An unprecedented coalition of six private rental sector organisations and poverty groups have joined forces to call for tenants to be given government help to pay off their Covid rent arrears.
Shelter, ARLA Propertymark, the National Association of Residential Landlords, Crisis, Generation Rent and Citizens Advice have all this morning said Ministers must introduce a short-term package of emergency grants and loans worth £270 million to help renters who have lost out on income or been furloughed as a result of the pandemic.
The alliance, which is a group of organisations more used to arguing in public over policy, has agreed that the cash should only be used to support tenants who have run up arrears since Covid began in March, but told the government too many people are falling through the gaps and facing homelessness.
They say the £270 million should include grants for those in most financial need and zero-interest loans for those who are able to repay them.
Timothy Douglas (left), Policy & Campaigns Manager ARLA Propertymark, says: “It is vital that the UK Government introduce emergency measures to support those in rent arrears brought about because of Covid-19 to ensure that tenancies are maintained, and we keep the rent flowing.”
Chris Norris (right), Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “Whilst 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.”
Polly Neate (left), chief executive of Shelter, adds: “Ever since this pandemic gripped hold of the country, causing chaos for hundreds of thousands of renters, our services have been deluged with calls from worried families and workers plunged unexpectedly into debt.
“When the ban lifts, their ability to clear Covid-arrears will be critical if they are to stay safe in their homes.”