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NRLA renews plea for tenant support

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Almost a quarter of a million renters will emerge from the Covid Crisis with damaged credit scores that will cause them difficulties finding new tenancies.

This is the conclusion of the National Residential Landlords Association after surveying over 2,000 private tenants.

Data, compiled for the NRLA by research consultancy Dynata showed that 7 per cent of tenants had fallen into rents arrears during the lockdown. The average amount of rent owed by such tenants is now almost £900, and 30 per cent now owe £1,000 or more.

A quarter of those with arrears said that their landlord had attempted to reclaim the amount owed by seeking a court order. ‘Such orders, where successful, damage a tenant’s credit score – an outcome which makes it for harder for them to access new housing in the future’, said NRLA. It estimates approximately 210,000 tenants fall into this category and may face severe difficulties in getting landlords to let to them in future. 

‘As the private rented sector moves out of lockdown measures, the Chancellor has failed to provide tenants with the support they need’, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle. ‘This is especially the case for the majority of those in rent arrears who do not qualify for benefit support.

‘Without urgent assistance, many tenants face the prospect of losing their home needlessly as landlords struggle to shoulder the cost of arrears. Affected tenants also potentially face the negative impact of damage to their credit scores.

‘The Government needs to develop a financial package which ensures that benefits cover the rents of those in receipt of them. For those who do not qualify for benefit support, an interest free, government guaranteed tenant hardship loan should be established, similar to those in Wales and Scotland’.