer “share the pain,” with each party splitting the arrears three ways, creating a “clear incentive from all sides.”
England is being viewed as the poor relation when it comes to support for the private rented sector. In Wales, a new £10m scheme to help renters with Covid-related arrears has been launched.
Called the Tenancy Hardship Grant, and introduced by the Welsh Government, it replaces the former Tenancy Saver Loan scheme. Welsh renters who built up more than two months of arrears between March 2020 and the end of June this year can claim a Tenancy Hardship Grant, but they cannot be in receipt of housing benefit or housing cost payments through Universal Credit.
In Scotland, tenants with coronavirus-related rent arrears can apply for a Tenant Hardship Loan Fund to avoid eviction, covering up nine months’ of debt.
Surveying 2,077 private tenants, the NRLA found 7 per cent of tenants had built up arrears as a direct result of Covid. Some 18 per cent of those in arrears had rent debts of more than £1,000. The research also showed 11 per cent of private renters - between November and December 2020 - were unemployed.
As an example of the scale of the problem, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Advice Centre has been receiving well over 20 calls a day from people saying they might lose their home.
At Caridon Landlord Solutions, we are working with landlords and tenants to reach agreements that work for both parties. If you need advice on rest arrears, eviction, Universal Credit and ways to maintain your tenancy, please contact Caridon Landlord Solutions.
020 3728 9937 or email@example.com