Landlords are calling on the Chancellor to adopt a “cost-of-living plan for the private rented sector” as tenants and landlords face ever growing costs.

In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) warns that whilst private rents are increasing by less than inflation, rising energy, food and other bills will make it more difficult for many tenants to meet their rent payments.

The NRLA is calling on the Chancellor to adopt its plan for the sector, to be financed by a reported £1.bn underspend in budgets at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The plan includes:

  1. Reforming the benefits system to prevent rent arrears in the first place.  This should include:
  • Unfreezing housing benefit rates
  • Ending the five weeks wait for the first payment of Universal Credit
  • Giving Universal Credit claimants the ability to choose, at the start of a claim, to have the housing element paid direct to their landlord if they so wish.

2. Extending access to emergency housing support (Discretionary Housing Payments) to those not in receipt of benefits.

3. Scrapping the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme payment, and instead repurposing the money, paying it direct to every household in one go, for them to use towards the increased cost of living.

4. Addressing the supply crisis in the private rented sector, namely:

  • Reverse the decision to restrict mortgage interest relief in the private rented sector
  • End the stamp duty levy on the purchase of homes to rent out.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Both landlords and tenants are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. 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.”