A year on since the start of the pandemic, and the scale of hardship caused by Covid-19 is really starting to show as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed the number of people claiming Universal Credit has doubled since start of the pandemic. The data shows that more than a third of claims (39%) since Universal Credit started in 2013 have been made during the pandemic.
The new figures showed 446 people were making new claims for the benefit every hour in the first week of 2021. As we have mentioned before, many of these people will be tenants who had previously signed up to tenancies based on their current employment status and level of income.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to outline further support in this week’s Spring Budget but the furlough scheme will have to come to an end at some point therefore the situation is only likely to get worse. The question is, where does this leave tenants and landlords? Landlords cannot be expected to prop up the rental market for the foreseeable future with little or no income, but tenants who have been badly impacted by the pandemic should not be made homeless through no fault of their own. We would really like to see a tenancy saver loan to help tenants sustain their tenancies and encourage landlords to remain in the buy to let sector.
The Government introduced a temporary £20-per-week increase to Universal Credit in March but, despite repeated calls from campaigners and MPs, ministers have yet to commit to making the increase permanent. Removing the £20-a-week increase would cut £1,040 from the annual income of millions of people across the UK and almost certainly force more people into rent arrears. Even with the extra £20, we know through our work with our sister companies, Caridon Property and Caridon Foundation, that families are having to make impossible choices, skipping meals, running up debts and relying on charities and food banks.
We understand that landlords too have been heavily impacted by the pandemic and every individual’s circumstances are different. However, if you can do anything to help a family for a bit longer, or work with us to ensure you receive direct payments of housing benefit from the local authority then please do.
Perhaps you have a property to rent and would consider housing a family in receipt of Universal Credit? We can give you advice on the best way to go about this to protect your investment at the same time as helping to UK’s housing crisis.
Contact Caridon Landlord Solutions on: 020 3728 9937 or firstname.lastname@example.org