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Arrears rising among tenants with Covid rent debts

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  • 08/12/2021
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Arrears rising among tenants with Covid rent debts
Average rental debt still owed by tenants as a result of the pandemic have increased by 41 per cent since May, according to a survey of over 2,000 private renters.

 

The survey commissioned by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) found that the average Covid-related rent arrears had increased to £1,270 from £900 in May.

Whilst the proportion of tenants who had built arrears since March of 2020 had almost halved- down from seven per cent in May to 3.7 per cent, this still amounts to over 430,000 private renters.

The survey also found that 57 per cent of those with outstanding pandemic-related rent arrears were not in receipt of Universal Credit, making them ineligible for Discretionary Housing Payments.

Also, almost 59 per cent of private renters in receipt of Universal Credit said that the decision to cut payments by £20 a week would make it more difficult for them to cover the cost of their rents.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA said: “The NRLA is concerned that tenants with outstanding Covid- related rent debts are seeing these arrears increase.

“Whilst landlords have done all they can to support affected tenants, they simply cannot afford for this situation to continue indefinitely. With the Government having made funding available it is now vital that councils get this to those affected renters as swiftly as possible.

“In doing so they should prioritise those who are not eligible for emergency housing benefit support. This course of action is the best way to sustain tenancies and keep people in their homes.”

For those in receipt of Universal Credit, the NRLA is asking the Government to reverse its damaging decision to freeze the housing cost support element.

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