Propertymark has taken the unusual step of thanking the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and the Communities for the arrears debt fund announced over the weekend.
“As lettings agents we know how many tenants have been struggling. Many landlords have worked with agents to find payment plans, renegotiate, mediate and do their best to find solutions to the financial difficulties being faced” explains Maxine Fothergill, ARLA Propertymark’s president.
”This is a great relief for agents, landlords and tenants alike and we are very grateful for Mr Gove and his department for listening to Propertymark and others and taking steps which show the understanding of the value of the private rented sector” she continues.
As Letting Agent Today reported over the weekend, the £65m debt fund for renters in arrears will be given to councils in England to support low-income earners in rent arrears – helping to prevent homelessness and support families get back on their feet.
The government says renters across the country have been protected throughout the pandemic because of government action, including a ban on evictions and a £400 billion support package for the economy.
This latest £65m comes on top of the £500m Household Support Fund, which was announced by the government in September and is helping vulnerable households across the country with the cost of food, energy, water and other essentials.
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes says: “We have taken action throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable families, and it is vital we continue to provide support as we enter the winter months.
“This new funding will support families that are struggling and help to get them back on their feet as we begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The £65m will be available through the winter months and households at risk of eviction or homelessness should contact their local council if they require support. The fund recognises the impact the pandemic has had on households in the private rented sector with the lowest income.”
And Propertymark’s campaigns manager Timothy Douglas adds: “This is good news for renters and good news for letting agents and their landlords.
“Many organisations including Propertymark have been calling for a package of financial support for months and this money will go some way in helping to sustain tenancies and preventing potential homelessness.
“Agents should now ensure that any tenants who are in arrears are directed immediately to their local authority for advice and support.”