Agents link with rental activists to demand help to clear Covid arrears

16 June 2021 | Renting

Agents link with rental activists to demand help to clear Covid arrears

Propertymark has joined forces with the likes of Generation Rent and Shelter to step up the campaign for the provision of cash help for private tenants with Covid-related arrears.

Propertymark and the other groups have written to junior housing minister Eddie Hughes to urge the government to come forward with a package of emergency financial support.

The argue that to date, measures from the government have provided some short-term relief but have not done enough to protect renters going forward. 

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Rental debts built up during Covid-19 now threaten a two-speed recovery, with millions of renters facing a lost future from long-term debt problems, and the threat of homelessness and eviction, they claim.

Propertymark’s campaign is alongside campaigning groups and charities Generation Rent, Shelter, Money Advice Trust and Step Change, as well as the National Residential Landlords Association.

“As support tapers down Propertymark [is] calling on the government to take urgent action to sustain tenancies and protect renters. Action on COVID-19 rent debts would protect renters from negative credit ratings and keep renters in their homes, whilst ensuring rental debt does not risk families being locked out of future homes” says a statement from the trade body.

It continues: “The cross-sector campaign reiterates calls for the introduction of an emergency financial package of grants and no-interest loans to help tenants to clear Covid-related rent arrears, minimizing the impact on agents and landlord feeling the fallout.

“The organisations believe that grants should be targeted at the worst-affected tenants, with a wider programme of no-interest loans for others, such as those who have been furloughed. This would work with the dynamics of recovery, with loans repaid as renters regain their financial position.”

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s policy and campaigns manager, says:“With the furlough scheme ending in September, the government must build a bridge to recovery and provide a dedicated financial support package for the sector.

“While measures through the welfare system have been welcome, more needs to be done to alleviate Covid-related arrears and remove the risk of eviction. Propertymark has added our support to the cross-sector campaign, representing the voice of our membership.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.