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Government figures confirm looming rent arears crisis

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Urgent action is needed to combat a growing rent arrears crisis, the National Residential Landlords Association has warned.

The Governments own Household Resilience Study for April-May 2021 revealed that 7 per cent of private renters were in arrears, up from 3 per cent in 2019/20.

An additional 9 per cent of renters told the survey they expected to fall behind with their rents over the next 12 months, while 27 per cent said they were having difficulties in meeting their heating costs. With soaring energy costs now placing further burdens on household budgets, many renters will struggle to pay off Covid-related rent debts, said NRLA.

‘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’, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.

‘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’.

Government failure to act signals to the private rented sector that it simply does not care about the problem, said Beadle.