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Chancellor warned over PRS ‘cliff edge’ when furlough scheme ends

NRLA says millions of tenants face bleak financial futures unless Sunak jumps in with a rent arrears relief fund soon.

Nigel Lewis

rent arrears furlough

Landlords have warned the Chancellor that private renters and landlords face a ‘cliff edge’ in the coming weeks as both the furlough scheme finishing and the £20-a-week Universal Credit cut severely weaken millions of people’s finances.

The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) says the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who until now has not taken any direct action to help tenants with Covid rent arrears, should launch an interest free, government guaranteed hardship loan to support the majority of tenants with COVID related rent debts who are not eligible for benefit support.

A new report published today by the NRLA shows that, by the Government’s own admission, the proportion of private renters in arrears tripled in the period from 2019/20 to the end of 2020 from three to nine percent.

The NRLA points to warnings from the Bank of England about the risks posed to the country’s economic recovery by renters experiencing financial difficulties.

It also highlights concerns about what impact a failure to tackle COVID related rents debts will have on the credit scores of affected tenants, as well as the likelihood that they will be able to stay in their homes.

Ben Beadle TDS Northern IrelandNRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle (pictured) says: “Many tenants and landlords have struggled to cope during the pandemic leaving them exposed to the impact of rent debts which they are unlikely to ever pay off.

“By ending furlough and cutting benefits in quick succession, and without the introduction of a targeted package to tackle COVID related rent debt, the Government is worsening an already critical situation.

“Without transitional support, and as the country gets back to normal, the Chancellor will be turning his back on those renters and landlords in desperate need of help.”

Read more about rent arrears.

September 21, 2021

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