Tenants must get interest-free loans to clear Covid arrears – agent

A scheme providing interest-free loans to tenants with Covid-related arrears should be offered across the UK.

That’s the view of David Alexander of property management firm Apropos, who says such a scheme – currently operated in Scotland – should be spread across the rest of the UK.

“This scheme is welcome as it will support tenants in paying their rent during this difficult period. The Westminster government should offer a similar scheme in the rest of the UK to ensure that tenants facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic are supported in paying their rent” he insists.

“This in turn will help landlords who are badly in need of financial support to maintain their properties at a time when regular rental incomes have sometimes become more erratic” he continues.

“However, it is vital that tenants who receive these funds must use them to pay their rent. If the private rental sector is to survive the pandemic – and it needs to as it is the second largest provider of homes in the UK – then governments need to support tenants and landlords through these difficult days.”

Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart has said that the loan scheme, which has a £10m pool of public cash, should mean that no one should be left in a position where they cannot access support to pay their rent. The scheme opens north of the border in November.

Alexander continues: “Although this will be an additional financial burden for government at a time when national debt is soaring there would be a much greater human cost if tenants cannot pay their rent.

“The loss of rental income experienced by landlords could result in many being unable to keep their properties and beginning to exit the market. A substantial loss of homes would be catastrophic for many thousands of people and highlights the need to back everyone involved in the private rental sector at this time.

“The Tenant Loan Scheme is one way of keeping people in their homes, and landlords in the market, and the UK government must establish a similar scheme immediately to help support the sector through a potentially difficult autumn.”

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