An alliance of the sector’s key landlord, letting agency and tenant advocacy groups has warned the government that the nation faces a mounting rent arrears crisis.

The National Residential Landlords Association, The Big Issue and Ride Out Recession Alliance, Shelter, ARLA Propertymark, the Nationwide Foundation, and StepChange the Debt Charity have jointly said that Ministers need to play their part in offsetting the affects of the pandemic on the sector.

“Many thousands of tenants and landlords across the country now face rent arrears due to the impact of the pandemic,” the statement says.

“Ministers have failed to address the core problem of debts which have built despite the financial package put in place so far. Indeed, the Chancellor confirmed that housing benefit will not be linked to the cost of renting for future years.

Muddle through

“Renters, landlords and letting agents cannot be expected simply to muddle through indefinitely where they face these financial difficulties. “The Government needs to develop an urgent package to help renters in paying off arrears built since March last year.

“Without further action, debts will continue to mount, making it far more difficult to sustain tenancies and keep renters in their homes after the pandemic.”

The six organisations may need to be careful what they wish for – to date the government’s reaction to calls such as this one has been to extend or tighten the existing eviction restrictions while dismissing calls for the kind of tenant or landlord rent arrears loans already in operation within Scotland and Wales.

Only yesterday Boris Johnson said the government was reviewing the current evictions rules, hinting at an extension to the bailiff action suspension in place until Monday 11th January.

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