Industry figure Kate Faulker has warned that letting agents and private landlords are going to be blamed for the looming rise in homelessness as the economy emerges from the worst of the pandemic.
Her comments follow last weekend’s news that the government is to release £65 million in funding to help the most vulnerable private tenants clear their rent arrears and stave off eviction.
This is a sure sign that even the hardest-nosed Tory ‘boosterists’ believe there may be trouble ahead now that the furlough scheme has ended.
“Homeless was on the rise anyway even without Covid,” Faulkner (pictured) said during The Future of Lettings podcast hosted by Hamilton Fraser CEO Eddie Hooker and evictions expert Paul Shamplina.
“Even though it has very little to do with private landlords or letting agents, they are going to get blamed and punished, so we all need to consider how we all going to cope with that and find a way through – because it’s really unfair,” added Faulkner.
Hooker told listeners to the podcast that landlords should pull together preferably through trade bodies such as the NRLA to present a more positive picture of the decent service and quality homes they provide to the private rented sector (PRS), either themselves or through a letting agent.
“The sector has to start fighting back,” says Hooker.
But Faulkner replied that this can’t take place until both letting agents and landlords are properly regulated and registered in order to squeeze out the rogue operators, leaving detractors with no room to criticise either group and shift the debate on to the other key drivers.
The podcast trio agreed that this includes the lack of social rented housing, weak funding of housing enforcement and lack of affordable homes to buy.