Urgent action needed to address mounting tenant debt

Significantly more needs to be done to financially support landlords and renters during the existing Covid-19 pandemic, according to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

It is renewing its call for a financial package to help struggling renters to pay off arrears built since lockdown measures began. This should include a mixture of government guaranteed, interest free, hardship loans and a boost to benefits rather than cutting this support as announced in the Spending Review.

The organisation is concerned that the challenges in the private rented sector are only going to intensify as the coronavirus crisis continues to put a strain on the economy.

The NRLA wants to see ministers’ step in and solve the issue of increasing tenant debt, after a survey it commissioned suggests that 7% of private renters have built arrears due to Covid.

The survey finds that younger people are most likely to have been affected with 14% of renters aged 18 to 24 and 10% of those aged 25 to 34 having built arrears since March.

The self-employed who rent were also most likely to be in arrears, with 17% saying they had developed rent debts since March.

Regionally, 11% of renters in the West Midlands had built arrears since March, the largest proportion of any region in England and Wales. This was followed by London where 9% of renters had accrued arrears.

Ben Beadle

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented: “Our research highlights in stark terms the rent debt crisis now engulfing the rental market.

“Whilst the vast majority of landlords have done everything possible to support tenants affected due to COVID-19, expecting them to muddle through without further support is hurting tenants as well as landlords.

“Ministers need to accept that simply banning repossessions does nothing to keep tenants in their homes long term. In fact, it will achieve the complete opposite as in kicking the can down the road it just means larger debts piling up creating a bigger problem for tenants and also for landlords. To sustain tenancies the Government needs to provide an urgent financial package to get rent debts built due to the pandemic paid off.”


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One Comment

  1. PossessionFriendUK39

    The government have long had a strategy to deal with mounting Tenant rental debt,  which is to pass it off onto Private landlords by removing – suspending  the Justice (sic )  system.
    I would not be very opptomistic that Possession will resume on 11th of january, 2021
    I can sadly foresee that the Govt will furtyer off-load and burden the PRS with its welfare state financial responsibilities.
    Question is,  When will  landlords come together ( don’t laugh )   and join in legal action against the Govt  ?
    How long would the legal Possession process have to be suspended until before that happens ?  – in my view,  the time for that legal action was in June  !


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