ARLA Propertymark is calling on the government to give tenants financial relief from the effects of the Covid pandemic, adding its weight to a campaign being jointly coordinated with Shelter, the NRLA and Generation Rent, among others.
The organisation is also calling on letting agents to write to their MP using a template (see below) to call on Ministers to take action before the eviction ban ends on 20th September, and support the campaign via social media using the #KeepTheRentFlowing hashtag.
Scotland and Wales have already introduced relief funds to help tenants who are struggling to pay their rent and other bills, via both grants and loans.
But the Johnson administration has so far resisted calls for England to follow suit.
Many campaigners say this is surprising given the sums are small beer compared to the billions being poured into other Covid relief funds.
Wales announced an initial £10 million for its scheme on August 11th, while Scotland last week increased its Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund by £3 million to £19 million and also established a £10 million fund similar to the Welsh scheme.
ARLA is calling for a range of packages including:
- Ring-fenced funding administered through local authorities, using a mechanism like the Discretionary Housing Payment.
- An additional cash injection into local welfare assistance schemes.
- Government-backed, interest-free loans for tenants not eligible for the above support.
“As things stand, no such schemes exist in England therefore we are urging you to write to your MP, to ask for support measures to be launched in England,” says Timothy Douglas, Policy & Campaigns Manager at Propertymark.
The #KeepTheRentFlowing campaign has been going since at least April when now departed ARLA Propertymark chief executive David Cox set out the organisation’s position on supporting tenants through the crisis in a video.