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This week’s £20 cut in Universal Credit will significantly worsen the levels of private sector rent debt, the National Residential Landlords Association has warned.
According to the Government’s own figures, almost 1.5m renters across England and Wales now rely on Universal Credit to help pay their rental costs, an increase of over 700,000 over the last year.
NRLA said practical steps to combat the negative effects of the cut in benefits, such as ending the five-week wait for a first payment of Universal Credit, must be prioritised by the Government to bolster landlord confidence in the welfare system.
‘During the pandemic we have found that many renters have built high levels of arrears, which they will struggle to pay off in future’, said NRLA deputy policy director Meera Chindooroy.
‘With this in mind, today’s cut to Universal Credit is a short-sighted move that will only serve to worsen this ongoing rent debt crisis.
‘Most landlords have offered flexibility where tenants have faced the financial impact of the pandemic, but they cannot absorb these losses indefinitely.
‘Practical steps to address this problem can and should be taken to ensure those tenants in receipt of benefits can cover their rents. It is our view that not only must the Government end the five-week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit, it should also ensure they can choose to have the housing element of their Universal