Local Government

MPs quote NRLA policy proposals during Covid-19 inquiry evidence session

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

NRLA policy proposals were quoted by MPs during a virtual oral evidence session of the Housing, Communities and Local Government select committee yesterday.

The committee heard evidence virtually from Luke Hall MP, the Minister responsible for tackling homelessness, as part of the inquiry on the impact of Covid-19 on the PRS and homelessness.

During the questions put to the Minister by MPs on the committee, several of the NRLA’s policy proposals were quoted.

Bob Blackman MP asked a question around whether tenancies due to end at the end of June, July or August would be automatically renewed should the Government decide to extend the evictions moratorium to six months. In response, the Minister quoted the NRLA to show that there is a lot of evidence that landlords are working constructively with their tenants at this time.

Rachel Hopkins MP asked a question about what happens if no level fo rent-re-payment plan is affordable for tenants. The Minister went on to outline the package of support available for tenants, including the furlough scheme and increasing the LHA to prevent rent arrears.

Rachel Hopkins MP went on to cite calls from the NRLA and campaign group Generation Rent for the LHA rate to be increased to the 50th percentile, asking if the government would agree to this. In response, the Minister said he could not commit to this, but added that Discretionary Housing Payments are also available for tenants who are struggling.

Mary Robinson MP then raised with the Minister the NRLA’s specific concerns about the need for council tax relief for landlords where they have a property which is unexpectedly empty. The Minister said conversations are continuing with the NRLA on these and other issues, but said councils have the financial support and powers to make local decisions about what support might be needed.

A transcript of the session can be read online here.

The NRLA’s policy proposals

The NRLA is working hard to ensure that our members can access the information and support they need during this time, through guidance, lobbying and raising awareness.

Some of the things we are calling for include a six month extension to the validity of safety certificates, and council tax relief on properties left empty due to Covid-19.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

1 Comment

  • The issue regarding the recent April increase to LHA/UC is in great measure compromised by the ‘benefit cap’. In reality very few LHA/UC dependant tenants will receive a bottom line increase in their benefit payments. For example ESA is taken into consideration when assesing LHA and most often results in hitting the ceiling of the benefit cap.

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