Rent arrears cases double during pandemic – NRLA calls for action



The proportion of private renters in arrears in England more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, government data has revealed.

Between April and May 2021 7% of private renters were in arrears, up from 3% in 2019/20, while an extra 9% say they expect to fall behind on rents in the next three months. A quarter (27%) also had difficulties in meeting their heating costs.

In response, the National Residential Landlords Association called for government support to help renters pay their debts, to ensure landlords don’t have to shoulder the burden.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Landlords are being put in a difficult position. They either try to shoulder rent debts they cannot afford or seek to repossess properties as a final resort.

“Without a targeted package of support to pay off COVID rent debts, many tenants run the risk of losing their homes needlessly. They also face the possibility that their credit scores will be damaged, making it more difficult to access new housing in future.

“The Chancellor needs to address this crisis. His continued failure to act signals to the private rented sector that the government simply does not care about the problem.”

The eviction ban made life very tough for landlords during the pandemic.

The process has now returned to normal after a year and a half of landlords being unable to reclaim their properties, even if their tenants weren’t paying the rent.

Landlords who were unlucky enough to fall foul of a rogue tenant typically lost £11,820 of rental income a year, according to agent Benham and Reeves.

Comments 1

  1. Note that the NRLA is calling for support for renters to repay their debts, they are not pushing for landlords being able to claim arrears back from the Government. In any case if the NRLA are calling for it nothing will happen as they are pretty ineffectual when it comes to serving the people who pay their wages.
    Nobody has sympathy for landlords except other landlords. We are portrayed as all being rich, making money out of our poor tenants charging huge rents for crumbling, substandard, damp, mould ridden hovels who like nothing more than casting widows and children who can’t pay the rent out into the snow on Christmas Eve. Well, maybe, not quite but you get the gist. So we are not deserving of any help.
    This seems to fit in with the popular narrative that includes demonising all benefit claimants as idle, feckless scroungers when most are actually in work and berating out of work people in the North for not relocating down South for minimum wage insecure jobs on zero hours contracts.

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