BREAKING: Minister launches £65m rent fund for tenants facing eviction

Housing minister Eddie Hughes has announced a £65 million rent payment support package for private renters facing ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - BREAKING: Minister launches £65m rent fund for tenants facing eviction | LandlordZONE.

BREAKING: Minister launches £65m rent fund for tenants facing eviction

Housing minister Eddie Hughes has announced a £65 million rent payment support package for private renters facing eviction or homelessness ‘during the winter months’ and thanked landlords for their help supporting struggling tenants during the pandemic.

Eligible households should contact their local council if they require support, although it is up to individual local authorities to work out the best way to support each household on a case-by-case basis.

Any money is likely to be paid directly to the existing landlord, or a new landlord if the money is being used to support a household to find a new home.

This announcement, which references the long evictions ban during the pandemic, follows months of lobbying by the NRLA and many other organisations to offer struggling tenants direct financial to help pay their rent.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) say this is on top of the £500 million of indirect support for vulnerable families provided during Covid via its Household Support Fund.

The funding will be given to councils in England specifically to support low-income earners in rent arrears and ‘helping to prevent homelessness and support families get back on their feet’.

Vulnerable

Housing Hughes (main pic) 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.”

Chris Norris, Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association says: “It is great news that those households worst hit by Covid related arrears may be able to access financial support. However, £65 million does not fully reflect the scale of the problem. NRLA analysis has put the figure of Covid rent debts at over £300 million.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation goes further, saying that: “We estimate that the group this support is targeted at has built up around £440m of rent arrears,” a spokesperson says.

Extra money

Alicia Kennedy (pictured), Director of Generation Rent, says: “Generation Rent has long warned the government of the devastating effect that rent debt has on people’s lives, so we welcome this new funding and its recognition of how hard private renters have been hit in the past 18 months.

“It’s a significant step forward that will help keep people in their homes when they would otherwise have been evicted.

“But with rents rising and Universal Credit cut, we fear it won’t be enough to prevent families hitting crisis point.”

Shelter boss Polly Neate adds: “With winter approaching, the government is absolutely right to act to keep people safe in their homes and prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness. For those who can access it, this funding will be a lifeline.”

The extra money will be provided as a top-up to the government’s £310 million Homelessness Prevention Grant.

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - BREAKING: Minister launches £65m rent fund for tenants facing eviction | LandlordZONE.

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LATEST: Student HMOs in ‘rude health’ as pandemic weakens PBSA rivals

The fast growth in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is unlikely to displace HMO stock, which continues to ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - LATEST: Student HMOs in ‘rude health’ as pandemic weakens PBSA rivals | LandlordZONE.

LATEST: Student HMOs in ‘rude health’ as pandemic weakens PBSA rivals

The fast growth in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is unlikely to displace HMO stock, which continues to attract the bulk of the student market, according to new research.

StuRents, which manages some 160,000 properties nationwide, estimates that there are 870,000 HMO beds in the UK, making up 70% of all private stock or 55% of all accommodation, which has proved particularly resilient during Covid.

It reports that enquiries from domestic students for HMOs followed the usual seasonal trend, while uncertainty around international travel, proposed teaching methods, and the pandemic resulted in a slow lettings cycle for PBSA – which tends to attract more international students.

’ annual report on the sector shows that the average weekly cost of an HMO bed increased by 3.4% year-on-year to £104 compared with a PBSA bed which increased by 0.2% to £158.

Calum MacInnes (pictured), founder of Student Tribe, says it doesn’t foresee PBSA stealing significant market share.

“Even if the PBSA players were to cut their prices, the desire of the domestic student to live with their mates in an environment which resembles the security of home life but with the excitement of being with your friends, who either live with you or near you, is an intoxicating mix,” says MacInnes.

The most important driver for investment into PBSA has been the unrelenting growth in Chinese students.

StuRent believes the biggest risk for PBSA operators is a decline in demand and notes the slowing annual rate of growth; in 2019 the number of Chinese students studying abroad grew by 6.3% compared to sustained double-digit growth a decade earlier.

Planning application activity across the UK has also slowed since 2016. In the first seven months of 2021, fewer than 15,000 PBSA beds were put forward compared with 32,000 for the same period in 2017. Activity in Coventry and Cardiff for example, has all but dried up, a sign that investors have moved on from these locations.

Read more:

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - LATEST: Student HMOs in ‘rude health’ as pandemic weakens PBSA rivals | LandlordZONE.

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