ARLA Propertymark has issued a list of 10 demands for Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s long-awaited Budget on March 3, with a financial package to help the private rental sector one of its key requests.
“With the furlough scheme coming to an end in April, we’re growing increasingly worried about the financial fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that many tenants are already struggling to afford rents which in turn has left landlords without a source of income. The government must introduce a financial support package to help support tenants and therefore landlords who have had their incomes impacted by Covid-19” explains Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at the organisation.
In the recent past Propertymark has said it wants a four-pronged package of help from the government:
1) Ring fenced funding delivered to local authorities and sent to tenants via the Discretionary Housing Payment;
2) A government-backed interest-free loan delivered to tenants who cannot access the Discretionary Housing Payment and paid directly to landlords;
3) Ensure Universal Credit is adequate and more effective;
4) The government should raise and restore the Local Housing Allowance to the 50th percentile to cover the average cost of rents in a local area.
Some of these points are repeated in the new demands from Propertymark for next month’s Budget. The full 10 demands are:
- Extend the cut to Stamp Duty Land Tax;
- Expand Help to Buy to the second-hand homes market;
- Establish a mortgage guarantee scheme for key workers;
- Restart the empty homes community grants programme
- Provide a financial support package for the private rented sector;
- Raise local housing allowance;
- Ensure universal credit is adequate and more effective;
- Reopen courts to deal with the backlog of housing cases;
- Support investment in the private rented sector;
- Build more social housing.
“We’re particularly concerned about the impact of the stamp duty holiday ending with a cliff edge in March as this could cause thousands of sales to fall at the final hurdle and have a knock on and drastic effect on the housing market which has recovered well from the Covid-19 slump” explains Hayward.
He adds: “It’s been an unprecedented year for everyone and this includes the housing sector. The property market has remained remarkably resilient during the lockdown periods so far and the government has prioritised a functioning property market. However, there is still progress to be made and we’re calling upon the government to make these recommended changes in order to continue to support agents, landlords, consumers and the wider housing market.”