NRLA calls for ‘tenant hardship loan’ to protect landlords after furlough

The National Residential Landlords Association wants the government to launch a ‘tenant hardship loan’, to prevent landlords from taking the brunt of the end of furlough.

This would be an interest-free government guaranteed loan to support the majority of tenants with COVID related rent debts who are not eligible for benefit support.

This scheme would help tenants to pay off their rent debts and would follow the introduction of similar schemes in Scotland and Wales.

The furlough scheme will expire at the end of September, alongside a £20 a week cut to Universal Credit – the NRLA added that this cut should not go ahead.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Many tenants and landlords have struggled to cope during the pandemic leaving them exposed to the impact of rent debts which they are unlikely to ever pay off.

“By ending furlough and cutting benefits in quick succession, and without the introduction of a targeted package to tackle COVID related rent debt, the government is worsening an already critical situation.

“Without transitional support, and as the country gets back to normal, the Chancellor will be turning his back on those renters and landlords in desperate need of help.”

The NRLA also raised concerns about the impact of a failure to tackle covid related rents debts will have on the credit scores of affected tenants.

The landlord association said the proportion of private renters in arrears tripled in the period from 2019/20 to the end of 2020 from 3 to 9%.

In June the government admitted that landlords “are highly vulnerable to rent arrears”.

Comments 1

  1. The NRLA have a pretty poor record standing up for Landlords they are increasingly a tenant/Government supporting organisation paid for by landlords (not me anymore). They think landlords should concentrate on “delighting tenants” and just roll over and accept ever increasing Government regulation that has an agenda to squeeze their members out of the market.
    Even looking at the words of Ben Beadle’s statement “Many tenants and landlords have struggled to cope during the pandemic leaving them exposed to the impact of rent debts which they are unlikely to ever pay off”. That’s the tenants covered then, where are the missing word “or recover” to include their members?
    The way this scheme should work is that landlords could claim rent arrears back directly from the Government in respect of their tenant who would then owe the Government for the arrears. Of course it won’t work this way, the Government won’t want to lend money to people who potentially can’t pay it back.
    The Scottish scheme is an interest free loan that can be taken out by tenants over 5 years. To get it “Applicants will need to pass an affordability check and a credit check before being offered a loan” so it does have strings attached and not every applicant would get it. Landlords can also apply but what is the point? It might get you out of a hole, but if you are struggling as a result of being owed rent you wouldn’t qualify. Even if you do get it, the tenants’ original debt remains so you are essentially paying for their rent arrears while still being owed the rent.
    The Government will tell the NRLA to get lo, they will wring their hands and Landlords will be left to sink or swim as usual.

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