18 February, 2021
At least half a million private renters are in arrears due to the economic impact of Covid-19.
The UK Government’s own research shows that ‘private renters report being hardest hit by
Renters and landlords whose finances have been affected since lockdown cannot keep
tenancies going without additional financial support.
We welcome many of the measures taken to date, which have helped to sustain tenancies in
the short term. But they do not go far enough to adequately protect renters going forward.
The longer the Chancellor waits to take action, the more rent debts will increase, and the
greater the risk of homelessness will become.
Without additional support, more renters will lose their homes in the coming months, with the risk of an increase in homelessness.
As organisations with the aim of sustaining tenancies wherever possible we consider that
this requires two things in the forthcoming Budget.
First, a targeted financial package to help renters pay off arrears built since lockdown
measures started in March last year. This will help to sustain existing tenancies and keep
renters in their homes – whilst also ensuring rental debt does not risk them finding homes in
Secondly, we need a welfare system that provides renters with the security of knowing that
they can afford their homes.
The pandemic has shown how vital this is to providing security
at a time of crisis.
The Government increased Universal Credit and Housing Benefit because it recognised that the system was not doing enough to support people in the first place, yet it
has chosen to freeze Housing Benefit rates again from April and is considering cutting
Universal Credit at the same time. It cannot be right that these measures could be pulled
away from renters during continued economic uncertainty.
We urge the Chancellor to act now to avoid renters being scarred by debts they have no
hope of clearing and a wave of people having to leave their homes in the weeks and months