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The National Residential Landlords Association says the government should cover missed rent

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

7 September 2020

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The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has called for the government to help tenants in England pay their rent.

It comes as coronavirus has seen hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs.

This has left many tenants unable to afford their rent, with the government already stepping in with measures to protect them, including a ban on evictions.

While many tenants and landlords have worked together to find a solution to rent arrears during the pandemic, there are now calls for government help.

The Welsh and Scottish governments have already taken steps to support tenants to pay off Covid-related rent arrears.

The Welsh Tenancy Saver Loan scheme

The Tenancy Saver Loan scheme in Wales is a loan scheme for tenants who are in rent arrears.

There is no limit on what a tenant can borrow, but the loan repayments must be affordable, and the amount can only cover any arrears built up since the beginning of March.

Tenants apply for the scheme, with the money paid to the landlord or agent.

Scotland’s Tenant Hardship Loan Fund

Scotland has followed Wales by announcing that it will be supporting tenants with a £10 million fund.

Its Tenant Hardship Loan Fund will open later in the autumn and offer interest-free loans to those unable to access other forms of housing support.

Will England launch something similar?

The Government has yet to announce its own hardship fund for tenants, but is coming under increasing pressure to do so.

Chris Norris, policy director at the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “We call on the UK Government to introduce similar help for tenants in England. The best way to prevent repossessions is to tackle the root cause by ensuring tenants are able to pay their rent.”

He added: “Although landlords have been doing all they can to support tenants struggling to pay their rent because of the pandemic, it is not sustainable to expect rent arrears to build indefinitely with no hope of paying them off.

“Once again the UK Government finds itself trailing behind the rest of the UK. It is time to deliver a similar scheme to support tenants and landlords in England.”

It follows the government’s second extension of the eviction ban. It initially introduced a three-month ban, which it extended for two months in June. At the eleventh hour, it extended it again for a further four weeks, with it now due to end later this month.

Landlords are still able to serve notice of eviction, even though tenants can’t legally be evicted. However, these eviction notices now come with a new six-month notice period.

Do you think the government should announce more support for tenants? Let us know in the comments below.

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