A call by MPs for a comprehensive Covid exit plan for the private rented sector has been welcomed by landlords.
The move follows a report published today by MPs on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the sector.
Loss of earnings and the ban on evictions have caused rent arrears to soar over the past 12 months.
According to a recent report by National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), 7% of tenants had built up arrears due to Covid. Applied across the sector that would amount to 840,000 tenants.
‘Proper exit plan’
The report found that:
- 18% of those in arrears had rent debts of more than £1,000.
- 11% of private renters are now unemployed.
- Younger people are most likely to have been affected with 14% of renters aged 18 to 24 and 10% of those aged 25 to 34 having built arrears since March.
Landlords were badly hit, with 60% losing rental income as a result of the pandemic and 14% of respondents saying they had lost more than 20% of their rental income.
A third of landlords (34%) said they were considering either leaving the market entirely or selling some of the properties they rent out.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle said: “We welcome today’s report [by MPs], which calls for a proper exit plan for the private-rented sector from current restrictions.
“At the heart of that plan needs to be action to tackle rent debts built as a result of the pandemic. The committee is right to express disappointment at the lack of a clear strategy from the government to deal with this pressing issue.
“We wholeheartedly support the committee’s call for action to support tenants to repay rent arrears to be a top priority, including consideration of making payments direct to landlords. As the report notes, this would be the best way to sustain tenancies and help landlords receive income.”