Landlords urge Chancellor to adopt private rented sector cost of living plan

Landlords have called on the Chancellor to use up to £1.5 billion from the levelling up budget to stop tenants being forced out by soaring rents.

Writing to Kwasi Kwarteng, the National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) warned landlords were facing ever growing costs because of rising interest rates on mortgages.

At the same time, tenants are struggling to pay rent as their savings are chipped away by inflation, allied to soaring food and energy bills.

Estate agents boards in Slough, Berkshire
The NRLA proposed unfreezing housing benefit rates and ending the five-week wait for the first universal credit payment (Steve Parsons/PA)

The group said its cost-of-living package, which includes dropping stamp duty for rented homes, could be funded by a reported £1.5 billion underspend in budgets at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

“Both landlords and tenants are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis,” NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle said.

“We need a package that supports both to prevent rent arrears and sustain tenancies.

“Our proposals provide a pragmatic way forward that would have an immediate and positive impact on the private rented sector. We call on the Chancellor to act as a matter of urgency.”

Estate agents’ boards are displayed outside flats on Poynders Road, south London
The group called on the Government to address the ‘supply crisis’ in rented properties (Anthony Devlin/PA)

In a bid to prevent rent arrears, the NRLA proposes unfreezing housing benefit rates and ending the five-week wait for the first universal credit payment.

It also argued emergency housing support should be extended to those not on benefits, and that the £400 energy bills support scheme should be paid directly to every household in one go.

The group called on the Government to address the “supply crisis” in rented properties by expanding mortgage interest relief.

Similarly, it urged ministers to end the stamp duty levy on rented houses, a move that would reportedly make 900,000 private rented homes available over the next decade.