Letting agents in Romford will be aware of the difficulties many of the landlords they work with have faced in the pandemic, and the situation will be similar across the UK.
Amid concerns about the impact this will have on the rental sector, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is seeking help for landlords in the Budget.
Arla Propertymark wants chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer interest-free hardship loans to tenants to pay off their Covid-related rent arrears directly to landlords.
With many landlords struggling for income caused by tenants on furlough not paying rent and enjoying the protection from eviction Coronavirus-related legislation has provided, the struggle to make ends meet is real.
Highlighting the need for a solution to be found, Propertymark said: “The best way to ensure this happens is to make sure that tenants can pay their rent, which is why the UK Government must introduce a financial support package to reduce Covid-related rent arrears.”
Chief policy adviser for Propertymark Mark Hayward added: “to date there has been no direct financial support for the rental market, with individual landlords unable to access small business grants or bounce back loans”.
The calls echo those made by Generation Rent, an advocacy body for tenants, which has urged the government to set up a £288 million fund to enable tenants and landlords alike to clear their arrears.
Arla Propertymark also wants to see more support for landlords through investment in PRS developments, universal credit and an extension of the stamp duty holiday.
The extent to which the Covid-19 crisis has impacted on the ability of tenants to pay their rental bills has been highlighted by a new report from the Resolution Foundation.
It has found that 750,000 families are behind on their rental payments, of which 450,000 are in that position as a consequence of the economic effects of the pandemic.