The government last week announced that homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to coronavirus will be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or reduce payments, but more needs to be done to help people living in private rented accomodation.
While the mortgage payment holiday extension has been welcomed by many experts, the industry is still waiting to hear if any fresh proposals will be put forward to help private renters facing financial difficulty due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, a charity which runs the National Debtline advice service, said: “People in private rented accommodation are among the most exposed to financial difficulty in the wake of the outbreak, and the government should listen to calls to help people meet their rent payments by increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate to cover 50% of average market rents.”
Many landlords have been flexible with their tenants, discussing managing rental payments, and helping them find sources of financial support and advice.
According to a survey of more than 4,500 private landlords by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), 90% of landlords who had received a request for support from a tenant had responded positively.
This has included offering tenants a rent reduction or deferral, a rent free period, early release from a tenancy or a refund on service charges included in rents for homes of multiple occupation.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented: “The vast majority of landlords are doing everything possible to support tenants through difficult times.”