A number of leading organisations have united to issue a joint statement following the reintroduction of a national lockdown urging the government to get a grip on the mounting rent debt crisis.
Around half a million private tenants in the UK are behind with their rent, according to research by Citizens Advice.
The average amount owed is more than £700, the charity says, and about a quarter of private renters in arrears have been threatened with eviction or cancellation of the their tenancy agreement by their landlord, the charity claims.
The joint statement , backed by organisations including the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), ARLA Propertymark, the Nationwide Building Society, Shelter, and StepChange Debt Charity, calls for a package of measures to help renters pay off arrears built since March last year when the initial lockdown started.
The joint statement said: “Many thousands of private renters and landlords across the country now face rent arrears due to the impact of the pandemic.
“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.
“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.”