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Unexpected rent arrears built up since pandemic hit

Landlords, letting agents and charities are calling for an emergency fund to help renters clear Covid-19 rent debts.

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New research carried out by Shelter and YouGov shows 322,000 adult private renters, who were not in arrears prior to the pandemic, have since fallen behind on rent.

 

The coalition, which includes Shelter, the National Residential Landlords Association, ARLA Propertymark, Crisis, Citizens Advice and Generation Rent, is calling for a short-term package of emergency grants and loans worth £270m to help renters who have lost out on income as a result of the pandemic.

 

The coalition argues this would help both tenants keep their homes and landlords who rely on rental income for their livelihoods. They explain that it will also prevent rising homelessness. In July, debt advice charity StepChange and campaign group Generation Rent warned half a million renters may lose their homes after the rental eviction ban is lifted.

 

Chris Norris, policy director for the Nation Residential Landlords Association, said: “Whilst the vast majority of landlords and tenants have been able to reach agreements where rent arrears have built, in some cases this has proved difficult. A financial package, such as that we propose today, would greatly assist tenants and landlords to achieve what we all want, namely to sustain tenancies.”

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