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Call for private sector rent freeze in the face of recession

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A think tank is calling on the government to introduce an immediate rent freeze to protect more than a million renters at risk of losing their jobs if the county slides into recession.

Call for private sector rent freeze in the face of recessionThe New Economics Foundation (NEF) says that 1.2 million people living in privately rented homes could face severe hardship. They include people missing out on government help because they have been made redundant, rather than furloughed, or don’t qualify for income protection for the self-employed.

Joe Beswick from the NEF said: “If we are to avoid an eviction crisis from rent arrears following the public health crisis, we must suspend the obligation to pay rent immediately.

“Many of those in the private rented sector, a group who were already economically vulnerable before this crisis, are falling through the cracks of the government’s support systems.”

According to the NEF, renters who lose their jobs will need to rely on universal credit, which could mean a dramatic fall in income and leave them short of money to pay for food and energy bills. The report also claims that furloughed private renters may struggle to make ends meet due to a drop in income.

Measures already announced to protect private renters during the covid-19 crisis include a three-month eviction ban, introduced in March. Landlords have been asked to be flexible with tenants who are struggling and to agree repayment plans. However, tenants are expected to continue to pay their rent during the lockdown.

The NEF has also called for a freeze on residential mortgages to protect landlords from a gap in income, with the Bank of England to provide low-cost loans.

Read more about this story in the Guardian.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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