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.
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.