Landlords and letting agents are being made ‘scapegoats’ by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as the government continues to rebuff calls for tenants to be given more financial support to clear rent arrears, it is claimed.
A new report by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says the government is chasing landlords into a corner by forcing them into a ‘Hobson’s Choice’ – either face receiving no rent or beginning expensive and time-consuming eviction proceedings.
The report estimates there to be 800,000 private rented sector tenants with arrears in England and Wales, with over 80% having amassed the arrears during the pandemic.
Also, the majority of landlords (60 per cent) feel their lettings business will be negatively affected as a result of the pandemic, with 34 per cent saying their rental income has been impacted by the events of the past year.
The NRLA is calling for the Local Housing Allowance to return, at the very least, to covering the bottom 30 per cent of market rents in any given area, and preferably increased so that it covers average rents, along with interest-free hardship loans for tenants
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, says: “The Chancellor has clearly decided on a strategy of making landlords the scapegoats for a crisis of his own making.
“For less than the cost of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out Scheme’ he could provide landlords and tenants with the financial support they need to keep tenants in their homes and prevent damage to credit scores.
“Landlords want to sustain tenancies wherever possible, but without the support so many desperately need, the Chancellor will need to accept the tragic costs of his failure to act.”