Industry calls for financial aid

Propertymark joins the list of PRS organisations calling for financial support. They have written to the government to urge action in providing loans or grants to tenants and landlords affected by Covid.;

Arla Propertymark, a PRS industry body, has joined with other sector organisations to highlight growing concerns over Covid-related arrears.

They have written to the minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes, urging the government to provide a package of emergency financial support.

Urgent action

The letter, dated June 16th 2021, argues that urgent action is required to protect landlords and renters whose finances have been affected by the pandemic.

They see no way forward in tenancies, for some renters, who have been unable to pay since March 2020.

To date, the government has provided short-term relief, in the form of eviction bans and mortgage holiday encouragement.

Propertymark and the other organisations say that this isn’t enough.

Coalition for financial aid

Propertymark is joined in this call by Generation Rent, Shelter, Money Advice Trust, NRLA and Step Change, some of whom are critical of the PRS, but understand that this isn’t sustainable.

This cross-sector campaign reiterates previous calls for emergency financial grants and no-interest loans.

This would help tenants to clear Covid-related rent arrears, protecting them from negative credit ratings and keeping them in their homes.

At the same time, this would allow landlords and agents who are feeling the fallout of over 12-months of unpaid rent.

Protecting the vulnerable

The campaigners believe that grants should be offered, to the worst-affected tenants, such as those who have lost their employment due to the pandemic.

This would then be supplemented with a wider programme of interest-free loans for others, such as those who have been furloughed.

A similar scheme has been used in Scotland, the Tenant Hardship Loan, which provides a short-term loan to tenants who are having difficulty paying rent due to Covid-19.

There is an assessment of the tenant’s ability to repay the interest-free loan, as well as the option of payment going to the landlord directly.

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s policy and campaigns manager, said:

“With the furlough scheme ending in September, the UK government must build a bridge to recovery and provide a dedicated financial support package for the sector.

“While measures through the welfare system have been welcome, more needs to be done to alleviate COVID-related arrears and remove the risk of eviction. Propertymark has added our support to the cross-sector campaign, representing the voice of our membership.”

We shall be watching to see what action, if any, the government takes in the next few months in preparation for some of the existing Covid support measures ending in autumn.

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.